Archive for the 'Products' Category

Visual Cut adds RPT management capabilities

Tuesday 7 February 2017 @ 11:35 pm

Visual Cut has always been a solid desktop scheduler. I have used it for years to send out my invoices.

But Ido Millet of Millet software has recently added some new features that allow you to scan multiple reports. The scan reads in the database fields, text objects, SQL expressions and all formulas (including selection formulas and property expressions). You can group, sort, search, and export the results. You can also find & replace text and expressions and save the updated versions of these reports. Ido has posted a video demo of this.

Another video demo shows how you can deploy an entire series of new formulas in Excel and import these new formulas into multiple reports. With these new features, Visual Cut will now be included in my annual comparison of RPT management utilities.

Web based deployment options compared (2017)

Friday 27 January 2017 @ 1:00 am

There are many ways to deploy Crystal Reports to users. I normally lean toward the simpler and less expensive options, like locally installed viewers, or scheduled delivery of PDF output. But there are environments where a web based option is necessary. The “official” options from SAP are Crystal (Reports) Server and BO Enterprise. But there are other, less expensive products out there that also web delivery of Crystal Reports. These third party products allow your users to run and view reports from a browser. You can also centrally manage your report deployment from a browser.

I have created a page on my blog that lists and compares these products, and I update it every January. This year the list features 10 products, three of which are being listed for the first time:

Crystal Reports Server – a traditional Web portal
Report Runner Web Portal – a traditional Web portal
IntelliFront BI – a traditional Web portal
Ripplestone – a traditional Web portal
RVweb – a traditional Web portal
rePORTAL CR – a traditional Web portal
ReCrystallize Pro – a launch page generator for the web
ReCrystallize Server – a server-based web viewer
Report Launch – a bridge between BO server products and server based applications
RapidStack – Web Portal service built around Business Objects Enterprise

The blog page mentioned above contains a brief rundown on what each product does and provides links to all of the product web sites. I have also posted a feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices. This year there are several new lines in the matrix. They show which tools provide workflow/BPA support, Web APIs, password management and menu localization. If you have any feedback to share on these tools I would be happy to hear from you.

Reduced prices for the “Expert” series

Sunday 8 January 2017 @ 11:29 pm

Starting this month, the prices for the “Expert” series of educational PDFs have all been cut in half. So if you were hesitant, maybe the new prices will make it easier to try them out.

Check out the full list of titles here along with the new prices.

New web portal from ChristianSteven Software

Thursday 15 December 2016 @ 10:48 pm

ChristianSteven Software has released a new web portal product in 2016 called IntelliFront BI. It can run Crystal Reports, SSRS Reports and MS Power BI dashboards.  It also allows you to create and run proprietary KPI reports and scorecards.

As a web portal, it allows users to run reports on demand.  But it can also run them automatically, either on a fixed schedule or based on data driven events. This allows you to automate business processes and workflows.

It even includes a web service API for integration with other tools and systems. The license is $50,000 which includes unlimited users, unlimited servers and unlimited cores.  They offer a free live demo for those who are interested.

ReCrystalize releases ReCrystalize Server web portal

Thursday 8 December 2016 @ 12:26 am

ReCrystalize has just released a simple web portal called ReCrystalize Server. It allows you to make your Crystal Reports available on an IIS server. Users can browse the reports which are stored in folders. They can then open and refresh the reports through their browser. ReCrystalize Server will prompt the users for any necessary parameters, or you can set up links to run reports with fixed parameters embedded within the URL.

The cost is $995 per server with an optional $500 per year for support and maintenance. For more information you can read about ReCrystalize Server on the ReCrystalize website. There is even a live demo to show you how it works.

Crystal Reports formula function libraries (2016)

Saturday 26 November 2016 @ 11:52 pm

It is time for my annual comparison of formula function libraries. If you aren’t familiar with User Function Libraries (or UFLs) they are DLL files that add new formula functions to your Crystal Reports formula editor. With these functions your formulas can do some pretty amazing things like:

1) Carry values from today’s report to tomorrow’s report
2) Carry values from one report to another.
3) Append lines of text to an external text file.
4) Automatically copy a value to the clipboard.
5) Check the user name of the user running the report.
6) See if a file or folder exists (on your network or on the internet).
7) Rename/copy/delete a file on your hard drive or network drive.
8) Launch an application or run a batch file.
9) Execute a SQL statement (Select/Insert/Delete).
10) Send an Email using information in the report.
11) Create a table of contents or an index for your report.
12) Calculate distances between zip codes or long./lat. coordinates.

If this sounds interesting you can read my complete comparison including a list of all the functions provided by each DLL. The five UFL providers are:

Bjarke Viksoe (U2lwin32)
Maginus Software (CRUFLMAG)
Millet Software (CUT Light)
Chelsea Tech (File Mgt, Text, Share and others)
CrystalKiwi (Export, Table of Contents)

The only product that has changed since last year is CUT Light, which now includes a handful of new functions:

  • Convert time strings (hh:mm) into seconds
  • Resize images
  • Convert HTML or a URL into an image
  • Set/Get/Reset lookup values in memory arrays

If you need help deploying one of these functions in a project let me know.

Save 10% on Crystal Reports

Thursday 10 November 2016 @ 5:58 pm

For a limited time, you can save 10% on any Crystal solutions product purchased individually. Just visit the SAP Store to buy new licenses or upgrade from an older version. Then use the promo code:


And if you want to purchase one NUL (named user license) of the following three products:

SAP Crystal Reports
SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Excelsius)
SAP Crystal Server

You can click here to purchase the entire bundle for $495 (a savings of 43%).  Of course there isn’t much to be done with one NUL of CR server, and I don’t use Excelsius myself. But if you were planning to use these products this is an inexpensive way to get them.

And if these links or promo code stop working, I would call the SAP Sales number and ask for the discounts.  It never hurts to ask.

Automatically translate report text to another language

Sunday 30 October 2016 @ 10:39 am

Supporting multiple languages in Crystal Reports just became much easier.  Ido Millet of Millet Software has added a new translation feature to DataLink Viewer.  This allows reports to automatically translate all static text objects from one language to another.   The feature taps into Google Translate, so it supports any of the 100 or so languages that Google supports.  Automated translation is not perfect, but I have found that Google Translate is amazingly accurate for an automated tool, and is getting better all the time.

To take advantage of this feature the report has to be run with web access.  It also needs a Google account and a Google API key.  The Google API key is not free but it is only $20 for 1 million translated characters.  (DLV only translates each text object once per report, even if it appears on multiple pages.)

If you want to translate the dynamic content of your reports (fields and formulas) then you can add Millet Software’s CUT Light dll to your environment.  This adds a formula function that can pass text from fields and formulas to the same API for translation.

Here is a link to the new section of DLV user manual which explains how it all works and a short video demonstration.

If you have a use for this I am sure that Ido would be happy to hear from you.

Updated comparison of Crystal Reports viewers (2016)

Saturday 24 September 2016 @ 9:20 am

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. They are offered by a dozen different vendors.  Don’t get sidetracked by the “viewer” that is put out by SAP because that tool won’t refresh reports.  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. I have even included a glossary of features in case you aren’t familiar with the terminology.

This year there are 12 vendors in the review but one of them is only listed as a warning (EasyStreet Software).   The web site is still there so I keep including them, but I am not sure if the purchases pages work.  Customers haven’t heard from them in several years and the Better Business Bureau has given them a “D-” rating for not responding to complaints.

The 11 active vendors are:

Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
rptView by Pursuit Technology
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
RTag Report Viewer by RTag
DataLink Viewer by Millet SW

If you have feedback to provide on any of these products, I would love to know what you think.

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

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