SAP BI4.2/Crystal Server 2016 – What’s New

By | 3rd November 2015

Before you get excited, this hasn’t been released yet. SAP are promising 1st half of 2016, so somewhere between New Year and your summer holiday. It still makes an interesting read to see both specific features and general direction of the products.

I’ve mentioned Crystal Server 2016 in here, but the name’s not official yet. It will be Crystal Server and it will be released in 2016. I should work in marketing! Crystal Server is normally released after SAP BI and is missing some of the functionality (WebI mostly).

A lot of the enhancements can be put down as ‘Boring, but really, really important’. The stuff that’s difficult to demo – Recycle bin, improved migration, new version of Tomcat. Yep, it’s important, but still boring.

First thing that caught my eye was ‘New Features in Crystal Reports 2016’. That’s right, not just Crystal Reports for Enterprise, but ‘proper’ Crystal Reports. The one most of us use. Even better, the new features are things we’ve wanted:

  • Conditional formatting of lines and boxes – no more having multiple sections, each with a different line, with each section conditionally hidden to show a different line!
  • Show Parameter Value Descriptions – even supports range parameters. No need for those SQL Functions doing a lookup on the database just to get a description that the user’s already seen.
  • Vertical Alignment of text – force text to appear at the bottom of a box. So much easier to create text headers.
  • New data sources – OK, one had to be boring. We’ve had ODBC since time began, so I struggle to get excited about Native Support for databases.

That’s more new features than we’ve had in the last 2 releases. Crystal Reports for Enterprise fairs slightly better with the addition of QR codes, but you’re already doing that in Crystal Reports aren’t you:Adding a QR Code to Crystal Reports

WebI users have plenty to be happy about. Headline features for me are:

  • Parallel Queries – queries run in parallel rather than in series. Much improved performance if your database can manage the load.
  • Custom Visualisations – write your own charts/visualisation components. One I’m looking forward to playing with
  • Shared Elements – rather than the hit and miss method of copy and paste between documents that generated so many unwanted queries, you can now have share elements stored centrally. Very nice.

For Universe designers, you can finally get rid of all those old unv universes and move everything to unx now that Linked Universes have been added.

There’s not much to new for Mobile BI, but given the pace of development over the last 2 years, that’s no bad thing. Updates for Mobile BI have normally been done out of sync with the rest of the package too.

For developers who use the SDK there’s a list of enhancements, but as ever, we’ll need to wait to get the full details.

On the platform side, there are some deprecated bits and bobs. Windows 2008 and Office 2007 shouldn’t cause too much trouble, but IE9 and SQL Server 2008 SP1/2 may catch a few out..

Download the document for the full details.

The full presentation

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