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Chapter 3. Exploring the System Architec... > Introduction to the Crystal Enterpri...

Introduction to the Crystal Enterprise Framework

The Crystal Enterprise Framework, the heart of Crystal Enterprise, provides a distributed mechanism that manages the interaction and communication of the Crystal Enterprise servers. Each Crystal Enterprise server uses the framework to describe the services it offers and to discover other servers that are registered with the framework. The framework treats each of the registered servers as equals, which makes it possible for one server to use the service of another Crystal Enterprise server directly.

As mentioned previously, the Crystal Enterprise Framework uses components known as plug-ins to represent each object type within Crystal Enterprise. These plug-ins contain all the relevant “knowledge” needed to handle an object within Crystal Enterprise, such as a Crystal Report or a user account, and determine how Crystal Enterprise should interact with it. When developing a custom application using Crystal Enterprise, it is the plug-ins that the SDK uses to call the services of Crystal Enterprise, not the servers themselves. Figure 3.2 demonstrates how the plug-in is used. The figure shows how a service, such as the customization capabilities provided by the Web Component Server, uses a plug-in such as the report plug-in to query for the report’s properties. Notice that the service is able to communicate with the plug-in through the Crystal Enterprise SDK. In order for any service made available by the servers to be registered with the Crystal Enterprise Framework, they must use the SDK to retrieve the plug-in’s properties. The Web Component Server section of this chapter introduces the customization services.


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