Archive for the 'Products' Category
You use Crystal Reports to create, change and run reports. But what if you have users who just need to refresh/view/print/export? Do they need copies of Crystal Reports? Do you need to configure an expensive web server?
The most cost effective method for letting a user run reports is to install a third-party client-based viewer. I am amazed at how many Crystal Reports users are still unaware of these, since they are offered by a dozen different vendors. Some users get sidetracked by the “viewer” that is put out by SAP because it won’t refresh reports. Don’t let that fool you because every viewer in my list allows you to refresh reports.
Every September I compare the features of these viewers and post the results. The comparison page provides a brief introduction to each product including what sets it apart. There is also a detailed feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison like prices and the install base. I have even included a glossary of features in case you aren’t familiar with the terminology.
This year there are 11 vendors in the review but one of them is MIA** – the vendor for EasyView (EasyStreet Software). I have Emailed and called and have not received a response for 2 years now. They are also not responding to customers or the Better Business Bureau, at least as of September 2014, although the web site is still running.
The current vendors are:
Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
cView by Chelsea Technologies
ViewerFX by Origin Software
Crystal Kiwi Viewer by Crystal Kiwi
Report Viewer Pro by Report Viewer Limited
RV by Climate 27
Logicity Pro by SaberLogic
Report Runner Viewer by Jeff-Net
Easy View by Easy Street Software (**see warning above)
RTag Report Viewer by RTag
DataLink Viewer by Millet SW
If you have already tried one of these products, or are currently using one, I would love to know what you think.
I had to track down some older versions of Crystal Reports along with service packs and runtime modules. I found some useful links and want to put them all in one place so that I don’t have to hunt them down again. Others might find this useful so I have posted them below.
Of course, the problem with pages like these is that they don’t age well. These links will probably expire or change. Some of the downloads will go away as SAP stops supporting the older versions. So that is why some of the links below are redundant. If you find that a link has expired, please let me know.
Find It EZ has just released version 14 of their code search software. It is now called Code Search Pro Desktop 2014. The new features for Crystal users include the ability to go through a batch of reports and:
- Verify the database
- Change the data source
- Set the table alias names
- Create a database cross reference report
Also, the tool now creates an index of scanned documents which makes searches faster. And it is certified to support SQL Server 2014, Oracle 12c, MySQL 5.7 and DB2 10.5. See the Find It EZ website for a free 14-day trial. Or you can use the new option of Code Search Pro in a Saas model. This allows you to use it fully for 90 days, with unlimited support, for $99.
A few months back I wrote about Sage (Peachtree) dropping the built in Crystal license from their 2015 accounting software. Today I heard from a customer who has already upgraded and realized something that I had missed. There is no longer the ability to run Crystal Reports from within the Sage menu. You can still write reports in Crystal if you have it. You can even use the “GetPeach” custom functions. But Crystal Reports can now be run only outside of Sage software.
This is important because it involves extra costs. To run the reports outside of Sage you either have to have a copy of Crystal Reports, or a third party report viewer. Since Crystal Reports is licensed by “named user” an office would need to have a separate Crystal Reports license for each person running reports – even if they all ran the reports on the same machine. Even with just a handful of users you would be talking thousands of new dollars. Fortunately these reports can also be run from third party viewer programs which are much less expensive. A viewer lets users open, refresh, preview, print and export reports. The difference is that the viewers don’t allow you to modify the reports. So I expect to see Sage customers shopping for viewers in the next year.
If you are not familiar with the available viewers you can read my annual comparison.
I have just updated my comparison of RPT management utilities for 2014. These are tools that allow you to scan, document, compare and update RPT files.
One vendor has closed shop since last year’s list. Within a month or so I expect one new product to be added and one existing product to release a major upgrade. Also, one of the current vendors is looking to sell the rights to their software. The current list of tools is below:
Report Miner by the Retsel Group
Find it EZ Code Search Professional by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Report Analyzer by Cortex Systems
.rpt Inspector 3 Professional Suite by Software Forces, LLC
This post will only be useful for developers who create reports that need to be launched from an application. I have written before about property called “Overriden Qualified Table Names” or OQTN. Filling in this property makes it easier to point the report to a different connection at runtime. The OQTN property starts out empty for each table. To use it you go into the properties of a table in “Set Datasource Location” and enter that table’s name into the OQTN property. You have to do this for each table, view or stored procedure in the report. It surprises me that this property isn’t filled in automatically at the time the table is added, like the table alias property.
A few months back a user contacted me because Continue Reading »
Automatically fill in “Overridden Qualified Table Names”
Cortex systems has two software packages that allow you to manage your RPT files. They are:
Report Analyzer – Allows you to search, cross-reference and document your reports
Object Compare – Finds all the differences between two objects, including RPT files and several other object types.
The developers at Cortex are changing their focus and are interested in selling the source code and IP for these two products. Anyone interested in finding out more can Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently met with a customer to discuss a project using Crystal Reports for Enterprise. This is the first time a customer has called about this product, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been in a hurry to experiment with it. Another reason is that it is only available within BO Enterprise. To experiment with it on my own would require configuring an Enterprise environment, including a Web Server and getting some data configured within Enterprise. Last, SAP is still in the process of incorporating all of CR’s features into this version, so it is a work in progress. The longer I put it off, the more complete it would be. For instance, support for subreports was added with the last release (4.1). But SAP has said that eventually this will be the only version of CR. If they make good on that I will have to migrate some day.
So, during the meeting I was able to check out a few of the standard feature windows, like the group expert and the section expert. I found that most Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports for Enterprise
My daughter always wants to try whatever the grownups are eating. When she was very young she saw my wife eating something new and blurted out:
“I want summa dat … wad is dat?”
We still laugh about that. And I often remember that when people call me about dashboards. They tell me they need a dashboard, and then they make it clear that they don’t really know what a dashboard is. Often, someone higher up has heard the buzzword or seen something flashy on a web site and decides that they want “summa dat”.
So lets start with a definition of a dashboard. According to the dashboard specialists at ExcelDashboardWidgets, a dashboard is a report that:
1) Fits on a single page or screen
2) Is graphical and easy to read
3) Shows Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
4) Shows the current status in real time*.
Of course, “real time” varies based on the need. In a manufacturing plant “real time” might mean Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports and dashboards
R-tag is introducing a new price point for their desktop scheduler, the Crystal Scheduler Edition at $299. They are still offering their free “community edition” without any support, but those that need support will now have less of a price hurdle when upgrading to the supported product. The $299 edition will only support Crystal Reports. If you want support for SSRS, ad-hoc queries and dashboards you will need to upgrade to the Pro Edition at $749. See my updated comparison for more information.