Archive for the 'Products' Category



Releasing my Calendar reports

Monday 18 October 2021 @ 8:28 pm

After releasing my course materials and my “Expert” series I realized that I had forgotten one item: My set of calendars. This three report set, with instructions, allows you to generate 3 different styles of calendar from your data (continuous, monthly and daily). The first two allow you to show multi-day events as boxes that stretch from the beginning to the end of the event.

The reports are designed so that you can swap in your fields instead of the sample data fields. You can read more about them in my original blog post, or download the set and try them out.




Comparison of Crystal Reports Viewers (2021)

Tuesday 28 September 2021 @ 8:01 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. These are offered by ten different vendors.  Don’t get sidetracked by the official SAP “viewer” because that tool won’t refresh reports.  Every viewer in my list allows you to refresh reports.

Every September I update the features of these viewers. The comparison page provides a brief introduction to each product including what sets it apart. There is also a detailed feature matrix (xls) 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. There are a couple of new features added to this year’s matrix which are marked in blue.

There are 10 active products in this year’s review and 4 “ghost” products that are mentioned as warnings.  A ghost product has a web site but it hasn’t changed in years and no one responds to requests for information.

The active vendors are:

Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
rptView by Pursuit Technology
CR Dispatch by APB Reports
cView by Chelsea Technologies
ViewerFX by Origin Software
CrystalKiwi Viewer by CrystalKiwi
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.




“Column mode” in the Crystal formula editor

Sunday 5 September 2021 @ 11:31 pm

I have written several articles about using Notepadd++ for writing long formulas or SQL statements. I just found out that one of the features I use in Notepad++ has been (partially) available in Crystal Reports forever.  I never noticed. The feature is called “column mode” and allows you to select text in a column without selecting the entire row.

Lets say you start a formula with DateTime variables like this:

WhilePrintingRecords;
DateTimeVar DateA;
DateTimeVar DateB;
DateTimeVar DateC;
DateTimeVar DateD;
DateTimeVar DateE;

Then you realize that you want them to be Date instead of DateTime. You can highlight a “column” made up of the word “Time” on all 5 rows at once, and then hit delete. To select a column you hold down the ALT key and then click the mouse in the upper left corner of rectangle and drag to the lower right corner. In this case you would start just before the “T” in Time in the first row, and drag down and across until your cursor was just after the “e” in Time in the last row. By using the ALT key you will highlight a rectangle of 4 characters across and 5 rows down. Then you hit delete and just those 20 characters are deleted.

You can also copy and paste a rectangle. Say you have to write a formula that is something like this:

If month({Trans.Date}) = 01 then {Balance.Pd01} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 02 then {Balance.Pd02} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 03 then {Balance.Pd03} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 04 then {Balance.Pd04} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 05 then {Balance.Pd05} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 06 then {Balance.Pd06} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 07 then {Balance.Pd07} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 08 then {Balance.Pd08} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 09 then {Balance.Pd09} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 10 then {Balance.Pd10} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 11 then {Balance.Pd11} else
If month({Trans.Date}) = 12 then {Balance.Pd12}

Normally I would start by typing the first row and then copy it 11 more times. Then I would change each row to use a different number from 1 to 12.  Once I have changed the column of values after the ‘=’ sign I could copy that 2-digit column and past it over the values in the other 2-digit column in one step.

To do this you select the 2 digit column as a rectangle using the ALT key. You can right clock in the column to copy (or use Ctrl-C). Then you select the other 2-digit column and right-click to paste (or use Ctrl-V).

Note, in Crystal you should select these rectangles starting in the upper left corner, especially if you plan to copy and paste.  You can get inconsistent results if you start in one of the other corners.

NotePad++ has a much more sophisticated column mode, allowing you to:

  1. Paste a single word or character value into multiple rows at once.
  2. Select a column and start typing. The new text is added to ALL the rows at the same time.
  3. Use Shift-Alt to mark the column using arrow keys , instead of the mouse.
  4. Select the column of text starting in any corner.

Unfortunately, these don’t work in Crystal.




My Crystal Reports Expert Series released as free downloads

Tuesday 24 August 2021 @ 10:05 pm

Last month I released my Intro and Advanced course books as free downloads. Tonight I released the entire Expert’s Series of guides as free downloads. All of these are all on the “Library” page of my site. You are free to use them and share them for free as long as they are not modified or sold.




RPT management utilities for 2021

Friday 30 July 2021 @ 9:39 pm

I have just updated my comparison of RPT management utilities for 2021. These are tools that allow you to scan, document, compare and in some cases batch update RPT files. The list includes 9 tools:

Report Runner Documentor by Jeff-Net
R-Tag Documentation and Search by R-Tag
CR Data Source Updater by R-Tag
Visual CUT and DataLink Viewer by Millet Software
Report Miner by the Retsel Group
Code Search Professional by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Dev Surge 365 by Find it EZ Software Corp.
.rpt Inspector 3 Professional Suite by Software Forces, LLC
.rpt Inspector Online by Software Forces, LLC




U2lwin32 recompiled for 64-bit, available to test

Wednesday 23 June 2021 @ 8:31 pm

Last week I invited developers to recompile the source code for this free 32-bit UFL into a 64-bit version of the same DLL.  Today someone sent me a DLL they had compiled and I have posted it on my site.  I consider it a Beta version since he only tested the function he needed (FileAppendLine).  But there are 37 other functions included in the dll. The developer also admitted that “the code still assumes a 32-bit word length”, which might cause problems on some of the functions.

I can’t test it yet since I haven’t upgraded to CR 2020. But if you have CR2020 and want to try some of these functions, you can download and test the DLL.  If you do any testing, let me know which functions you try and if you run into any problems.  And if someone feels like doing a more complete conversion, you can download the source code for the original 32-bit dll.

 




Anyone want to recompile this free dll to be 64-bit?

Friday 18 June 2021 @ 11:03 pm

Last week I mentioned the U2lwin.DLL. It is a Crystal Reports user function library (UFL) that is currently available in 32-bit but not yet in 64-bit. This means that users who have this dll and who upgrade to CR 2020 will lose some of their formula functions.

This week I checked in with the developer, Bjarke Viksoe.  He has always posted the source code for this dll on his web site. He said it is fine if someone else takes the source code and creates a 64-bit version of the dll. He doesn’t even mind hosting the upgraded file if that helps.

Of course, most of my readers are not application programmers, and neither am I. But I know that a few of you write serious code. If anyone wants to take a crack at this you can download the source code and give it a shot. The current source code uses Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0.

In the meantime, if you upgrade to CR 202o, there is another DLL that you can purchase called Cut Light by Millet Software.  It is one the UFLs in my annual comparison of UFLs. Cut light has at least twice as many functions as U2lwin with many that are the same. So it might have the functions you need, and it comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit.  It isn’t free but it also isn’t very expensive.




Transitioning from 32-bit Crystal Reports to Crystal Reports 2020

Monday 14 June 2021 @ 11:53 am

Some of my customers are transitioning from 32-bit versions of Crystal Reports to Crystal Reports 2020, which is 64-bit. This creates some issues since ODBC/OLEDB drivers are either 32-bit or 64-bit. Switching to CR 2020 requires different drivers and (if using ODBC) different ODBC Data Source Name (DSN) entries.

The same applies to UFL function DLL files. For instance the free ufl named u2lwin32.dll only comes in a 32-bit version. Some commercial ones come in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. Switching to CR 2020 requires that you use 64-bit UFL libraries.

The good news is that RPT files in CR 2020 are backward compatible with earlier versions, probably back to Crystal Reports v9. So you can modify and run a single RPT file in both CR2020 and earlier versions. But you do need different connectivity. What my customers are doing is naming the connections the same in both the 32 and 64 bit environment. That way users in both environments can run the same report without modification.

If you run into any strange behaviors in using CR 2020 or in the transition, please let me know and I will share with others.




Server-based scheduler comparison (2021)

Wednesday 26 May 2021 @ 4:31 pm

I have just updated my comparison of server-based scheduling tools for 2021. These tools are similar to the desktop-based scheduling tools I write about every March, but these are designed to be run on server. This allows multiple people to schedule reports for automated delivery by Email, FTP or network folder.

There are 11 products on the list this year and a few feature updates and price changes. The blog page provides a brief overview of each product. It also has a link to the feature matrix that compares roughly 70 features of these tools. There is even a feature glossary that defines all the terms. So if you need a short course in automating Crystal Reports delivery, this is a pretty good place to start.




Crystal Reports course materials – free download

Sunday 11 April 2021 @ 5:06 pm

I have decided to make my Intro course materials available to download, for free. There are several reasons behind this decision:

1) Crystal use is slowly declining. This might encourage use of the product in a small way.
2) Classroom training was becoming rare, and stopped completely by the pandemic.
3) My work is now mostly consulting, so there is less call for course materials.
4) I hope for some good karma.

So you are welcome to download the materials and use them. Share them with your friends. Please do not modify them or try to sell them.

Note that as a consultant, people often pay me to help them use or learn Crystal. You can, too. So if you have questions about Crystal Reports I am happy to schedule a short consult for you. This is explained further on these links:

https://kenhamady.com/faq.shtml
https://kenhamady.com/support/default.html




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