Archive for June, 2009

Formula trouble using “Integer Divide” (the backslash)

Friday 19 June 2009 @ 10:29 pm

One of my customers sent me a report with an unusual “divide by zero” error. I was going to explain to her how you prevent this error with an IF-THEN statement.  You check to make sure that the field you are dividing by is not zero, like this:

If {FieldA} = 0 then 0 else
{FieldB} / {FieldA}

But when I looked at her formula I noticed that the first line did exactly what I would have done, and it was still generating a divide by zero Continue Reading »
Formula trouble using “Integer Divide” (the backslash)

SAP users experiencing “performance” problems

Thursday 18 June 2009 @ 9:11 pm

According to an article on, 90% of SAP users surveyed at the Sapphire user group conference last month are experiencing monthly performance problems, with most of those reporting 3 or more performance problems each month.  The article’s author asked SAP  to comment on this but they haven’t yet.  So if you are having performance problems you are not alone.

Lawson structure documentation on the web

Wednesday 10 June 2009 @ 11:00 am

One of the challenges of creating reports is finding the data that you are looking for.  This is especially challenging if you are working with a very large and complex database, like an ERP system.  So if you have to create reports against a Lawson database, you might want to check out  They provide an online copy of the searchable structure documents called dbdoc and dburf, and they have this for several versions of Lawson.  They also have some forums and a job posting board.  Some areas require a (free) registration.

Expert Techniques Volume 4

Friday 5 June 2009 @ 9:31 pm

Many of you have one or more volumes in my Expert Techniques series. These contain my favorite tips and tricks in Crystal Reports, accumulated over the years. I have just put together Volume 4 with another 30 articles. Each is illustrated with an annotated report that demonstrates how to use the technique.  As always, they cover a wide range of topics.

Some are specific advanced methods like:
How to do a fixed length text export from a Crystal Report (#115)
How to do a multi-level Bill of Materials (#118)

Some are little formatting tricks like:
How to automatically size the dotted line between two columns – like a TOC (#105)
Lines and boxes that grow or disappear based on a condition (#107-108)

Some are general purpose lessons like:
Different ways to use “feeder” formulas (#94-95)
Tips for naming formulas (#91)

Check out the full list of articles that are in Volume 4. Even if the article titles don’t seem to apply to your reports, I am confident that you will learn some tricks that you will find useful down the road. These guides are now all free downloads.

SAP/BO 2009 User Conference

Thursday 4 June 2009 @ 9:49 am

The 2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference is being held in Dallas this year on October 18-21, 2009. You can read more about it on the official site. The cost is $1,495 at the door, $1,395 in advance and $1,195 before 8/21/2009.

If you want to go, and aren’t sure you can get that amount approved, you can always download their handy “Conference Justification Document”.  This is a boilerplate proposal (fill in the blanks) that you can submit to your manager to convince them that the conference is worth the money and time.  The first paragraph ends with my favorite line:

” This content will be directly applicable to my work on <project(s) you are working on>. ”

I won’t be attending the conference but several of my colleagues are regulars.  If you decide to go let me know if you found it worthwhile.  If, like me, you decide not to go I can think of several ways to spend that amount of money and truly make it ‘directly applicable’ to the reporting project that you are working on.


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