Archive for September, 2011
I just had a potential student ask the following question:
>> the rumor I hear from other I.T. people is that the
>> long term health of crystal is suspect and
>> that its future is short for this technical world …
Here is how I responded:
I am probably not the best situated for a ‘big picture’ view, and it is devilishly tricky to predict the ‘long term’ in regards to anything technical, but I sure don’t see any basis for that opinion. CR has changed hands several times and each time Continue Reading »
Do you see CR as a declining technology?
You use Crystal Reports to create, change and run reports. But what if you have a user who doesn’t need to create reports or even change them. This user just wants to refresh the reports and view/print/export the results. Does he need another copy of Crystal Reports? Do you need to configure an expensive web server?
The most cost effective method for letting users run reports on demand is to install a third-party client-based viewer. And I am amazed at how many Crystal Reports users are completely unaware that these are available, despite the fact that they are offered by a dozen different vendors. Some users the “Viewer” that is put out by SAP and get discouraged because it won’t allow refresh. But every third party viewer I know of allows you to refresh the data.
So every September I review the different viewers available and update a fixed page on my blog site. This year there are 9 vendors in the review. The fixed page provides a brief introduction to each product including what sets it apart. I have also created a detailed feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison like prices and the install base. There is even a glossary of features in case you aren’t familiar with the terminology. The tools being compared are:
Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
cView by Chelsea Technologies
ViewerFX by Origin Software
RV by Climate 27
Report Runner Viewer by Jeff-Net
Logicity Pro by SaberLogic
Easy View by Easy Street Software
RTag Report Viewer by RTag
DataLink Viewer by Millet SW
If you have already tried one of these products, or are currently using one, I would love to get your feedback.
I am working on my annual review of Crystal Reports viewer programs and will be adding a few new ones to the matrix this year. One of the “new” ones I will be adding is Report Runner Viewer by Jeff-Net. Even though this is the first time RRV has been in the review it is not really a ‘new’ viewer. RRV has been around 9 years and has a considerable install base, so it is great to finally have their information included.
But what IS new is that they are offering the first copy of the viewer for free to any company that wants to try it. Additional copies are $50 plus a $4 per user annual renewal fee. The renewal fee covers 24x7x65 support.
The site also offers a free 90-day evaluation, which seems redundant when the first copy is free. But to get the free license you have to use a company EMail address (not gmail, hotmail, etc). The other thing that might confuse you is that this offer is on the front page of the Jeff-Net site, but is not mentioned on the RRV product page. So it is some type of special promotion. No guarantee how long it will last, so if you want to try a new viewer program you can get a free copy of Jeff-Net’s Report Runner Viewer.
And when you do, please let me know what you think of it.
Millet software has recently added some new features to the CUT Light UFL. Cut Light is one of several DLLs that you can install to let your Crystal Reports formulas do all sorts of interesting things. For example you can have formulas that carry a value from one report to another, launch an application, run a batch file or execute a SQL statement. You can read this page for a more complete list of what they can do, and for more information about CUT Light.
A few months ago Millet Software released version 5.2 of CUT Light with a handful of new features. The one that got my attention is the ability to calculate distances between 2 zip codes or between a pair of Latitude and Longitude coordinates. It can even convert zip codes into coordinates(see note below). The calculated distances are Continue Reading »
CUT Light UFL provides distance calculation
I just discovered 2 features of the linking window that make it easier to work with a large number of tables. Some of you may have already found these but maybe I am not the only one that overlooked them:
Change Linking View:
If you right click in the background of the linking window there is an option to “Change Linking View”. This collapses all tables to just their headers and shows a single line join for all links. I find that this is great for a big picture view of the tables. To see individual fields for a table you can double click on the heading of a table and it opens up that table to normal view. Another double click on the heading collapses it back down again.
If you have lots of tables and you don’t want to scroll around to find a particular one you can right click in the background and select “Locate Table”. This will give you a list of the tables in the window in alphabetical order. Highlight any table in the list and it takes you directly to that table. This is especially helpful when you have really long table names and they are wider than the tables, making it tough to distinguish tables with similar names.