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?

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