Friday, September 17, 2010

Are Application Client Containers ever used?

Has anybody actually ever used Application Client Containers?
The only examples I've ever seen have been have been trivial examples involving a single class that does everything.

We've been investigating using this for some new software but everytime i hit a problem I feel like I'm going down the rabbit hole.

Just setting the client up to work with the EJB backend is an absolute mission, requiring copy and erroring from various web sites and tutorials in order to get things working.
And then when you try and pull the client onto a seperate computer from yout application server everything falls apart again!

I'm starting to think that Application Client Containers have very little real world usage, and that everybody is communicating via web services or their own proprietary protocols.

But maybe I've gone down the rabbit hole and haven't emerged from the other side yet?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Archaic Crystal Reports 2008

So you're happily creating reports for your users, no mess no fuss.

All of a sudden it breaks. Not in the literal black smoke way but more in the espionage agent got into your software way. Your output is all over the place - some lines overwrite others, some just disappear, in short the output is garbled.

I spent ages pondering what could actually be the problem, I mean this stuff was working correctly at other client sights. Was it Windows 7, an update to Dot Net, well whatever the problem is the latest Crystal Reports service pack will fix it... yeah right.

The problem is this - Crystal Reports 2008 (And all versions prior to that)  rely on the printer driver to generate their output. That is truly archaic.
Now in the event that you don't think that is such a big deal (stop being an idiot and set the default printer to one that you know works... duh) there are some lurking issues.
Windows comes preinstalled with this thing called the 'Microsoft XPS Document Writer' which is by default your default printer.
Any guesses as to what happens when this is set to your default printer and you try and generate reports? The KGB agent sneaks into the generation process is what...

Right so then you remove the offending printer from that machine - all sorted, right?
Well no. You see if you remote desktop onto that computer that is generating the reports, your default printer becomes that machines default printer.
So if your default printer is the Microsoft XPS document Writer you will eventually spot the issue, however if like any other sane person out there you actually have a real printer then everything looks like its running perfectly and you curse the clients for their stupidity.

I say it again Crystal Reports is archaic!

Does anybody know of a way to convert crystal report files to any other reporting software?