Friday, November 10, 2006

IQMS User Group Meeting - Crystal Reports

The morning sessions on Thursday, November 9th, 2006 started with a Microsoft presentation on FRx report writer. Although we use this report writer for financial statements and other financial reports at Pano Cap, the session didn't give us anything new to digest.

The next session was given by Tina Jolicoeur and Danielle Fresca of IQMS and was far more useful. This part year has been a tough one for both IQMS and users of IQMS software products insofar as printing of Crystal Reports is concerned. Incompatibilities with .NET printing, illegal 2-table links, and miscellaneous display problems all surfaced in September 2005 and took until December for IQMS support technicians to put to bed. Most of the problems were with Crystal 8.5 and 9.0, but were left with IQMS technicians to resolve.

Crystal XI had its own set of issues. .NET printing required a reinstallation of each client workstation. There were new parameter settings for LAN administrators to use both at the global and workstation levels in EnterpriseIQ. Crystal report designers were faced with a default setting which turned on smart linking, a ridiculous feature which broke all the carefully designed table links in existing reports. And many other things.

All were addressed in this session by the IQMS presenters.

Moving on to new features related to Crystal reports in the highly anticipated 9/15 release were things like cascading dynamic parameters, a new reports catalog accessible from the main menu and a reports execution log to track which reports have been run by individual users.

We at Pano will have to start planning our move to Crystal XI, since neither 8.5 nor 9.0 are supported any longer by Business Objects. Melissa Johnson of IQMS is designing all new reports using Crystal XI and the future of printing in the IQMS environment (if not everywhere in the enterprise) will involve .NET printing, so it's time to move on, even if that means retiring printers.

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