Archive for the 'Application Development' Category
One of my customer sent me two screen shots. One showed a normal preview on his development machine. The other showed a preview window on the runtime machine. The second had the group tree, but the report was nothing but a long blank vertical strip. He had been struggling with it for a month and could not figure out what was causing the strange behavior at runtime.
When the preview behavior changes on a different machine, it is usually due to a printer driver problem. I also know that CR will normally Continue Reading »
Strange printer behavior at runtime
If you were considering trying out Find it EZ this might be a good month to do it. For the month of November, Find it EZ is offering my readers a 30% discount on their scanning tool. It is designed to find all uses of a particular table or field in any layer of your project. So it goes beyond scanning your RPT files and also scans your application source code, your SQL queries, documentation, config files and just about anything else. It even includes plugins that integrate automatically into Visual Studio and Eclipse.
When you scan your project for a proposed change Find it EZ will generate an ” Impact Checklist” that Continue Reading »
Find it EZ offers a 30 % discount
I recently helped a VB6 developer who was deploying CR v8.5 reports. His application reports could not export to PDF in some installations. This is an old but still popular configuration, so I am posting what we learned because it might help someone else down the road (maybe even me).
The first thing we found was the specific DLLs that support PDF export. We had to confirm that they were part his distribution:
But even if the files are distributed and installed you still have to Continue Reading »
Classic VB Runtime and PDF Exports
This month an unusual number of customers have brought me errors to troubleshoot. Most of them involve errors outside of Crystal with things like missing DLL files or installs that seem the same but that behave differently. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a recent blog post on the SAP web site that provides a list of free tools for helping to troubleshoot things like this. There are 5 tools listed but I think two would apply most to the problems I faced this month:
1) Modules is a free utility, copyrighted 1998 by Seagate Software. Surprisingly, it seems to work fine in Windows 10. It allows you to run an search in any PC environment, and save a list of all the processes in memory, and all the dlls used by each process. You can save these lists and then compare them to lists pulled from other systems (e.g. one that works and one that doesn’t). The compare will list the differences in those two environments. I recently tried to find a more up to date application that does something similar, but wasn’t successful. I found descriptions of a program called ENVy but the company that created it is no longer around. If anyone finds a something more recent that does the same thing, please let me know.
2) Depends.exe (Dependency walker) is another free tool that takes an EXE or DLL file and lists all of the other files that it relies on. This is perfect for when you have a DLL that won’t work or register correctly. Often a missing dependent file is part of the problem.
And if you need to troubleshoot hangs and crashes, monitor HTTP / HTTPS traffic or monitor local file system and registry activity, the other tools should help.
If you are creating or running an application and your list of export formats is incomplete, the problem is likely some missing dlls on the server/PC where the app is installed. The list of export formats that you see is not typically controlled in the application code, but instead is determined by the list of dlls that the application finds at runtime. Each export format has its own dll. For example the one for text is U2Ftext.dll. The one for Crystal Reports is U2Fcr.dll. So if you find where these “U2F” files are stored you can see which are missing. The complete list of files would be found on the PC that has your Crystal Reports designer. I have CR2008 on a Win7 64 bit PC so my dlls are in this folder:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Business Objects\BusinessObjects Enterprise 12.0\win32_x86\
Adding the missing files into the same folder should complete your export format list.
If you are using the version of Crystal Reports that comes with Visual Studio 2005 you will only have seven export formats available. If you upgrade to the full developer version of CR, or to CR 2008, you have access to the entire list of export formats.
Dynamic images are a great feature of versions 11 and 12 of CR. They work pretty well and are mostly trouble free, if you are in the report designer. But if you try to run this report from an application, in something like VB or .NET, you might find that everything works fine except for the dynamic images. I know a developer who ran into this problem this past week and resorted to opening a support ticket with SAP to get it resolved.
What she discovered was that she was not alone. SAP has written an article explaining the problems developers face with dynamic images. The article is by Ludek Uher and Continue Reading »
Dynamic images in .NET applications
I recently wrote a blog post to remind developers that you can’t integrate CR into a VB.NET application if you are using the .NET Express Edition. So I was surprised when a developer wrote to me that he was using the Express Edition to run my sample apps. These are simple apps that I created for my guide to Crystal Reports in VB.NET. He said VB wouldn’t let him add a the CrystalReportViewer control onto a form, but if the control was already there he could use it. He then used the free runtime files Continue Reading »
Using Crystal Reports in VB.NET Express Edition
In the Library on my site I have two guides for developers who need to integrate Crystal Reports into Applications:
These show developers the basics of getting an application to launch and interact with a report. I have had several developers ask me why the steps wouldn’t work in their applications. Both were using the “Express” edition of VB.NET. Acccording to Microsoft, the Express edition doesn’t support Crystal Reports integration (all the other editions do). So, I have now noted this on the product page for VB.NET and hope this saves a bit of grief for developers who struggle and wonder why their apps don’t work.
Many of you have purchased my guide to using Crystal Reports in VB (v6) or my guide to using Crystal Reports in VB.NET. In those guides I cover the basics of configuring and running a report from within an application. I also explain how to change the basic features of the report (groups, parameters, formulas, etc.) and how to log the report into a secured database.
One thing that isn’t currently described is how to log the report into a connection that is different than the connection used at design time. While the code is the same, there is one thing you have to do Continue Reading »
Overridden Qualified Table Names
For those of you who do VB development, there are several choices for creating an installation file. The main commercial tools are InstallShield and Wise, but there is also a free tool (donations accepted) called Inno Setup, by Jordan Russell.
For those of you that create VB applications incorporating Crystal Reports, you should check out Inno Setup. One of the main advantages (besides being free) is that you can use a great little script generator for Inno Setup called InnoScript by Randem Systems. InnoScript isn’t free but is a great deal for $25.
InnoScript is designed for VB developers and generates complete Inno Setup scripts directly from the VB project file. Best if all, InnoScript now provides full and automatic support for Crystal Reports versions 8.5 thru 12(2008). Randem Systems even maintains an archive of the Crystal redistributable files. You can download the correct Merge Modules in an installable MSI format. To quote Will Fastie, a freelance IT management consultant:
“This is a brilliant piece of work that is available nowhere else, at least as far as I know. I’m using this system now. Flawless.”
And thanks to Will for pointing out these tools.