Archive for the 'Products' Category



RPT management utilities for 2016

Tuesday 26 July 2016 @ 11:51 pm

I have just updated my comparison of RPT management utilities for 2016. These are tools that allow you to scan, document, compare and in some cases batch update RPT files.  The list now includes 8 tools:

Report Runner Documentor by Jeff-Net
R-Tag Documentation and Search by R-Tag
R-Tag Version Control by R-Tag
Report Miner by the Retsel Group
Code Search Professional by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Dev Surge Enterprise by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Report Analyzer by Cortex Systems
.rpt Inspector 3 Professional Suite by Software Forces, LLC




SAP embraces the Crystal ecosystem

Saturday 23 July 2016 @ 2:15 pm

Something has changed at SAP. In the past it was rare that I heard them mention third party products. Now they are openly promoting them on their web site through the SAP Analytics Extension Directory. It is great to see them embracing the rich ecosystem that makes Crystal Reports so powerful. So, if you are a Crystal user or a Crystal-related vendor you might want check it out. It lists all sorts of add-on tools for the entire SAP product line, including Crystal Reports, and it even allows users to rate the tools. The Crystal selection is still small, but it should eventually be a nice compliment to my Product Links page and annual comparisons.

The real surprise was when someone from SAP asked me to list my formulas page in the directory. I declined once because it required a partnership agreement with SAP (lots of fine print). But then they changed it to a simpler “vendor agreement”. So I went through the process this week to list that one page. It is currently the only free extension listed for Crystal Reports.

So if you are a vendor you should consider submitting your product. I found the process relatively painless.




Special offer from Find it EZ

Thursday 7 July 2016 @ 11:29 pm

The team at Find it EZ have announced a special promotion through August 12th. If you can show that you own a license for any of the RPT management utilities in my annual review matrix, they will give you a free 1-year subscription to their latest Dev Surge 365 product. Dev Surge 365 supports the latest versions of Crystal Reports/BOE and also provides native support for SAP HANA. So if you were thinking about an upgrade, this is worth checking out.

To claim your free license, first register on finditez.com. Then contact sales@finditez.com to submit proof of purchase. They will send you your free copy of Dev Surge 365. If you are an existing Find it EZ customers you are also eligible for a free additional license if you can show proof of a past purchase of one of these products.




Crystal Reports versions over time (2016)

Tuesday 14 June 2016 @ 11:34 pm

I do this chart each year based on my newsletter subscribers.  It shows the version of Crystal Reports that they were using when they sign up for the newsletter. Over time, it shows which versions have staying power and how quickly new versions take hold. I have included numbers for 2016, even though the year is only about half way there. Those numbers will change in next year’s chart when 2016 is complete.

Note that almost 1/4 of users are still using Crystal Reports XI, which is over 10 years old. That is roughly the same as the user base for the next two versions combined.  That may be partly because all versions after XI are limited to the .NET runtime engine.

versionmix2016




Crystal Reports 2016 new features

Thursday 9 June 2016 @ 2:55 pm

After 8 years I have finally purchased a new version of Crystal Reports. I skipped the last two upgrades because there wasn’t enough to justify the cost of the upgrade. But there are several new features in CR 2016. Here is what’s new:

Formatting conditions for lines and boxes:
Six new formula condition buttons to control formatting properties of lines and boxes based on data or parameter conditions:

Suppression
Style
Width
Border color
Fill Color (Boxes Only)
Drop Shadow (Boxes Only)

Vertical Alignment Control:
Before now, all objects were top-aligned. Now there is a control that allows you to set vertical alignment to top, center or bottom. And there is a formula condition button that allows you to change the alignment based on data or parameter conditions. The function constants are:
crTopAligned
crCenteredVertically
crBottomAligned

Functions:
GetValueDescriptions()
When you create a parameter you are allowed to assign a description to each parameter value. Before CR 2016 you were only able to use the parameter values in your formulas. There was no easy way to get to the descriptions associated with the chosen values, although there were some cumbersome workarounds. Crystal 2016 has a new function that can read this list of descriptions. Here is a formula that would display the descriptions of all the selected values for the {?items} parameter.

Join( GetValueDescriptions( {?Items} ) , ‘, ‘ )

Range Functions
These functions are for getting the top and bottom from ranges values, but they don’t provide any new capabilities that I can see. They do the same thing that CR already does with the minimum() and maximum() functions. They were probably added to make the CR formula language more compatible with other languages.

GetLowerBound()
GetUpperBound()




Crystal Reports 2016 is being sold?

Sunday 29 May 2016 @ 1:28 pm

I just purchased CR 2016, but it might just be a fluke of the SAP store.

One of my customers needs to buy a new copy of Crystal Reports. They asked if the should buy CR 2013 or CR 2016. I told them that CR 2016 was not yet released and they said it was listed in the SAP store. So I went to the Crystal Reports product page and hit “buy SAP Crystal Reports”. It took me to CR 2013. But then I clicked the product name to see the store listing for CR 2013. and on that page, in the list of “Other Versions” of the product, was a link to “SAP Crystal Reports 2016“. That link allowed me to put Crystal Reports 2016 into my cart and purchase it.

I already have CR 2008 so I purchased the upgrade to CR 2016. I received a download link, downloaded the software and started to install it. But the download link didn’t come with an installation key. I received the key 48 hours later.

I still have a suspicion that the store prepared the purchase page to be ready for the upcoming release, but didn’t mean to make it visible.  That would explain why the product page points to CR 2013. Also, no one else is selling or even mentioning CR 2016. SAP usually offers a big promotional discount on the current versions just before the new version is released and I haven’t seen that.

But despite all of that that the SAP store is selling CR 2016.  And, I have confirmed that the new features listed in my previous blog post are actually in the live product.




Server-based scheduler comparison (2016)

Sunday 29 May 2016 @ 11:42 am

I have just updated my comparison of server-based scheduling tools for 2016. These tools are similar to the desktop-based scheduling tools I write about every March, but these are designed to be run on server. This allows multiple people to schedule reports for automated delivery by Email, FTP or network folder.

There are 10 products on the list this year and a few few feature updates and price changes. The blog page provides a brief overview of each product. It also has a link to the feature matrix that compares roughly 70 features of these tools. There is even a feature glossary that defines all the terms. So if you need a short course in automating Crystal Reports delivery, this is a pretty good place to start.




Comparison of desktop-based schedulers (2016 update)

Friday 25 March 2016 @ 7:04 pm

How would you like your reports to be automatically run, exported to a PDF and delivered to your Email InBox every Monday morning at 6am? The Crystal Reports designer doesn’t provide a way to do this (unless you upgrade to CR Server or BO Enterprise). But if you look at third party products like those on my LINKS page you will find several reasonably priced or free tools that do this. Some do even more. So every March I go through the list and publish a feature comparison on my blog.

There is one new product this year for a total of 12 products. The page linked above provides a brief description of each product and lists the features that set it apart. Then there is a detailed feature matrix that shows the key specifics for comparison including prices. To clarify the matrix terminology I have written a feature glossary to explain what each feature means. Finally there are links to the vendor websites so that you can get more information on each product. In May I will be updating a separate article that compares server based scheduling tools. If you think one person can manage all of your scheduling you are probably fine with one of the desktop tools, regardless of the number of people receiving the scheduled output. But if you plan to have multiple people scheduling reports then you may want to consider a server based tool.




Turn a Crystal Report into a web dashboard

Friday 26 February 2016 @ 3:22 pm

Adam Butt of APB Reports in Norway has developed some sophisticated web dashboards using Crystal Reports exported to txt format. You have to see them to appreciate them. They are interactive and the data behind them can be refreshed automatically as often as needed to keep them up to date.

Adam accomplishes this by creating special text objects in the report to hold the needed HTML code and javascript. The report is then scheduled to export in txt format, but is named as an HTML file.  The file includes all of the data and code to run the dashboard. The files can then be automatically uploaded to a website by the same scheduler software that created the export. Adams process is built around Visual Cut as the export engine, but you could probably accomplish something similar with other scheduling tools.

And if you don’t want to learn the techniques, you can hire Adam to create dashboards for you.




2016 updates to Find it EZ

Monday 15 February 2016 @ 3:30 pm

Find it EZ Software has released a 2016 edition for their product suite. They are now offering the software in three tiers:

  • Code Search Pro Desktop
  • Code Search Pro Server
  • Dev Surge 365 Enterprise

You can download a comparison of the three tiers for more specifics. So what is new?

Dev Surge 365:
This is a new offering that covers all the features of the previous products. It adds the ability to mass update connection information within a BOE repository (Server, DB UID, PWD). It can do this at the report level or at the scheduled event level. It also adds the ability to do mass comparisons of objects. This includes Crystal Reports, database objects, several programming languages and office documents. In all cases you can drill down to granular differences between the objects. It runs on Windows desktop or Windows Server OS.

In all three editions you can now go beyond extracting the SQL from report expressions and commands. You can also now extract the SQL from database objects, like views and stored procedures that are called by the report. So now you can keep track of the fields used by a report, even if that field is only mentioned in SQL stored in the database.

Free trials are available on the Find it EZ website.




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