Archive for June, 2007

Free options for Desktop Sharing

Friday 29 June 2007 @ 12:10 pm

I do quite a bit of Crystal Reports consulting by phone. I find that making a remote connection to my customer’s PC is rarely needed, but is sometimes helpful. So I did some research on current options for desktop sharing.

My current favorite is Crossloop. It is a free program that any two people can download and install. Within a few minutes either user can take control of the other’s PC.

No registration is required, it has no adware/spyware, no time limits, it is secure and free. All session traffic is encrypted end-to-end. The person whose PC is being shared has to initiate the connection by giving the user a random 12 digit key generated by the program. When the remote user attempts to connect, the host must also allow the connection at that point. Once allowed, the remote user has shared control of the desktop host desktop.

Or, if you like Webex you might also look at the new AOL/Webex collaboration called AIM Pro. It includes free 2-person Webex sessions and several other nice features.

Finding a stray formula or parameter field

Wednesday 27 June 2007 @ 10:16 am

Crystal will not allow you to delete a formula or parameter field from a report unless that item is no longer used anywhere in the report. Unfortunately, there are several hundred places where a formula could be hidden. These include sorting, grouping, selecting, totaling and dozens of formatting formulas for every report object. Checking all of these hiding places is not practical, so here are two ways to have Crystal help you uncover where the field is being used.

My favorite method is to edit the formula or parameter in question and change it’s data type. Continue Reading »
Finding a stray formula or parameter field

New “Certified” associates for teaching Crystal Reports classes

Wednesday 27 June 2007 @ 10:12 am

As many of you know I am not a big fan of Business Objects’ certification programs. That is why I have never been certified by Business Objects. And most of my associate instructors are not certified by BO. Despite that fact we still provide excellent classes and have enthusiastic customers.

But I have found a few organizations that still prefer an instructor with BO certification, and end up paying the Business Objects price to get one. So I recently added 2 associates to my team who have the certification for Crystal Reports XI. These instructors were or are “official” instructors for Business Objects – teaching classes for them on a regular basis. So, if you are looking for credentials, this is about as good as they come. And these instructor are willing to travel. So if you want someone with a lot of experience to teach your next Crystal Reports class, someone who is officially “blessed” by the folks at BO, then give me a call.

Formula to generate Canadian holiday list

Monday 11 June 2007 @ 6:45 pm

One of my most used formulas is my “Business Days” formula which allows you to calculate the number of business days between any two dates. But to do this you have to store a list of the holidays for each year. One of my readers (Mike Cook of Shepherd Hardware Products) provided a formula to calculate the common US holidays – even going so far as to provide a formula to calculate Good Friday, a pretty amazing feat. Now one of my Canadian readers (Greg Fendall at net-linx Americas) has provided the Canadian version of the holiday formula. If anyone would like to provide the formula for another country I will be happy to post it.

Business Objects updating their off-line viewer

Thursday 7 June 2007 @ 11:25 am

I just read a notice from BO (thanks to Dave Sharpe, a former student) that they are starting a BETA program for something called Crystal Reports Viewer XI. This is really a rehashing of their “Offline Viewer” which allows users to view and print reports, but ONLY if the report is saved with data. They apparently don’t want to sell a viewer that allows refreshing because then it will take significant market share from their more expensive server products.

They also started a forum for feedback from people in the BETA program and the first comments are pretty much “it needs to be able to refresh”. The response from the BO forum moderator hints that BO is (finally) considering releasing a viewer that can refresh reports. The question is can they develop something that works as well as the ones that are already out there.


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