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Hour 24. Crystal Reports in Applications... > Overview of Developer Tools

Overview of Developer Tools

From the inception of Crystal Reports, Crystal Decisions (then Crystal Services, soon to become Seagate Software) saw that although the Crystal Reports designer and report engine together made a great tool, there was huge value in providing a software development kit (SDK) that enabled developer-savvy customers to leverage the power of Crystal Reports inside their applications. They were able to display reports inside the application they were building, including full support for features such as parameters, database credentials, exporting, and formatting. Many of these features—such as exporting reports—could be done interactively just like inside the Crystal Reports designer, or could be performed entirely in the background, hiding the user interface from the customer and just presenting the end result.

The first SDK for Crystal Reports consisted of a C++ header file and a DLL (dynamic link library) that exposed functions to open, modify, process, display, and export reports. Any developer with a C++ compiler could use this SDK (called the CRPE, or Crystal Reports Print Engine) inside of his application. While this was popular, over the following years and versions, the Crystal Reports SDK expanded to support an ever-changing developer tools market. Most of these subsequent SDKs were based on Microsoft's ActiveX/COM technology. Today, Crystal Reports 9 has full SDKs for COM, .NET, and Java developers building both desktop and Web applications.


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