Archive for December, 2016

Putting a watermark under lines or boxes

Wednesday 28 December 2016 @ 12:04 am

Crystal will allow you to layer or superimpose images and text. Sometimes this is done intentionally using a faint image which creates a watermark effect behind the text. But if you are using lines or boxes with your text, the watermark won’t behave the same way. For some reason, text objects can be set to appear “in front of” an image or can be “moved to the back”. But Crystal lines and boxes will always appear “behind” an image. So if you put a watermark image behind a section that has both text and lines, the text can be moved to the front and will appear but the lines will always be hidden behind the image. Here are the 4 workarounds:

1) Use an empty text object with a border instead of a line or a box.
An empty text object can have a border on one side to make a line or on all four sides to make a box. And because this is not a true line or box object it will still give you the option to keep it in front of an image. The downside is that borders only come in one thickness which is thicker than the hairline people often want for their lines and boxes.

2) Put the lines and boxes in a subreport.
For some reason, if the image is in the main report and the lines/boxes are in a subreport, the lines/boxes can be kept in front of the image. Some users put both the text and the lines/boxes in the subreport. Of course subreports add another layer of complexity. And if the subreport requires a repeating query it can be a real performance killer.

3) Use an OLE object for the lines or boxes
You can add an OLE object like an Excel spreadsheet or a Word Doc, and draw your lines and boxes in the OLE document. The OLE object can be moved to be in front of the watermark image and then it will be visible.

4) Modify the image itself to include the lines and boxes.
OK, this is punting, but it works in cases where the lines and boxes are always in the same place relative to the image.

Adding comments to formulas

Friday 23 December 2016 @ 12:58 am

Most programming languages allow you to add comments in your code. This is useful to explain a calculation or to document changes. Creating these comments usually involves some special punctuation at the beginning and/or end of the comment which tells the program to skip over those lines.  There are several different syntax patterns that indicate comments and these vary by language.

In Crystal Reports formula syntax you insert a comment by adding two forward slashes [//] at the beginning of the comment. Crystal will ignore those slashes and also ignore anything to the right of the slashes for the rest of that line. This means you can add a comment in the middle of a line like this:

The {table.code} = 'abc' //code 'abc' is for special cases
then 'special'
else  ' '

Or you can start a line with two slashes and Crystal will ignore the entire line. In either case the commented text will turn green to show that Crystal recognizes the comment.

But one warning, I don’t recommend that you put any comments in the selection formulas (record or group). The reason is that the selection formulas can be rewritten by the select expert. Any time you use the select expert to change the criteria, Crystal will regenerate the selection formula from scratch and all the comments will disappear. So if you need to add a comment to the report criteria you can write that criteria in a separate formula field, and include the comments in that formula. Then you can use the formula field as part of the selection criteria.

New web portal from ChristianSteven Software

Thursday 15 December 2016 @ 10:48 pm

ChristianSteven Software has released a new web portal product in 2016 called IntelliFront BI. It can run Crystal Reports, SSRS Reports and MS Power BI dashboards.  It also allows you to create and run proprietary KPI reports and scorecards.

As a web portal, it allows users to run reports on demand.  But it can also run them automatically, either on a fixed schedule or based on data driven events. This allows you to automate business processes and workflows.

It even includes a web service API for integration with other tools and systems. The license is $50,000 which includes unlimited users, unlimited servers and unlimited cores.  They offer a free live demo for those who are interested.

ReCrystalize releases ReCrystalize Server web portal

Thursday 8 December 2016 @ 12:26 am

ReCrystalize has just released a simple web portal called ReCrystalize Server. It allows you to make your Crystal Reports available on an IIS server. Users can browse the reports which are stored in folders. They can then open and refresh the reports through their browser. ReCrystalize Server will prompt the users for any necessary parameters, or you can set up links to run reports with fixed parameters embedded within the URL.

The cost is $995 per server with an optional $500 per year for support and maintenance. For more information you can read about ReCrystalize Server on the ReCrystalize website. There is even a live demo to show you how it works.

Recrystallize Pro