Crystal Enterprise Embedded edition (the RAS by itself) is used in a standalone mode to deliver Crystal Reports creation, modification, and viewing functionality over the Web. In its simplest description, it can be thought of as an open Report Engine with a published object model and viewer controls. Crystal Enterprise Professional and Premium editions were introduced in Part V, "Web Report DistributionUsing Crystal Enterprise." Each of these advanced editions of Crystal Enterprise can also leverage the powerful report exploration (creation and modification) functionality of the RAS and object model. In these advanced editions, the RAS is effectively plugged into the Crystal Enterprise infrastructure or backbone and managed as any of its other services. Figure 31.1 displays the basic RAS standalone architecture.
In this standalone case, the installation is limited to a single RAS for the custom applications written to interact with. The RAS accesses reports on the server based on a central location specified in the RAS Configuration tool (see the next section for more detail). You can however have multiple installations of standalone RAS that share a central network location where the reports reside. Keep in mind that it is generally not a good idea to have the report located somewhere other than the RAS serverapplications opening reports on this server require the server components to load the involved report and to create a local copy of it. The network traffic associated with pulling the .rpt file from a location on a different server results in application performance degradation.
The Crystal Configuration Manager (CCM) provides a point of access for setting the different options around the Crystal Enterprise Embedded (or RAS) installation. It is accessed through the Microsoft Start, Programs, Crystal Enterprise menu path and is highlighted in Figure 31.2.
The default report location along with other RAS server settings can be accessed by stopping the RAS service in the CCM and then selecting Properties through the Properties button or the right-click menu on the service.
After having accessed the Crystal RAS Properties dialog box, click on the Parameters tab and ensure the Option Type drop-down box has the Database option selected as shown in Figure 31.3. In this dialog, you can set the number of records that are brought back in reports by default or the number of records accessed in one batch. You can also set how many records are accessed and brought back when you expose the Browse Field functionality in your applicaton(s).
On the same Parameters dialog, after choosing Server for the option type you are shown the dialog displayed in Figure 31.4. Here you can set the location of your reports, the number of simultaneous jobs, and a number of minutes before an idle job is closed. Keep in mind as you change these settings you need to restart the RAS service for them to take effect.
The RAS also exposes caching capabilities that enable multiple users to view the same copy of a cached report. This ultimately increases the number jobs the RAS can handle at any given point. Keep in mind however that if your reports contain subreports these are not cached.