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Comparison between Crystal Reports and Microsoft Reporting Services

Posted on 2004-10-19
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I am going to advice a customer what reporting solution he should implement in his new system. The system is on a Windows 2003-platform. The data is stored in an Oracle database, but the customer has a licence for SQL Server and hence he can install Reporting Services for free. The customer is going to use Active Directory and has approx. 70 employees.

Could anyone with knowledge on both Crystal Reports and Microsoft Reporting Services write a comparison between these two reporting solutions? Points of interest are:

-security; how is the access to reports handled and how is the security aspect handled?
-development environment; need info on how reports are developed. Does any of these product make it easy for an end user to develop a report himself?
-integration on windows platform; is it possible to integrate Crystal Reports as a web part into Sharepoint?
-client Side; what products are required on the client to be able to view the reports?
-rendering; can both products render the reports to multiple file formats?
-scheduling; is it possible to schedule reports with Crystal Reports?
-delivery; may both products deliver reports as e-mail or to a file share?

What are Crystal Reports strengths vs. Reporting Services and vice versa?

Any pitfalls on any of these products to be aware of?
Anybody knows what improvements can be expected from Reporting Services in the next release?

I would appreciate your help even though you might not answer every single bullet in this question!
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Question by:pcpaasche
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mlmcc earned 500 total points
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Here is a question in this forum that gives a good discussion MS RS.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Databases/Reporting_Tools/Q_21084841.html

I know little to nothing on MS RS but have extensive knowledge of Crystal.  We probably would have chosen MS RS instead of Crystal (cost main reason) but it wasn't available at the time.  We have MS SQL 7 and 2000 so the cost of MS RS would have been 0.

Crystal
-security; how is the access to reports handled and how is the security aspect handled?
  Crystal Reports itself doesn't address security.  You can buy Crystal Enterprise or use Crystal RAS to help with security but depending on your requirements Active Directory or a front-end application should be able to handle all your needs.

-development environment; need info on how reports are developed.
Crystal has its own integrated development environment.  I found it to be relatively easy to learn especially if you are familiar with other tools like MS Access reporting.
Crystal does give you the option to build the views and stored procedures in the database or the latest version has a Command feature which allows SQL to built for the report.

--Does any of these product make it easy for an end user to develop a report himself?
  Crystal really doesn't lend itself to users building their own reports mainly because each user would require his/her own license.  Also users would need knowledge of the database and the relationships which generally they don't have.

-integration on windows platform; is it possible to integrate Crystal Reports as a web part into Sharepoint?
Crystal can be integrated into a webb environment.  I don't use it in that way and am not familiar with what a sharepoint is.

-client Side; what products are required on the client to be able to view the reports?
Crystal requires you to have the Developer or Advanced version depending on hw you plan to display the reports.  If you opt for Crystal Enterprise then the Professional editiion is suffucient.

-rendering; can both products render the reports to multiple file formats?
If by render you mean export, then yes Crystal can export to numerous formats including HTML, Excel, Word (RTF), PDF,text and several others.

-scheduling; is it possible to schedule reports with Crystal Reports?
Scheduling is done either through Crystal enterpirse of your own applications.  Crystal Reports doesn't include any method of scheduling.

-delivery; may both products deliver reports as e-mail or to a file share?
Crystal Reports can be exported as a mail attachment or to a diskfile on the network.

Hope that helps

mlmcc
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by:Duane Lawrence
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I would like to add that Crystal can render a report as HTML.  

Who looks at it is part of your intranet websecurity.

Wish I had the opportunity to work with MS RS, then I could compair them also.

Duane
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by:mlmcc
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Glad i could help

mlmcc
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