Archive for January, 2008
One of my customers asked if I could help them with a formula. The formula is found in article c2012665 in the Business Objects knowledge base and it converts a decimal number into fraction format. In other words it should convert .75 into 3/4 as a string. The formula used a clever loop but it had 3 problems:
1) If the input was an integer you would still get the fraction, but with a 0 on top.
2) If the input was between 0 and 1 (like .75) you would get the integer 0 in the output.
3) The formula was in BASIC syntax which makes it hard for many users to modify.
So I converted it to Crystal syntax Continue Reading »
Converting a decimal to a fraction
One of my most visited pages is my list of third party products and many of you are either using them or have tried them. In January three of these vendors released upgrades that you should be aware of: Continue Reading »
Recent upgrades available for popular third party utilities
For those of you in the Linux world, Business Objects has released a special preview edition of their XI Viewer that is designed for Linux. Keep in mind that this viewer, like the original edition (CR Viewer XI) will not allow you to run/refresh a report. You can only view reports that have saved data. While all of the commercial viewers can run and refresh the data of a Crystal Report, I am not yet aware of any of them that will run in Linux. And this one is free.
I was recently teaching a class using a new Vista laptop and Crystal Reports v10. When I got to the lesson on date parameters I started to show the class how to change the month or the year in the little pop-up calendar. What I got was something I had never seen before. Instead of scrolling through consecutive months or years I got a zoom out/zoom in interface. It would zoom out from a month view, to a year view, to a decade view and finally to a century view. Then I could zoom back in by selecting the correct decade, then a specific year in that decade, then a specific month and then the desired date. It was a nice little interface but I had never seen it before Continue Reading »
Mystery calendar for date parameters in v10 on Vista
It looks like Business Objects is trying to put restrictions on User Group speakers again. For now they are focused on preventing one single consulting group from presenting at User Group meetings. You may remember me mentioning a former BO partner, CTTS in southern Michigan. CTTS provides the leadership for two BO user groups and also provides very popular presentations for other user groups across the country.
But as you may remember from previous BLOG posts, CTTS had a nasty legal battle with BO and BO was forced to settle with terms they apparently didn’t like. Now one of BO’s User Group coordinators has started telling User Groups that BO will not fund any meeting where CTTS is doing a presentation. According to the group in Pittsburgh this means not only things like meeting space and refreshments, but it also means no BO speakers and no Email notification to the members.
Despite this, CTTS is still being invited and scheduled at meetings all over the country, but at least one BO group in Kentucky seems to be so interested in following BO’s lead on this that they have asked CTTS staff not to even attend their meetings, let alone speak at them. BO denies that their policy forbids anyone from attending meetings. And they have told me that this does not (currently) apply to all independent speakers – just to CTTS. But if this tool is effective I doubt BO will stop here.
The sad part is that user groups have to work to find practical and interesting presentations. So, if you are part of a BO user group you should find out if your group is more interested in a free lunch or solid product information.
Business Objects has decided to make the Crystal Reports sample database available for download on their website. This is the Xtreme database which is the Microsoft Access MDB provided with all prior versions of Crystal Reports. The sample database and sample reports for CR 12 (2008) are all in XML. To make the MDB behave like a client server database you can follow my instructions for setting up an ODBC connection.
One of my readers pointed me to a post on Ed Foster’s Gripelog, highlighting problems with their new Enterprise Software Delivery (ESD) licensing system. This service is provided by a company called Intraware. If you have comments please post them to Ed’s site. And, thanks to Dave Sharpe of BellSouth for giving me the first link to this article.
There may be a bug in CR 2008 that fails to read previously available Custom UFL Functions. I have tried this on two separate PC’s that have multiple versions of CR installed side-by-side and get the same result. In CRv12 the node for Visual Basic user functions (u2lcom.dll) doesn’t show up in the function tree under “Additional Functions”. However on that same PC those functions do appear in all previous versions of Crystal. I am also checking in with some colleagues who (so far) are finding the same behavior.
If you get a different behavior please let me know. And if your reports rely heavily on UFL functions you may want to confirm that your functions work in CR2008 before you lock in on the upgrade.
One of my customers asked if there was a way to do this. There isn’t a way to do this directly, but I played around and found a way to control the visibility of vertical lines, horizontal lines and boxes. Below are the steps for controlling all lines and boxes located between the Page Header and Page Footer. However the method can be adapted for other locations. Continue Reading »
Suppressing vertical lines on a page, based on a condition.