There have been multiple releases of both Visual Studio .NET and the Crystal .NET Components. This has created some confusion in the marketplace. In an attempt to clear this up, the following section describes the history of the various Crystal .NET products. Way back in 1993a long time ago in the computing industryCrystal signed an agreement with Microsoft to include Crystal Reports version 2 with Visual Basic 3.0. This relationship continued over the years as the Microsoft developer community embraced Crystal Reports technology. Late in the year of 2000, when Microsoft began to create the next generation of its development platform, it again looked to Crystal Decisions to provide the reporting solution. The Crystal folks ran full speed ahead with this project and embraced all the new technologies composing the .NET development platform.
In March of 2002, Visual Studio .NET shipped with a new product as part of the install: Crystal Reports for Visual Studio .NET. This was a special edition of Crystal Reports targeted at the .NET developer. It was seamlessly integrated with both the Visual Studio .NET integrated development environment (IDE) and the .NET Framework. It provided report viewer controls for both the Windows Forms and Web Forms application frameworks, a managed report engine object model, and a report designer integrated into the Visual Studio .NET IDE.
Another variant of the Crystal Reports .NET product came about when Microsoft released Visual Studio .NET 2003 (code named Everett). This was a point release of Visual Studio .NET and again included an updated edition of Crystal Reports for Visual Studio .NET. There were no new features per se, but the latest patches and updates were included. Many developers today have one of these Crystal Reports editions and believe that they have the most recent and complete Crystal Reports release. This is not true.
Subsequent to that release, Crystal Decisions updated its .NET offering by adding new features such as additional report viewer controls, more functionality through its API, and support for more data sources. This functionality was bundled with the Crystal Reports 9 release. Therefore, Crystal Reports 9 Advanced Edition served as an upgrade to Crystal Reports for Visual Studio .NET. Finally, version 10 again includes upgrades to the .NET components that shipped with version 9. The rest of this chapter covers the functionality of the .NET components included with Crystal Reports 10.