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Crystal Reports XI vs R&R dynamic parameter passing

Posted on 2006-04-26
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
Does Crystal Reports have a concept similar to R&R runtime that can run reports through control tables?

For anybody who is not familiar with R&R, then I mean that you can run multiple Crystal reports with dynamic parameters passed from a database table (called a control table in R&R) with field values passed as parameters? I need to be able to get my application to process the table in record order, launching a report with different parameters for each record. I have already achieved this in R&R, but due to problems with R&R not being able to operate with my native database driver (Advantage Database Server), I'm wondering if I can do this with Crystal that does indeed have an Advantage database driver?

An example of the type of parameters that are passed are:

(Please read as FIELD = VALUE)

RI_REPORT = MYREPORT.RRW
RI_SCOPE = TRUE
RI_MASTER = RESULTS.DBF
RI_WPTR = TRUE
TRAY = 3
CLIENTCODE = A0001

Where RI_REPORT is the name of the report being run. RI_SCOPE will override any scope saved with the report. RI_MASTER can override the master table saved with the report. RI_WPTR is used to determine whether to print to pdf file (true) or direct to printer (false). TRAY is the tray number to print from where a printer has multiple bins. CLIENTCODE can be passed as a dynamic parameter used in the report's query.

For any hardened R&R fans, please excuse the politcal correctness of some of my parameters. They are merely illustrative.

This is likely to be a fairly tough question, so good points being awarded to someone that knows or who can suggest a good Crystal solution.
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Question by:limsman
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Expert Comment

by:gopatinc
ID: 16545857
Crystal (Server and Reports) does not have the capability you need (Report bursting). There are other tools like R&R which work well with crystal.
One of them is CRD (Crystal Reports Distributor http://www.christiansteven.com/main_alt.htm). There are other tools on the market as well but am not aware of how well they perform or how they compare to CRD.
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Author Comment

by:limsman
ID: 16548535
Thanks gopatinc. This looks like a very good mass reporting app, although I'm not sure it would serve our purpose. The lowest priced version that could be used at present are the Enterprise editions which are very costly and still limiting to the number of users allowed and really, the app is just doing what my application does (report bursting as you rightly say) except that my licence is unlimited. I was really hoping that if Crystal didn't support this feature, to have something that could be "plugged into" a development environment such as a Delphi VCL component to give full application control and be unrestrictive. It does make me ponder that if CRD can interface so closely with Crystal, whether they have some kind of SDK from Business Objects or some other software interfacing agreement with them? They must have found some way to run reports dynamically from within CRD?

Thanks again for your valued contribution. I shall leave this question open for a few more days for any further comments before awarding points.
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Expert Comment

by:mlmcc
ID: 16549592
You probably could write an application to do the processing and calling of the reports.

As gopatinc stated Crystal doesn't have the ability to do what you want.

mlmcc
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Accepted Solution

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Ido Millet earned 2000 total points
ID: 16549905
Yes, a Crystal Developer license gets you an api that allows you to call Crystal reports, pass parameters to them, export, print, etc.

A list of 3rd-party Crystal report managers is at: http://www.kenhamady.com/bookmarks.html
Some of these tools are cheaper or even free and some provide a command line interface so you can use them as a balck box from within your application.

At least one of these tools can burst your report in a single pass so that all selected client codes are printed or exported to individual destinations without a need to request processing for each one separately.

By the way, R&R used to be my favorite report generator for many years...  :o)

- Ido  
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Author Comment

by:limsman
ID: 16556113
IdoMillet,
Thanks for your comments. This has been very helpful and answers my main question. The Crystal Developer API may be what I would need to have complete control through my application. We would have to buy a Crystal package anyway to develop all the reports (of which there are hundreds). However, I was also interested in these two command line products:

http://www.crystaldesk.com/products.htm
http://www.milletsoftware.com/datalinkBenefit.htm

The Millet Software DataLink Viewer is your own creation I believe? I presume then from what it states on your Key Benefits page, that it would probably work in conjunction with my application? That is, the commands and parameters could be added to each record in a table and then sequentially processed and executed through a WinExec API call to produce printed and pdf reports without any further interaction required by the end users? This is really what I must achieve to make my app successful if I was to go the Crystal route.
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