Archive for the 'Products' Category
I recently wrote about a DLL that can post a tweet directly to your twitter account. There are also some desktop scheduling tools and server-based scheduling tools that can post messages directly to twitter. These are all in the $1000 and up price range. Now there is a third option to consider.
Ido Millet of Millet software recently wrote up a case study in the user manual of Visual Cut (page 41). It shows how the Santa Monica Fire Department uses Visual CUT to tweet calls for service as they entered into their database. A report is scheduled Continue Reading »
A new way to Tweet report data
I have written before about 2 free tools that allow you to generate PDFs simply by printing your report – or virtually any printable document. I recently learned about a third free tool offered by the folks at pdfconverter.com. They offer a completly free version of their commercial PDF creation software. It does everything that the other 2 tools do and it runs on 8 operating systems. The most surprising part is that it also comes with free support. I kept looking for a catch but I haven’t found one yet. It puts no watermarks or advertising into the PDF and has no time limit. The only advertising I saw was an upgrade panel that appears next to your print optins.
So if you are looking for a way to print out PDF documents, it is worth a try.
The developers at Find it EZ have been busy recently – adding new features to their code searching software. Find it EZ already had a solid search function that lets you search a folder of reports and find virtually anything in any part of the report. Recently they have been refining their Report Definition document so that it is more complete and flexible. A Report Definition document summarizes all of the key objects and features in an RPT file. In addition to all the basic features it now includes the Tables and Joins, SQL Commands and SQL Expressions, Images, Charts, Cross-tabs and even lines and boxes. So it is about as thorough as it can be. And by setting search filters you can focus the output on the features you need to see.
The developers have also been working on a way to let users see the SQL query that is automatically generated by the Crystal Reports Engine. Up to now the only way to generate the SQL for a report has been to log the report into the database. Find it EZ has developed a way to generate equivalent SQL for any RPT without requiring a database connection. While the SQL may not be exactly the same as that generated by the report, it is equivalent ANSI standard SQL.
So if you are looking for a tool to help you manage a quantity of reports, your first step should be this article. It compares the available features for all of the tools in this category and gives a capsule description of each. But these new features are not included in the matrix yet. If you think these features are useful, then you should download the free trial of Find it EZ.
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. This year there are 12 vendors in the review with three being added for the first time. 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. The tools being compared for 2012 are:
Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
cView by Chelsea Technologies
RPTView by Pursuit Technology
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
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 have been working with Ido Millet of Millet software to enhance one of the features in the DataLink Viewer. One of my favorite DLV features is that it allows you to change the value of a formula at runtime with a click. This allows the user to change a group, a sort, or do “in place drill down” where you can expand and collapse the details of a group. But I needed to tweak this so that I could change the value in a target formula based on the name of the clicked formula. The clicked formula name becomes an input available in the calculation of the target formula.
Here is how I used it. My customers report was grouped by category, and each group footer had Continue Reading »
DataLink Viewer’s new ‘click’ interaction
One of my readers finally asked me what I thought of CR being split into two different products and which way I recommended people go. So I guess it is finally time to say something, although even now I am not sure what to say. When CR 2011 was released there was a parallel product released called “SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise”. This is a version of CR that is tailored to work within the Enterprise environment.
No customers have called asking me to work or teach in this environment, so I am not ready to invest any time in it. Also, things seem a bit fluid so I am not really sure where the chips will fall. For a while it sounded like CR 2011 was the end of the line for ‘stand-alone’ Crystal Reports, based on statements like this from the product wiki:
“SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the foundation for all future releases of Crystal Reports.”
But this has lots of wiggle room. I have a hard time believing that they will stop producing a stand-alone product. Additional wording that has been added more recently seems to indicate that standalone CR will be around for a while:
“Even when we have closed the major gaps between Crystal Reports for Enterprise and Crystal Reports 2008, we will continue to deliver and support minor enhancements to the Crystal Reports 2008 / Crystal Reports 2011 line of products. This will be required as not every feature from the designer and associated SDKs will be moved into the Crystal Reports for Enterprise product line.”
So it sounds to me like there will be parallel products indefinitely. That is good because Crystal Reports for Enterprise only available to users in an in Enterprise environment. If that ever becomes the only way to use CR then I will start looking for another tool. I am sure that I won’t be alone.
A colleague in LinkedIn was concerned about the wording in the CR 2011 license. He had read my article on NULs (Named User Licenses) and it wasn’t clear if this was still applicable to CR 2011. I read the license and figured it was worth clarifying again, so I sent the following message to sales at SAP:
What I am looking for is a copy of the EULA (the license agreement). I want to see for myself if the NUL license model has changed before I tell my customers and readers whether or not upgrade.
You see in CR XI and CR 2008 a user is allowed to install a single copy of CR on several machines as long as only the “Named User” is using the product in all places. This was confirmed by the product team in an Email to me several years ago. However this week another user said that the CR 2011 license is restricted to a “single install” rather than a Named User, and I found that surprising. I want to read the current license for CR 2011 to see for myself if this has been changed. Can you send me a copy?
Here is the response that I received: Continue Reading »
Named User Licensing in CR 2011
Millet software has added an interesting feature to Visual Cut. Visual Cut has always had the ability to send out Emails from a Crystal Report. Now it can collect incoming Emails from an Email server and use them to build a database table from the incoming messages. These tables can be created in MS Access, Oracle or SQL Server and can be used to update existing data or to create new reports. The table structure has 20+ fields which means plenty of detail for analysis. Here are two examples of how this could be used: Continue Reading »
Using Visual Cut to turn Email messages into useable data
I have just updated my comparison of RPT management utilities for 2012. These are tools that allow you to scan, document, compare and update RPT files.
Most of the products have not changed much since last year. The main exception is Find It EZ which has added many new features in the past year. Report Miner is getting close to a major release and I will let you know when that happens. The complete list of tools is below:
Report Miner by the Retsel Group
Find it EZ by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Report Analyzer by Cortex Systems
Crystal SpellChecker by Redeemed Software.
Search and Replace by Redeemed Software.
Mass Verify by Redeemed Software
.rpt Inspector 3 Professional Suite by Software Forces, LLC
I create lots of reports for PeachTree accounting so I was surprise to learn that Sage has dropped the PeachTree name and is now calling the product Sage 50 Accounting. This change comes with the new (2013) version.
And just as they did in their last upgrade, they dropped fields from the tables. The first one I have found is one that some of my customers were using in their reports. The field is called PSQLCompletedDate and is (was) found in the JrnlHdr table. If you have been using this field in your reports you will probably need to replace it with the field CompletedDate, also in the JrnlHdr table.