Archive for January, 2014
There are many ways to deploy Crystal Reports to users. I normally lean toward the simpler and less expensive options, like locally installed viewers, or scheduled delivery of PDF output. But there are environments where a web based option is necessary. The “official” options from SAP are Crystal (Reports) Server and BO Enterprise. You can read about these on the SAP website. But there are other, less expensive products out there that many users never see. These are third party products that allow your users to view reports from a browser. You can also centrally manage your report deployment from a browser.
I have created a page on my blog that lists and compares these products, and I update it every January. This year the list includes 9 products and 2 are new this year. I have even added CR Server to the list to make it easier to compare the official product, and I have also added CSS Portal by Christian Steven. So the complete list is:
Crystal Reports Server – a traditional Web portal
Report Runner Web Portal – a traditional Web portal
CSS Portal with CRD – – a traditional Web portal
Visual Access Report Server – a traditional Web portal
Ripplestone– a traditional Web portal
RVweb – a traditional Web portal
rePORTAL – a traditional Web portal
RV for Windows Pro – a server-based viewer
Report Launch – a bridge between BO server products and server based applications
The blog page mentioned above contains a brief rundown on what each product does and provides links to all of the product web sites. I have also posted a feature matrix (xls) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices. If you have any feedback to share on these tools I would be happy to hear form you.
A few months back a user asked me if there was a way to use VLookup() in a Crystal Report. At the time, I could not think of a way. But recently Millet Software has added this ability to the CUT Light dll. CUT Light adds a number of new functions to your Crystal formula editor and this newest one is called GetXLSOutput() which allows you to tap into calculations stored in a spreadsheet.
In general, this function allows you to capture a report value and use it to fill in a specific cell in a spreadsheet. The function then checks for a value in another call in that spreadsheet and returns it to the report. Obviously, this allows the value that you bring back to be a calculation that depends on the value that you sent to the spreadsheet.
The most common scenario I see for this would be when the spreadsheet has some VLookup tables and logic. The function would allow you to tap into the logic maintained in the spreadsheet. If you come up with a clever use for this, please let me know.
I was working with a customer today, troubleshooting a report reading MAS 90. The report had a subreport at the detail level and he said that the full report could take up to 24 hours to run. I tested the subreport and found that the selection formula was not being converted into a WHERE clause in the SQL of the subreport. So every instance of the subreport (thousands) had to do a serial read of the entire table. The subreport seemed pretty simple so my first approach was to recreate it and test it as a stand alone report. It took only a few seconds to run and I could see the WHERE clause in the SQL. But as soon as I inserted the new version to replace the existing subreport the SQL would no longer generate a WHERE clause.
So then I studied the relationship between the main and the subreport. I found it was possible to Continue Reading »
Subreports in a Sage/Mas environment
Would like to click “print” and have each page of a report automatically E-mailed to a specific person? If so, you should take a look at PDF-eXPLODE. Normally I talk about Email “bursting” when I review scheduling tools, but PDF-eXPLODE takes a different approach. It installs as a printer driver and all you have to do is “print” the output to PDF-eXPLODE. PDF-eXPLODE will then burst the report into individualized PDF documents and email each page to the Email address on that page. It only takes a few tweaks to the report to make the bursting work.
And, because PDF-eXPLODE behaves like a printer, the report can be run in Crystal or in any software that can run reports. This makes it easy to use PDF-eXPLODE with enterprise software running embedded reports. Often these reports can’t be run outside of their environment, which means you may not be able to use a desktop scheduler for bursting. But these reports can still be printed and Emailed out through PDF-eXPLODE.
To help promote the newly released PDF-eXPLODE v4, 3000AD SYSTEMS is offering a $100 discount on each desktop license or single-user terminal server license. You can get up to $200 off for 3 or more users in terminal server or CR Server environments. To claim your discount use the promo code “HAMADY”, which is valid through 3/31.