Overall Satisfaction with SAP Crystal Reports
We use Crystal Reports in the custom software applications we write for our clients as well as for our internal software development projects. We also have clients which we'll go on-site at their office and help with report modifications and/or training if needed.
- It can connect to just about any database. Most of the time we connect to SQL Server, but we do have clients that connect to other databases such as Progress SQL. We originally started using it way back in the FoxPro days. Yes it connected to that too!
- Crystal is great at adding sub-reports. You will come across a time where data just does not relate well with other data. A sub-report comes in handy in those situations and can be inserted pretty much anywhere in your main report.
- Calculated fields are another big plus. They can be very simple or as complex as you need them to be. I really haven't found anything that Crystal Reports cannot do as far as formulas go and there is a "Crystal" syntax or VB syntax which you can pick from.
- When you're in the formula editor, the way it displays the syntax for the different formals could be better. They're a little cryptic. Maybe adding an example or two would help there.
- Sometimes I find myself Googling quite a bit to find out how to do some of the more complicated things. So I actually started using OneNote to track examples of how to do some of the things that are not very intuitive such as shared variables.
- One thing that could be much better is cancelling out of a long running report. There should be a way just to "kill" it instantly without having to wait. On some of my longer running reports, you can try to stop it, but it still ends up taking a long time to return control to the user.
- Crystal tries to use indexes where it can, but it would be nice if it could tell you exactly which indexes it uses. On some long running reports, you kind of have to "play" around with different things to get a report to run faster. If it had a feature where it could tell you what's slowing down the report, that would be helpful.
Well I've been using Crystal for many many years and to be honest I'm just more comfortable with it. Crystal has been around since the FoxPro days and has continued to evolve as technology has. It worked with FoxPro, then Visual Basic 6 and now C# and VB.Net. It has been working with Visual Studio since it first came out and is just more robust and has many more features than it's competitors.
I have never found anything that Crystal Reports couldn't accomplish. Depending on your skill level, you can make very simple reports or if you're more advanced, very complicated ones. It will do just about anything as far as reporting goes and it can export out to Excel, PDF or other file formats.