Archive for November, 2021
I recently helped a new user who wanted to purchase Crystal Reports, but wasn’t sure what product(s) to buy. He had read about a server component, a ‘developer’ component and a viewer, but wasn’t sure what the names were or which he needed. The SAP website didn’t clear things up for him.
“I saw an architecture diagram that broke it into tiers, but that did not help.”
This isn’t the first time I have had this type of question, and I thought my response might help other users.
There are three levels in the Crystal product line (four if you count the Business Objects Enterprise level) but most users only need one, SAP Crystal Reports. That is all I use. Here is the main product page. This is often called the Report Designer or the Developer, but the official name is SAP Crystal Reports. It is the only product that lets you create a Crystal Report.
You can currently buy 2 different editions:
If you get a free trial from the product page I think you will get 2020, but if you buy it you can choose either edition. I currently use 2016 because the 64-bit product is relatively new. I also use lots of third party tools that aren’t ready to jump to 64-bit and I don’t want to leave them behind.
The other products are Crystal Server and SAP Crystal Reports Viewer. Crystal server is a web portal that lets people run the reports from their browser. But, you still have to create them in Crystal Reports and then publish them to the portal. This product can get quite expensive.
The Crystal Reports Viewer is free but is pretty much useless in my opinion. It lets you open reports, but only those that are saved with data. You can’t refresh reports unless you are logged into CR Server. There are plenty of inexpensive third-party viewers out there so not many of my customers bother with the SAP Viewer. Here is a list of the ones I review each year.
If you have any questions about the Crystal Reports product line, let me know and I will try to help.
I create reports for several customers who use Raiser’s Edge donor management software. One of my customers shared this note from BlackBaud that went out today:
“On December 15, 2021, we will no longer support the ability to create or edit custom reports using Crystal Reports directly within any Blackbaud solution. Users will still be able to view historical reports and export file formats that work with Crystal Reports.”
I expect many Raiser’s Edge users to be looking for alternative solutions:
Since the users can no longer run reports from within RE, they are going to probably need locally installed viewers to run their reports. Follow this link to my annual review of the currently available viewers.
Also, RE will no longer provide a way to automatically run Crystal Reports on a scheduled basis. Organizations will need a tool that can Export, print or Email Crystal reports automatically. Follow these links to my reviews of desktop based schedulers and server based schedulers.
If you need help selecting or deploying a viewer or a scheduler, give me a call.
Note, there are actually some advantages to running reports outside of the RE engine. For instance, you can use multiple instances of the same table (alias), you can use SQL commands and you can have a report that is wider than legal landscape. None of these were possible when you wanted to run a report within RE.
For the past few weeks several customers have need help with registry changes. So I have spent lots of time referring to a document that SAP has posted on their web site. It shows all the registry keys for Crystal Reports. I wrote about it in my blog. When I need the link I search my blog to find the article that has the link.
Today I went to check that same document and I found that it was just a ‘preview’ of the article. The full article was part of the SAP (password protected) support portal. This change must have happened in the past few days. Fortunately I have an old (free) User ID and password. I logged in and I could read (and download) the full registry key document. It was a minor hassle.
Then I tried to pull up a related article on editing the registry. Again I was shown just a ‘preview’ of the article. This time my credentials didn’t get me to the full article. I was given a second login screen and my credentials were rejected. SAP may be starting to restrict access to certain support materials.
I tried a variation of the second URL and got this message:
You are signed in with a P-user ID.
Visitors with an S-user ID will benefit from more tools and enhanced functionality.
According to this SAP Article, S-user IDs are provided to those who have an active support contract. P-User IDs are for the public and for partners.
If you anyone notices any other content that moves from free access to paid-only access, please let me know.