Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category
I have just updated my comparison of server-based scheduling tools for 2012. 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 8 products on the list again this year with a few feature updates and price changes since last year. The article provides a brief overview of each product. It also links to a 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, you have come to the right place.
I have quite a few customers who use PeachTree Accounting and PeachTree comes with Crystal Reports. So I have developed a bit of a specialty creating custom reports for people who use PeachTree. In January I saw something new. PeachTree eliminated a field in their database that has been there for ages. The field is called QtyOrdered and it shows the Quantity of each item on an order. But starting with the new 2012 product this field doesn’t exist and you have to use another Quantity field in its place. The challenge was that there are a handful of different “quantity” fields to pick from so it took some experimenting to find the right one (JrnlRow.Quantity).
This means that any custom reports that use the original field will generate an error. To run the report you have to edit all formulas and features that use QtyOrdered, and replace it with the new field. If you need help with this change, or with creating custom reports from PeachTree, please give me a call.
It is always a good sign when vendors respond quickly to user requests. Earlier this month the developers of Find it EZ received a request from a potential customer. He needed to search for table and field names within his SQL commands and SQL expressions. The next day this user was using a new version of Find it EZ, including this new feature. The user was surprised that he didn’t even need to fill in the report parameters before the SQL was searched – something required by his old software.
This support for embedded SQL searches is now included in the current release of Find it EZ. It also added a search of Crystal Dashboards (Xcelsius) files and even the embedded Excel models. See this article for more info on Find it EZ and special pricing through the end of this month.
It has been one year since I did my first comparison of formula function libraries, so it is time for an update. If you aren’t familiar with the term, User Function Libraries (or UFLs) are DLL files that add new formula functions to your Crystal Reports formula editor. With these functions your formulas can do some pretty amazing things like:
1) Carry values from today’s report to tomorrow’s report, or from one report to another.
2) Append lines to an external text file.
3) Automatically copy a value to the clipboard.
4) Check the user name of the user running the report.
5) See if a file or folder exists – either on your network or on the internet (http).
6) Rename/copy/delete a file on your hard drive or network drive.
7) Launch an application or run a batch file.
8) Execute a SQL statement (Select/Insert/Delete).
9) Send an Email using information in the report.
10) Create a table of contents or an index for your report.
11) Calculate distances between zip codes or long./lat. coordinates.
If this sounds interesting you can read my complete comparison including a list of all the functions provided by each DLL. The four primary sources are:
Bjarke Viksoe (U2lwin32)
Millet Software (CUT Light)
Chelsea Tech (File Mgt, Text, Share and others)
CrystalKiwi (Export, Table of Contents)
One of my readers pointed out a dramatic change in the SAP online store. Up until mid May you could purchase older versions of Crystal Reports products going back to v8.5. But that changed suddenly and now their is nothing available prior to CR 2008. There was no announcement or explanation so I asked someone at SAP why the change was made. I didn’t get much of an explanation yet, but apparently there is some issue with all of these older version and open-source software. It must be serious to merit pulling all these products.
The bad news is that without these prior versions there would be no COM API options. The good news is that I have heard that XI will be released again which will provide at least one COM compatible version.
I will add more information as it becomes available.
Have you ever noticed that some parameters include a small toolbar below the List of Values (LOV) drop down? This toolbar has two scroll arrows on either side of a small drop down list and two buttons with funnels on them. The toolbar doesn’t show up very often so it took me quite a while to figure out where it comes from and what it is supposed to do. So this article is for anyone else out there who is puzzled.
This is a called the batch interface. It is included in Crystal versions 11 and 12 and appears automatically whenever there are more than 200 values in the parameter list (LOV). To make the long list easier to navigate Crystal automatically batches the values into Continue Reading »
Using the parameter “batch” interface toolbar
As I mentioned last month, the promotional price of Crystal Reports Server XI was a clear indication that CR Server 2008 was about to be released. The official release of Crystal Reports Server 2008 came on 7/16 and there is a 30 day free trial now available on the Business Objects web site.
The main improvement Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports Server 2008 (& prices)
A customer recently asked me to adapt formula 17 on my site so that they could add business hours or minutes instead of just business days. In their example they wanted to add 90 minutes to a DateTime value when a case was opened. If the DateTime was within 90 minutes of the end of the workday, they wanted to skip time when the shop was closed and pick up the 90 minutes the next business morning. So a case the opened at 4pm on Friday would be due 90 “work minutes” later, at 9:30 am on Monday. They had a 9-5 workday. They also wanted to skip holidays.
So below is my adaptation of formula 17 Continue Reading »
Adding Business Hours/Minutes to a Start DateTime
If you are used to searching the Business objects KB for CR technical info you will need to look in a new place. SAP, the new owners of Business objects, has incorporated the BO Support information (including Crystal Reports) into the SAP Support system. All links to the old support pages are forwarded to the new system’s front page, so if you have links to specific documents or KB articles, these will have to be updated.
The new location has forums, a Wiki, and other things that I haven’t really looked at yet. If you check it out and find anything interesting, let me know.
Update – according to this article, it isn’t just the KB that was moved, but the entire BO Support system, (including all support tickets) has been moved. The author of the article says that transition isn’t going very smoothly.
Gordon Portanier of Crystalize recently sent me a note about a promotional page for Crystal Reports Viewer that talks about the ability to refresh reports. That surprised him because (as my readers know) the official viewer released by BO is the ONLY viewer out there that does NOT allow you to refresh the report’s data. (There are a dozen independent viewers that allow refreshing and many other features.) So Gordon tested the BO viewer and found that it still does not allow refresh, despite the clear wording of the ad, which currently starts with the title:
“Open, View & Refresh a Crystal Report Instantly.”
I expect it to be changed soon assuming it is an error. If it is not changed soon then it could be BO intentionally trying to confuse (and annoy) their users.
Update – it was changed as of 7/14.