The wrong way to design a report

Friday 21 May 2021 @ 11:59 am

Anyone looking to test the limits of Crystal Reports might be interested in the stats for the report I was sent recently. It has over 1,200 Report Footer subsections that covered 30+ pages.  There were 2,200 running totals with conditions and 7,500 formula fields. I have never seen anything like it.

Surprisingly, it ran fine – but making changes to the layout was very slow and sometimes crashed Crystal. The customer wanted me to add two more columns. If I followed the existing model it would have taken another 250 running totals and another 750 formulas.

The reason the numbers were so high came down to an odd choice made by the original developers. They created the 30+ pages using only the Report Footer.  Every visible number is a unique formula or a running total. Each running total has a condition that assigns specific account numbers. There is no grouping even though the report has recurring sections that would lend themselves well to grouping.

I convinced the customer to let me rebuild the report from scratch using grouping. I have already redone 18 pages and needed only 100 formulas an no running totals. The account number mapping that was scattered in thousands of running total conditions is now consolidated into one formula, making the report much easier to maintain.

So, if you have a beast of a report that needs taming you might want to let me have a look.









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Jeff-Net
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