The Crystal Reports Reporting Toolkit Computer Science Essay

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Crystal Reports is a powerful reporting toolkit which provides flexible and high productivity design reports which highly saves time increasing overall productivity. The key advantages of using these reports are summarized as below:

More data can be used to present it in one report so that one that answer more questions using that report which will reduce number of reports. Data sorting, filtering, reports reformatting are some of the key features used to consume given data.

Crystal Reports gives the ability to build end-user interactivity into the reports. Embedding Xcelsius in reports helps users to perform what-if analysis. Also adding Adobe Flash adds more interactivity to the reports which helps to consume more data which one can visualize.

Flexible Formatting:

Crystal Reports not only makes it easy and fast to design our reports , also its flexible formatting feature gives complete control to the user how to present the data in its own way to end users.

Enhanced Report Designer:

Improvements such as inserting calculations without using any code, barcode support, multilingual capability and hyperlinking wizard helps user to make efficient reports.

Query and Analysis:

Query and Analysis feature is accomplished by Web Intelligence 3.0 which enables the deployment of analytic applications. It makes user answer any of their questions or doubts no matter whether they are connected or not. Few enhanced features performed by Web Intelligence are as follows:

Stored Procedures:

Using stored procedures is another enhanced feature of Web Intelligence. Any user can use stored procedures to create reports and at any level.

Web Intelligence Off-Line Mode:

This feature is useful to all types of users whether they are connected or not. Data synchronization is just seamless and no manual updates are required. Users can still update the reports if no internet connection is available.

Embedding Images:

Web Intelligence allows users to embed the images.

New Formula Functions:

With this capability user can add new formulas into formula function library.

Multiple Data Provider:

Any type of data whether personal data from txt files or excel files can be used to embed in single report and can be shared with anyone connected with Business Intelligence software.

Tracking Changes:

Changes in data can be reflected as soon as you click refresh button and more importantly changes are reflected in different colors which end user can see when new data is added.

Dashboards and Visualizations:

Dashboard creation in business objects is performed by Dashboard Builder. It streamlines with JavaScript and XML to simplify the workflow and editing of the reports.

Data Visualization is better with release of Xcelsius 2008. It provides real time dash boarding capabilities and more stable integration with other business intelligence products.

A new feature called BI Widgets is incorporated in this release we are going to implement in our organization. Everyone in the company is allowed to have glance over it. It makes accessing information easy to incorporate and handle.

Live Office:

This feature provides user search capabilities, Office 2007 support and integration of the Outlook. It is very easy to shift Live Office objects to the Office documents using simple cut and paste method. It helps in gathering information from whichever documents we need.

Publishing and Scheduling:

This feature makes sharing of information very scalable within and outside the organization. It includes merging of the data, conditional processing, custom extensions via Java, managing various jobs and external receivers. It is easy to deploy within an organization.

SAP Integration:

Business Objects provides tighter integration to SAP users by meeting all their needs. It provides low cost of owner ship to its users, flexible integration, easy and fast to implement and interactive self-service reporting feature.

Provides mass publication of SAP reports

Improvement in SAP integration

Improvement in SAP BW management and customization

SAP BW metadata support extension

Migration:

Migrating to Business Objects Enterprise may seem is lengthy procedure but various range of tools, training and documentation are provided to make it easier. Also it provides to benefit the users cost wise. Overall performance of this feature will help in improving finances and overall output.

ARCHITECTURE:

Business Objects Enterprise is a multi-tier architecture. Each of the components performs different task but they are divided into tiers based on the type of work they perform. They are composed into five tiers mentioned as below:

Client Tier

Application Tier

Intelligence Tier

Processing Tier

Data Tier

The following diagram illustrates how various components are laid in multi â€"tier architecture. The servers can be executed either on Windows or UNIX machines as services or daemons. These services can be either vertically or horizontally arranged giving benefit of utilizing all the hardware attached to it.

Client Tier:

The client tier includes Browser based applications and packaged based applications. This tier is the only tier which allows the administrators and end client to interact with it directly. The client layer consists of Info view, Central Management Console (CMC), Publishing Wizard, Import Wizard and Central Configuration Manager (CCM). InfoView is used by end users to schedule and track their reports. Each request made to BO enterprise is informed to application tier. Management features such as authentications and adding new users is handled by CMC. Also adding servers and managing them is one of its tasks. The entire tasks can be performed remotely as it is web based application. CCM allows the users to handle servers. They can start, stop, enable or disable the servers. Publishing wizard helps to add any reports and is installed locally in Windows application. And finally the import wizard helps administrators how to import files, reports, users or groups.

Application Tier:

This tier handles process requests which comes from client tier and components that delivers these requests to appropriate server in Intelligence tier. IT also supports report viewing and logic understanding. This tier has major two components as:

Application server and Business Objects Enterprise SDK

Web Component Adapter (WCA)

Application Server acts as an interface between servers and other components. It processes requests from the browser. It converts report pages to html files when user reads report on browser.

WCA runs within the application server and provides services which need to be accessed indirectly supported by BO Enterprise’s SDK. First web server requests application server and then it is processed by WCA.

Intelligence Tier:

This tier acts as a manager for whole Enterprise system. All the security information, requests to servers, audit information and storing reports are managed by this tier. The intelligence tier includes the following components:

Central Management Server (CMS)

Event Server

File Repository Servers

Cache Server

CMS maintains security by enforcing licensing policy of Business Enterprise software. It keeps track of the location of the objects which ensures to schedule jobs on time. It also manages the servers by keeping track of their status. Also it acts as a system auditor which audits all the information central to the system.

If file based system is used then Event Server handles it by handling the directory which is specified.

File repository consists of input and output repository server which handles the reports published to the system by administrators or end users. On the other hand Output repository handles reports generated by Web Intelligence Server. They list all the files explain the size of single file and whole repository.

The Cache Server handles all requests for viewing reports. So it checks whether he can fulfill the user request or not. And if it does not process the request it passes the request to page server which runs the report and finally return the requested page.

Processing Tier:

This tier is responsible for interacting with the database which contains data to create reports. This job is performed with help of its four components as:

Job Servers

Report Application Server (RAS)

Page Server

Web Intelligence Report Server

Job Servers are responsible for assigned actions on the objects when requested by CMS. And it becomes Report Job Server when configured to process report objects.

Report Application Server is responsible to work on reports which are viewed by users with Advanced DHTML viewer. Temporary reporting services are also provided which allows users to update or create the reports.

Page Server acts on page requests generated by processing reports. It can retrieve data from an instance for the report or from the database. After finishing access it automatically disconnects.

Data Tier:

Data tier is collection of the databases which has wide variety of data which is used by the reports. Various corporate databases are supported by this tier.

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