The company has also joined the Eclipse Foundation which administers the open source software, in a move foreshadowed yesterday by ZDNet Australia.
Eclipse is an open source and modular integrated development environment (IDE) based on Sun Microsystems's Java language which provides application developers with programming tools and reusable components.
The Eclipse Foundation has been gaining supporters since its inception as an industry consortium in 2001 and now numbers key software makers BEA, IBM, Computer Associates, Nokia, Sybase, Zend and SAP among its members.
"Application developers can now create new reports or use existing Crystal Reports documents, and integrate them directly into applications," a statement from the company reads.
"This new version of Crystal Reports will take full advantage of the Eclipse user interface, including dockable panes and context sensitive menus to customise the reports without ever leaving the Eclipse development environment."
"Business Objects is committed to being actively involved in the future development of the Eclipse community."
The company will also provide a "development and test licence" of Crystal Reports' embedded reporting engine, that enables developers to "build report viewing directly within client-server and Web applications".
Developers interested in downloading the new software will be able to register for the free download at Business Object's Web site, although neither the embedded reporting engine nor the version of Crystal Reports for Eclipse is available yet. The company expects the final version of the software to be ready in the second half of 2006.
Business Objects' move was applauded by the Eclipse Foundation.
"The long history of developers embedding Crystal Reports in their applications makes the solution a natural fit for the Eclipse IDE and will help to expand the success of the Eclipse community," said the foundation's executive director Mike Milinkovich in a statement.
Developers can already use Crystal Reports in a variety of proprietary IDEs such Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET, IBM's Rational Application Developer, BEA's Worship, and Borland's J Builder.