Archive for September, 2012

Updated comparison of Crystal Reports viewers

Saturday 22 September 2012 @ 11:13 am

You use Crystal Reports to create, change and run reports. But what if you have users who just need to refresh/view/print/export? Do they need copies of Crystal Reports? Do you need to configure an expensive web server?

The most cost effective method for letting a user run reports is to install a third-party client-based viewer.  I am amazed at how many Crystal Reports users are still unaware of these, since they are offered by a dozen different vendors.  Some users get sidetracked by the “viewer” that is put out by SAP because it won’t refresh reports.  Don’t let that fool you because every viewer in my list allows you to refresh reports.

Every September I compare the features of these viewers and post the results.  This year there are 12 vendors in the review with three being added for the first time. The comparison page provides a brief introduction to each product including what sets it apart. There is also a detailed feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison like prices and the install base. I have even included a glossary of features in case you aren’t familiar with the terminology. The tools being compared for 2012 are:

Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
cView by Chelsea Technologies
RPTView by Pursuit Technology
ViewerFX by Origin Software
Crystal Kiwi Viewer by Crystal Kiwi
Report Viewer Pro by Report Viewer Limited
RV by Climate 27
Logicity Pro by SaberLogic
Report Runner Viewer by Jeff-Net
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 know what you think.

DataLink Viewer’s new ‘click’ interaction

Thursday 20 September 2012 @ 3:05 pm

I have been working with Ido Millet of Millet software to enhance one of the features in the DataLink Viewer.  One of my favorite DLV features is that it allows you to change the value of a formula at runtime with a click.  This allows the user to change a group, a sort, or do “in place drill down” where you can expand and collapse the details of a group.  But I needed to tweak this so that I could change the value in a target formula based on the name of the clicked formula. The clicked formula name becomes an input available in the calculation of the target formula.

Here is how I used it. My customers report was grouped by category, and each group footer had Continue Reading »
DataLink Viewer’s new ‘click’ interaction

Using Crystal Reprts to read a MS Windows file folder

Sunday 9 September 2012 @ 11:26 pm

This came up recently in a forum discussion and I was surprised at how many users were not aware of this.

Crystal Reports has a connection option called “File System Data” which turns any Windows file folder into a table, providing 65 fields for every file in the folder.  These fields include the common items like file name, extension, size and dates.  It also includes some that are specific to applications like the number of pages and the number of words for MS Word files.  If the file is a Crystal Report you have access to all of the  “Summary Info” fields like Title, Author, Comments, Revision Number, etc.

To use this feature create a new report and open the  Continue Reading »
Using Crystal Reprts to read a MS Windows file folder

Why is CR Splitting into two versions?

Tuesday 4 September 2012 @ 4:27 pm

One of my readers finally asked me what I thought of CR being split into two different products and which way I recommended people go.   So I guess it is finally time to say something, although even now I am not sure what to say.  When CR 2011 was released there was a parallel product released called “SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise”.  This is a version of CR that is tailored to work within the Enterprise environment.

No customers have called asking me to work or teach in this environment, so I am not ready to invest any time in it.  Also, things seem a bit fluid so I am not really sure where the chips will fall.  For a while it sounded like CR 2011 was the end of the line for ‘stand-alone’ Crystal Reports, based on statements like this from the product wiki:

“SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the foundation for all future releases of Crystal Reports.”

But this has lots of wiggle room.  I have a hard time believing that they will stop producing a stand-alone product.  Additional wording that has been added more recently seems to indicate that standalone CR will be around for a while:

“Even when we have closed the major gaps between Crystal Reports for Enterprise and Crystal Reports 2008, we will continue to deliver and support minor enhancements to the Crystal Reports 2008 / Crystal Reports 2011 line of products. This will be required as not every feature from the designer and associated SDKs will be moved into the Crystal Reports for Enterprise product line.”

So it sounds to me like there will be parallel products indefinitely. That is good because Crystal Reports for Enterprise only available to users in an in Enterprise  environment.  If that ever becomes the only way to use CR then I will start looking for another tool.  I am sure that I won’t be alone.

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