Clubbing the Crystal Dodo

Crystal Reports is a fat stupid dodo. With few natural predators, it's been staggering around the business reporting islands for 10 versions now, only getting fatter and stupider.

With Reporting Services, Microsoft have finally gotten serious about clubbing the Crystal Dodo into extinction.

Okay, let me dial that back a bit.

Crystal Reports needs better competitors. Sure, ActiveReports is excellent. But to date, Crystal Reports has still managed to combine a race-horse-price with lame-donkey-performance.

As much as I hate marketing terminology that insists every new product is a 'next generation' and a 'paradigm shift'.... I think that with new versions of Reporting Services there will be a major 'paradigm shift' in the way Reporting is called upon within businesses:

'Business Intelligence' (if you're happy to use the term) will not only be mandatory in large enterprises, but will become commonplace in mid-size and even small businesses.

Four key factors here:

  • Firstly, seamless integration with the IDE. (Yes, other reporting products have this. But there's really no looking back now.)
  • Second: smoother deployment. No more DLL-hell. This was so crippling with earlier crystal reports versions, that some IT departments had a special 'dll-hell' budget to follow up any deployment.
  • Third: Simpler licensing. Reporting services is free with SQL.
  • Fourth: Seamless integration between OLAP and Reporting. A key factor here is the inclusion of an MDX designer inside Reporting Services (slated for Beta 3 of Yukon, i think) and the general adoption of this feature by developers.

Well, that's what I think right now... Ask me again tomorrow though.

Full Disclosure: I just really hate crystal reports. YMMV

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