Archive for June, 2014

Formula failures without error messages

Saturday 28 June 2014 @ 7:21 am

I cleared up a mystery today, one that I thought was just a Crystal glitch. It explains why Crystal formulas sometimes fail without an error message to describe the problem. We are not talking about invalid formulas. An invalid formula generates an error when you save it. We are talking about a formula that fails only when the report is run and it finds data that it can’t process. For example, a formula that divides one field by another is valid, but will fail if the denominator field has a value of zero.  A formula that converts characters from a string field into a date will also fail if the characters don’t make up a valid date. Both of these failures would normally pop up an error message.  So what does it mean when it doesn’t?

Take an example where formula A is used inside formula B, and then formula B is in turn used inside formula C. If formula A fails then Continue Reading »
Formula failures without error messages

Add a blank section, and the totals change?

Friday 20 June 2014 @ 10:13 pm

A customer sent me a report today with an unusual behavior. There was a total on the report and the problem was that the total would change when she unsuppressed a details section and change back when she re-suppressed the details. Even adding a blank details section made the total change.

At first I figured she had to be mistaken. I could think of no way that suppressing a section or splitting a section could have an effect on totals. But as I thought about it I realized there was one one obscure way. Both of the changes she mentioned could change the number of pages. And there is one way that adding pages can affect totals.

There is a property in the Continue Reading »
Add a blank section, and the totals change?

Source Code for RPT management software for sale

Saturday 14 June 2014 @ 10:27 pm

Cortex systems has two software packages that allow you to manage your RPT files. They are:

Report Analyzer – Allows you to search, cross-reference and document your reports
Object Compare – Finds all the differences between two objects, including RPT files and several other object types.

The developers at Cortex are changing their focus and are interested in selling the source code and IP for these two products. Anyone interested in finding out more can Email

Crystal Reports for Enterprise

Saturday 14 June 2014 @ 12:18 pm

I recently met with a customer to discuss a project using Crystal Reports for Enterprise.  This is the first time a customer has called about this product, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been in a hurry to experiment with it.  Another reason is that it is only available within BO Enterprise. To experiment with it on my own would require configuring an Enterprise environment, including a Web Server and getting some data configured within Enterprise.  Last, SAP is still in the process of incorporating all of CR’s features into this version, so it is a work in progress.  The longer I put it off, the more complete it would be.  For instance, support for subreports was added with the last release (4.1). But SAP has said that eventually this will be the only version of CR.  If they make good on that I will have to migrate some day.

So, during the meeting I was able to check out a few of the standard feature windows, like the group expert and the section expert.  I found that most Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports for Enterprise

Crystal Reports and dashboards

Wednesday 4 June 2014 @ 11:01 pm

My daughter always wants to try whatever the grownups are eating. When she was very young she saw my wife eating something new and blurted out:

“I want summa dat … wad is dat?”

We still laugh about that. And I often remember that when people call me about dashboards. They tell me they need a dashboard, and then they make it clear that they don’t really know what a dashboard is. Often, someone higher up has heard the buzzword or seen something flashy on a web site and decides that they want “summa dat”.

So lets start with a definition of a dashboard. According to the dashboard specialists at ExcelDashboardWidgets, a dashboard is a report that:

1) Fits on a single page or screen
2) Is graphical and easy to read
3) Shows Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
4) Shows the current status in real time*.

Of course, “real time” varies based on the need. In a manufacturing plant “real time” might mean Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports and dashboards

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