Archive for January, 2018
I was looking for a list of the tables and fields in SAP B1 and found a great site:
The person that maintains this site also maintains a similar site for the JD Edwards application
So while I was at it I thought I would see if anyone had done something similar for Great Plains. I found a few sites.
This type of information is usually available directly from the vendor, but often those resources are restricted to licensed users with a support account. The sites above are open to the public. If you know of has a similar site for another application, let me know and I will add it here.
I often work with large and complex reports. Sometimes making a minor change can have unexpected consequences. I like to be able to see that the only things that changed are the things I intended to change. If the report is long or dense it can be a challenge to identify changes. But I recently worked out a relatively simple way to identify all of the values on a report that have changed as the result of my formula changes. I use the “compare” add-on in NotePadd ++.
So the first thing I do is refresh the ‘before’ report so I know that I have up to the minute data. Then I export the entire report into TXT format, creating the file before.txt. Then I make my change(s) and export the entire report a second time into TXT format, creating the file after.txt. Now I open these two files in open NotePad++ and run a compare. All of the differences will be highlighted and it is easy to see all the changes.
For example, one of my upcoming assignments is to simplify the formulas in a complex report without changing the output. So my plan is to use this method after each round of changes. Since nothing should be different, any changes I find in the compare process will be a sign of a mistake.
If you haven’t tried NP++ (which is free) you can read more about it here, including the best place to download it (see update below).
Update – I just tried to install NP++ for a customer and I couldn’t add the Compare plugin because the plugin manager was completely missing. After some research I found that the developer of the plugin manager module added a sponsorship image (an ad) and so the plugin manager is no longer included in new downloads. If you already have the plugin manager upgrades will not affect you, since this only affects new installs. The developer of NP++ is working on a replacement plugin manager.
Since Ninite always installs the latest version I recommend that, for now, you download NP++ version 7.4.2 directly from the NP++ site. This was the last version that came with the plugin manager. It should automatically update itself to the latest version of NP++.
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. But there are other, less expensive products out there that also web delivery of Crystal Reports. These third party products allow your users to run and 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 features 10 products, one of which is new since last January:
Crystal Reports Server – a traditional Web portal
Report Runner Web Portal – a traditional Web portal
IntelliFront BI – a traditional Web portal
Ripplestone – a traditional Web portal
rePORTAL CR – a traditional Web portal
Bezlio – a SaaS Web viewer
ReCrystallize Pro – a launch page generator for the web
ReCrystallize Server – a server-based web viewer
Report Launch – a bridge between BO server products and server based applications
RapidStack – Web Portal service built around Business Objects Enterprise
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 (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices. This year there are several new lines in the matrix. They show which tools encrypt credentials, provide system monitoring and allow you to launch reports from an external URL. If you have any feedback to share on these tools I would be happy to hear from you.
I do lots of work using GoToMeeting and often the screen I see is reduced in size, making things hard to read. It can be frustrating when trying to highlight a word without including characters on either side. So I have developed the habit of using double-clicks to select words. I find that not everyone knows this trick.
When selecting normal text, like in MS Word or in a browser, you can double click on a word to select the entire word. In many applications the word selected also includes an extra space on the end. This allows you to move the word to another part of the sentence without having to add and delete spaces. (In a few applications you can even use a triple-click, which selects an entire paragraph. This works in most browsers and MS Word and Wordpad. )
I also use double-clicks when working in the Crystal Reports formula editor. If you double-click on literal word (within quotes), Crystal will select that word (but no trailing spaces). If you double click inside a field name Crystal will select either the table name (before the period) or the field name (after the period). If you double-click on the name of a variable or function, Crystal will select that name with no spaces.
I find this very helpful when copying and pasting values.
I also use Notepad++ to write both Crystal formulas and SQL commands. When you double click a word in Notepad++ it not only selects that word and highlights it; it also highlights every other instance of that word in the document. This makes it easy to see where a specific table, field or value is being used.