Archive for the 'News' Category



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.




Milestones

Saturday 27 August 2016 @ 10:44 pm

When I first started this blog I wondered how long it would be before I ran out of things to write about. The Internet is littered with abandoned blogs. But this month marks 10 full years of The Crystal Reports Underground. And, next month marks 15 full years of my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

If Crystal lasts another decade I plan to still be writing about it.




A very old way to find where a field is in use

Tuesday 23 August 2016 @ 12:16 am

Sometimes the location of a formula can change the way things work, especially with variables. So I sometimes spend a few minutes trying to find where a formula was placed within a crowded report. My last resort has been to export the report to a “Report Definition” file and then do a text search for the field name to see which section contains that field. So while writing the last post (More ways to find where a field is in use) I had originally included a sentence that said:

“It would be really nice if they added a simple way to find where a field was sitting in the layout of the report.”

As I wrote that sentence I thought about how I would implement that feature in Crystal.  I would use the existing “find” feature but allow users to search while in design mode.  And then I realized that after using the find feature (binoculars) for 20 years I had never thought to try it in design mode. (Doh!) Yes, the feature I wanted has been there a long time – since v8.5(2001) or earlier.

So, if you are in design mode and and do a ‘Find’ for the text Qty you will find every text object or field name that contains those characters.  Or if you search for the word Sum you will find every text object and field name that has the word Sum, including summary fields that do a Sum of another field. It even works when the field is so narrow that the text you are searching for is truncated and not visible. And if you use the ‘Mark All’ button instead of ‘Find Next’ it will select all of the objects at once.

One note – a few times my ‘find’ did not see matches that were obviously there.  If that happens just click anywhere in the design screen before you do the ‘Find Next’.  This seems to fix the ‘lost focus’ and allows it to work.




More ways to find where a field is in use

Monday 22 August 2016 @ 10:50 pm

Since CR 2008(v12) we have been able to right-click on a field and check to see if it is used in any formula in the report. This is helpful if you are trying to delete a formula or drop a table from the report. It lets you see where the field is used and modify the formula to use an alternate field.

The problem is that the field might be used in several places that are not considered formulas.  For instance it could be used as a group field, a sort field, a subtotal or a subreport link.  Or it might just be sitting on the report, somewhere.

After updating to CR 2016 I noticed that when you right click on a field in the field explorer (and only in the field explorer) there are several new similar choices:

Find in Grouping condition
Find in Sorting condition
Find in Subreport Links

The first two are moderately useful but all they do is open the “group expert” or the “record sort expert” if the field is being used. The Subreport Links is more of a time saver since it checks all the subreports at once.

These were not available in CR 2011* or CR 2013* but are available in CR 2016.

*thanks to Ian Cartwright of Vero Software and Ido Millet of Millet Software for checking these versions.




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.




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.




Sage 50 update might disable some reports

Saturday 13 February 2016 @ 5:08 pm

If you are a Sage 50 user and rely on Crystal Reports you might want to pause before you apply a specific recent update. I have been told by Dave Smith at Phase One Computing that Sage 50 US Edition, update 2016.2 can prevent Sage from running reports if the reports use any of the “GetPeach” functions. If you have not already installed that update, you might want to wait and check your critical reports to see if they use these functions.

Dave says that Sage is aware of the problem but we don’t yet know how they will respond.

Update on 2/18 from Dave Smith:

SOLUTION FOUND: When this Sage 50 update is installed, which requires a conversion of the database, make sure that in addition to resetting your Crystal Reports User Security Settings (reset the password with the Change button), that you also click on the “Install Sage 50 Data Functions” link to the right of the screen. This will update the u2lpeach.dll file with the new Sage 50 Data Functions, which directly impacts Crystal Reports. After doing this, the Crystal Reports which use the GETPEACH expressions (this accesses the u2lpeach.dll file), will operate correctly.




SAP “Idea Place”

Saturday 16 January 2016 @ 2:26 pm

I haven’t mentioned SAP’s “Idea Place” in a couple of years. This is a site where you can suggest product features or improvements. Once an idea is submitted, people can vote on them and add comments. Once an idea has 20 votes SAP considers that feature and then responds (eventually). SAP just recently responded to Idea #D1146, creating an XML-based file format as an alternative to the proprietary RPT format. This was submitted five years ago and SAP responded in late December. The response is that they will NOT be implementing this feature.

On a positive note, I wrote about some of the new features being planned for CR 2016. Two of them (vertical alignment and conditional formatting for lines/boxes) are in the top 10 “most votes” ideas, so maybe SAP does listen.




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