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13.01 Introducing Data Connectivity

The backbone of every report is the data it prints. Large corporations merge data on servers into reports that consolidate and chart information from a dozen or more tables. Small businesses optimize their report distribution and expand their client base by providing their data in an XML format and letting companies from around the world generate reports on it. Home offices often do simple tasks such as tracking and printing monthly sales figures from an Access database or an Excel spreadsheet.

Crystal Reports is designed to work with many types of data. Reports can be generated regardless of where the data is stored; SQL Server, MS Access or even the Outlook email repository. Crystal Reports affords a many ways to connect to databases; learning each method can be quite an undertaking. This chapter, along with Chapter 17, sorts out these options and presents them in an easy to read format. You can determine which method best meets your needs and how to quickly implement it.

All database connectivity is built around one of two models: the Pull Model and the Push Model. The Pull Model is the simplest to implement and is very easy to learn because it doesn’t require writing...

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