Archive for June, 2010

Unlocking the chart “marker size” property

Wednesday 30 June 2010 @ 6:32 am

A customer had a line chart with square markers on the line.  We went to change the size of the markers using the “Appearance” tab under Chart Options.  We found we couldn’t make the change stick. We could change other properties  (marker shape, line thickness, line color, etc) but changes to the marker size were ignored.   So I added a new chart and found the same behavior, which really had me puzzled. I finally went through screen by screen and found that new charts have a check-mark setting in the Chart Expert (Options tab) that says “Auto Arrange”.    When this is checked the Marker size on the “Appearance” tab is locked.  Taking out the check mark unlocked the property.

Dealing with data types that change at runtime

Friday 25 June 2010 @ 11:49 am

I have faced this twice this month with two different customers.  In both cases we design the report to use a numeric field and the report runs fine at design time.  But when the report is run within the application it generates a formula error saying  “a number is required here”.  What is happening is that the data type at runtime is changing so that fields that were numeric at design time are seen as strings at runtime.  The source of the problem for one customer was an Excel spreadsheet data source.  Excel is notoriously flaky when it comes to data types.  The other customer had XML data where the XSD was missing at runtime  so all fields became strings at runtime.  (See this article for more on XML and XSD Files).

In both of these cases the customer didn’t have the flexibility to change what was happening at runtime, so we needed a workaround.  Fortunately there is a trick I recently learned Continue Reading »
Dealing with data types that change at runtime

Numeric parameters without commas

Monday 21 June 2010 @ 12:04 am

It is very easy to change the format of numeric fields that appear on the report.   Even a numeric parameter that is placed on the report can be formatted just about any way you can imagine.  But for some reason the format of a numeric parameter “List of values” (LOV) is much more difficult to control.  Users get annoyed when a numeric parameter input for an account number or some other numeric code is formatted with commas and (in some cases) decimal points.

In most versions up through v10 there was one less-than-ideal way to control of the format of numeric Continue Reading »
Numeric parameters without commas

Reporting on XML data

Thursday 10 June 2010 @ 5:14 pm

(For an update to this post, read my follow-up article)

When you create a connection to data in Crystal Reports there are 3 different methods to connect to XML data.  The first two (“ADO.NET (XML)” and “Database Files”) allow you to connect to a single XML (data) or XSD (structure) file on your local PC. If you connect to an XML file then you can read the data, but all the data types will be strings.  If you connect to an XSD you will see the data types specified in the XSD but Continue Reading »
Reporting on XML data

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