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GDKnight

Crystal Reports - What is it?

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_DarkWIng_    602
They are used mostly for creating nice reports usually used for printing on either normal paper of directly into forms (like bills, cheques or things like that). They get their data mainly form database(stored procedures)/datasets or even local objects.

Someone using them on dally bases could explain a bit better (I only work with them from time to time)

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Metorical    580
Some of our customers use Crystal Reports. Although I don't know much about them I can tell you this:

We ship a number of stored procedures with each service for Crystal Reports. With this a customer running crystal reports can log on to the data server (Sybase in this case) and query the static data.

I think the best way to think of it is DBASE -> Formatted Report in one step.

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http://www.crystalreports.com/

Way back when CR started just as WYSIWYG report designer/engine. IIRC, Version 4 or 5 actually came with Visual Basic at that time. Then they merged with BO and provide a whole suite of reporting and analytical tools. Like the others have said though, good ole CR is probably the industry standard way of making reports from data stored in various DBs.

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cmptrgear    306
It is an evil program that is designed to test how long your patience is by monitoring how long you use it before getting the urge to throw it out the window. Theoretically it is a program designed to easily create reports based off of large amounts of data, for example data in a database or a flat file.

My beef with it is that I was using it for work to generate some report templates that our customers could use. I was fetching data from a database for the reports and had a somewhat complex SQL query that was capable of retrieving the exact records that I needed. Unfortunately Crystal Reports only handles fairly simple SQL queries. So instead I had to fetch almost all of the data in the table and then use their special SQLesque syntax to parse the data and fetch the relevant results.

I hope I never have to use that crappy program again for the rest of my working life.

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cmp,
CR definitely has it's problems. My usual solution to the problem you're running into is to use stored procedures. That way the sql is encapsulated in the rdbms and not buried inside the report. If you have time and want to replace CR look into xml/xslt-fo and apache fop. Not the easiest thing to work with, but worked well in a CR replacement project I did once.

Another thing is if you are querying large amounts of data, many times it makes sense to have aggregate tables that get populated hourly or daily. This can not only make reporting simpler but much quicker. The main reason behind this is that a full normalized database is usually what you want for a running system, but it's not usually the best thing for running reports off of. That's why you see many production systems dump into a data warehouse which is usually a bit denormalized to speed up and simplify access.

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