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The Crystal Reports Underground News - Volume 2005.08 (Aug 2005)
an independent source for Crystal Reports Information by Ken Hamady

Contents for August, 2005:

** The Expert's Guide to Totals in Crystal Reports
** Crystal Reports Server XI for Linux
** Security Vulnerability for XI Web Deployments
** September Classes in Frederick and On-Site Classes
** Updates on the "Don't Pay Twice" campaign:
   *BO official response contradicts Dan Klein's letter
   *Article in ITBusiness.ca
   *OEM classes to be targeted next
   *Crystal Experts weigh in at Tek-Tips.com
** Free Mailing Label templates from WorldLabel
** Business Objects conference in November
** No way to default TODAY for XI date parameters
** Formula for finding the first and last day of a month
** Read back issues at http://www.kenhamady.com/news.html

The Expert's Guide to Totals in Crystal Reports:

Many of you have purchased items from my "Expert" series.  This month I have added - "The Expert's Guide to Totals".  There are several different methods for creating totals and many users paint themselves into a corner by using the wrong method.  This guide explains each method, when it should be used and why.  Each lesson includes example reports and exercises that walk you through each step.  Also included are several relevant articles on totals from my "Expert Techniques for Crystal Reports".  The cost is only $24 and it can be downloaded immediately after purchase.  See the LIBRARY page on my web site for more information.

Crystal Reports Server XI available for Linux:

Last Summer I reported that Crystal Enterprise for Linux was in Beta.  It was supposed to be released last year but if it was I didn't know about it.  This week I found an article in InfoWorld that gives the official release of both BO Enterprise XI and CR Server XI for RedHat Linux and Suse Linux.  To read articles about this see the LIBRARY page of my web site.

I am a strong believer in the value of open source software and applaud this move by BO.  However, I find it ironic that Business Objects is embracing open source platforms while simultaneously taking one of the most aggressive licensing positions in the software industry.

One note of caution.  You can deploy CR Server on Linux but Crystal Reports itself, as far as I can see, must still be run on a Windows box.  CR Server comes with one Crystal Reports license but it seems that you would still need a Windows box to install this license and create the reports.  If anyone wants to share a Linux implementation experience please let me know. 


Another Security Vulnerability for XI Web Deployments:

Hopefully you already know this but in June BO announced a security vulnerability for XI web products.  In short, the vulnerability could allow someone to launch Denial of Service attacks from your server.  There is a patch available from BO's website.  See the LINK near the bottom of my LINKS page.


Expert On-site Training / Classes in Frederick:

My specialty is teaching Crystal Reports at your office, with your data.  And I charge by day, not by student.  So, if you have 4 or more students you may find the cost of an on-site class less than the cost of sending the same students to a public class.  Even if you have fewer students you might find the benefits of working with your own data worthwhile.    

If you only have one or two students you can come to my public classes in Frederick, MD.  See the "Public Classes" page on my web site for dates and details.

How good are my classes?  I have personally taught over 2,000 satisfied students.  Here is the feedback I received from my July class for DHL:

"Thanks so much for your training - we are already seeing improved productivity from learning better and correct ways of designing reports!!  It was a very practical course ... especially since you were able to so quickly adapt and use our data!!" FS - DHL

For more information you can call me at (540) 338-0194.


Updates on the "Don't Pay Twice" campaign:

A)  BO official response contradicts the letter from Dan Klein
B)  ITBusiness.ca writes an article highlighting negative user feedback
C)  BO gives indications that specialized OEM classes will also be targeted
D)  Other Crystal experts weigh in on this topic in Tek-Tips.

For details on all of these updates go to:
   http://www.kenhamady.com/licensingissues.html


Free Mailing Label Templates from WorldLabel:

If you have to configure a Crystal report to print mailing labels you might want to visit WorldLabel.com.  They have a page of template reports that you can use to print many standard label sizes.  Of course, the template reports do not read your data.  They read a sample database provided with each template.  However, you can set the location of the report to be your tables, or you can simply use the settings and measurements as a guide when setting up your report.

And, if you are a heavy label user you might want to have WorldLabel send you some free label samples.  Labels are usually a high markup item, and WorldLabel prices are about half of the Avery cost. 


Business Objects conference in November:

And for those of you who want a larger gathering, Business Objects has announced their annual conference called Insight.  It is to be held November 6-9, 2005 in Orlando.  Those of you who have attended CDUGNA may be disappointed, though.  CDUGNA was an independent organization so their speaker list did not need to be approved by BO.  I have already heard from some of the most popular CDUGNA speakers who have either been turned down by the selection committee or have simply been turned off by the conference structure.  You will also find less Crystal content in Insight then you would at CDUGNA since it is a broad Business Objects conference.

I am not currently planning on going but I always like to hear from attendees to get their feedback.  If you have gone in the past to a Business Objects conference, or are planning on going this year, I would like to hear from you.


No way to Default TODAY in in XI Date Parameters:

It seems that every month I discover something else that we lost with XI.  This month I heard from David Leland with Kadant Johnson.  He asked me how to get a date parameter to default to today in XI like it does in all prior versions.  Sure enough it can't be done.  To get today you either have to type it in (in yyyy-mm-dd format) or open the calendar control. 

In testing this I also discovered a way to make the calendar fail.  If you have XI try this little test.  Refresh a report with a single date parameter.  When the prompt comes up open the calendar control window and then click the "Cancel" button without closing the calendar.  It should take you back to the design screen.  Now click refresh again to get back to the parameter window and try opening the calendar control a second time.  It won't appear.  If you switch windows you can see the calendar control window which stayed open the whole time but was hidden.  You will also see some ugly error messages.  This probably wasn't intentional behavior.


Formula for the first and last day of a month:

Calculating the first of a target month is done differently depending on whether the target month is the current month or the month of a date field.  If you are looking for the current month you can use:
  
   Minimum ( MonthToDate )

This will give you the first day of the current month in any report.  Not everyone realizes this but you can take the Minimum or Maximum of any one of the 27 date range functions Crystal provides.  However, if the date is a database field, a formula or a parameter you need a different syntax.  I use:

   {Table.Date} - Day ( {Table.Date} ) + 1

The {Table.Date} field can be replaced with any Date value.  If your field is a DateTime value you can add the DATE() function around the whole calculation to strip off the time:

   DATE ( {Table.Date} - Day ( {Table.Date} ) + 1  )


Finding the last day of a month can be done several ways but I think the one below is the simplest.  It can be used with any date value including the CurrentDate function: 

   DateAdd ('m' , 1 , {Orders.Order Date} - day({Orders.Order Date}) + 1) - 1

You will notice that the first formula is used within this one.  I find the first of the target month, then use DateAdd to add one month and find the first of the following month.  Finally I subtract 1 day to get the last day of the month. Note that DateAdd always returns a DateTime value.  As above, you can use the DATE() function around this formula to strip off the time. 

These calculations are especially handy when you need rolling date columns that are all derived from a parameter date.  By adding and subtracting more months you can calculate the first and last date of a whole range of months. 


Contact Information:

Ken Hamady, MS
525K East Market St. 
PMB 299
Leesburg, VA 20176
(540) 338-0194
ken@kenhamady.com
http://www.kenhamady.com

Copyright 2005 by Ken Hamady
All rights reserved - Republishing this material requires written permission