Archive for January, 2009
After updating Volume 1 of Expert Techniques a few weeks ago, I decided to read through the other two volumes to see if any of those articles needed to be updated. I didn’t find anything to update in Volume 3, but I found a handful of improvements to make in Volume 2. So this week I updated the text and a few reports in Volume 2.
I have already sent the update to those of you who purchased this volume in January 2009 (before today). If you purchased Volume 2 in 2008 (or earlier) please let me know and I will send you the update, or you can download that volume again using the original link. Here are the updated articles:
35. Grouping subtotals into ranges
41. Carving a memo field into smaller pieces
42. Expanding the design area in Crystal Reports
43. Reading an external image at runtime (or an image path stored in the database)
58. Suppress the Group Footer or change other properties at Drill-Down
CR 2008 users are eligible to download and use new ODBC drivers for Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, and Informix. These drivers use a ‘wire’ protocol which connects directly using TCP/IP. That means you don’t need to install database client software, which makes things much simpler. You can read this in more detail on the SAP Blog.
SAP has released Crystal Reports 2008 SP1. There are some small improvements that some of you might find useful. I haven’t installed it yet, so if you find anything that breaks let me know. Here are the major changes:
- Full Dual Monitor Support
- PDF Exporting with Embedded Flash. If you put a flash object in a report and export to PDF, the Flash object remains interactive in the PDF (using Adobe Reader 9)
- Crosstabs in DHTML Viewers are true DHTML Tables, which improves accessibility for screens readers.
- Unicode UFL Interface. If you write custom functions in COM or .net to be used in Crystal Reports formulas, the UFL interface is now Unicode compliant so Unicode strings can be used in the interface.
- Visual Studio users on Windows Vista no longer need to turn off DEP.
Here is a link to download service packs.
In the middle of 2008, SAP moved all of the BO support documents and files to the SAP support servers. What they didn’t do is put in any forwarding links from the old file locations to the new file locations. So web pages (like mine) that have links to those files had to be updated for the new links. That in itself would be no big deal, except there was no easy way to find the links to the new files. It has taken me 6 months to locate the 15 files linked on my LINKS page. I found some and Mike McCracken of LM Computing & Consulting found some others. A few we couldn’t find at all until yesterday when I noticed a new download search page feature on SAP’s web site. So I have finally updated all of my links.
The next step would be for Business Objects to update their own links. Almost every support document or knowledgebase article I have seen still has links that point to the old servers. Of course none of these links work, so you get dumped on the support page on SAP’s site. Don’t bother with the search box at the top if you want to find files. To find files you have to to go to “downloads” and follow a couple of page hops to get to the downloads search page I mentioned above. But once you are there you have about 1500 files, covering versions as old as v2.
According to a recent post by Doug Henschen of Intelligent Enterprise, SAP has ‘fully integrated’ Business Objects as of this week. This came directly from an interview with SAP’s Bill McDermott. Mr. Henschen focused on the fact that the Business Object’s sales force is now “fully integrated” into SAP’s sales force, which is a change from the original plan of letting Business Objects run independent of SAP. Read the fifth paragraph of the article for an interesting view of how SAP and BO approach a prospective enterprise customer.
Just a few days earlier I heard a rumor that all of the Enterprise Sales Reps at Business Objects were moved into SAP (or let go) and I had been trying to find someone to verify that rumor. This might be where that rumor came from. I certainly hope that this integration goes better than the Support Integration fiasco from the second half of 2008.
I recently reviewed my original volume of Expert Techniques and was pleased to see that most of it is still just as useful as it was five years ago when it was published. But out of the 30 problems that I helped you solve in 2003, six of these problems have now become solvable by using new features in Crystal Reports. So I have rewritten these six articles to reflect the changes in Crystal Reports. I still explain the old solutions for people using older versions, but I add the new solution and specify the version of Crystal Reports you must have to use that new feature. There are new or updated sample reports for all 6 articles.
If you purchased Volume 1 in Continue Reading »
Expert Techniques vol. 1 Updated for Crystal Reports 2008
Some of you may remember my “Don’t Pay Twice” campaign back in the summer of 2005. This was my response to Business Objects’ attempt to eliminate independent training by making it more expensive. Business Objects convinced several training providers that they needed to pay special fees for the privilege of offering Crystal Reports public classes. These providers were also required to buy courseware from one of two “authorized” vendors. These vendors were willing to pay Business Objects a $30-$40 fee for every course book they sold. So why would courseware vendors agree to pay this exorbitant fee?
Business Objects claims that no one can use a Crystal Reports screenshot in a book without their approval. They sent letters to courseware vendors (including me) telling use that we need to get permission to use screenshots in our books. Most vendors ignored those letters and nothing more was said in the three years since. Now it appears that more letters are going out from SAP (who now owns Business Objects). I read one of the letters this past week and Continue Reading »
SAP resurrects the “screenshots” issue