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ReportSmith vs. Crystal Reports

For my app (Delphi 1.0), I will have to create a considerable number
of reports. I'm not sure whether I should use ReportSmith (which comes
with Delphi), or whether I should rather use Crystal Reports instead.
QuickReports seems a bit too limited to me.

If you have any information or experience with one or the other (or
both !) of these products, I would very much appreciate your comments.

A bunch of questions came to my mind when thinking about what
capabilities I would like to have in the reporting tool. If you have
any input on one or several of my questions, please let me know.

1) suitability for complex reports, power, flexibility

2) limitations

3) ease of report creation (for developers)

4) ease of report creation for end users who need to create their own
reports. How difficult will it be for someone with no
software-specific skills to create reports ?

5) In Delphi you can pass variables to ReportSmith. Is it also
possible to pass variables to Crystal Reports ?

6) Support for derived fields. Can they be used for record selection
and grouping ?

7) Can "empty" lines (lines in which all fields are empty) be
suppressed ?

8) Is it possible to do sums and other evaluations for various levels
of grouping in the same report  (for instance sum per day / per month
/ per year) ?

9) Is there any support to do print previews at runtime ? (a previewer
with zoom and pan would be nice...)

10) Is it possible to do outputs to files ?

11) Is it possible to create output files in Microsoft Word format
(and maybe other popular formats). Can this be automated from within
Delphi ?

12) What about load-time performance, speed ??

13) What's the distribution size of Crystal Reports ?
 (ReportSmith 2.52 is 5 diskettes, I think)

Thanks

Thomas

(101615.1...@compuserve.com)

 

Re:ReportSmith vs. Crystal Reports


Hi Thomas,

I use ReportSmith. I've only done a couple of projects with it,
but I'll tell you what I know so far! ALSO, I would like to see results
you get from others...

Quote
> For my app (Delphi 1.0), I will have to create a considerable number
> of reports. I'm not sure whether I should use ReportSmith (which comes
> with Delphi), or whether I should rather use Crystal Reports instead.
> QuickReports seems a bit too limited to me.

One limit in QuickReports I can't live with is the inability to
print a long TEdit field in multiple lines. This is supposed to
be fixed in a later release (after 1.0d) but I don't know when.

Quote
> 1) suitability for complex reports, power, flexibility
> ReportSmith appears to be quite powerful and can handle "complex"

reports. You can build master/detail reports with multiple detail
sections. It allows report variables and user-defined fields
("derived fields"). Derived fields can be used in most (not all)
contexts that existing fields are used. Derived fields can be
defined with SQL or Macros (macros are written in ReportBasic).
Macros can also be defined to execute on a variety of events
(much like methods for form controls in Delphi).

Quote
> 2) limitations
> Normally you can pass report variables from Delphi. However,

if you have more than one detail definition in a master/detail
report (e.g., given a master record, you have two detail lists
taken from two different tables such as invoice items and payments)
you can't programmatically pass a variable to the second detail.
This is because ReportSmith implements it as a separate "subreport"
which you can't seem to "get to" from the outside.

Quote
> 3) ease of report creation (for developers)
> Straight-forward, but not necessarily "easy". Like programming

in Delphi: some stuff is documented, some isn't.

Quote
> 4) ease of report creation for end users who need to create their own
> reports. How difficult will it be for someone with no
> software-specific skills to create reports ?
> You have to license ReportSmith designer for end users. The run-time

version which you are free to distribute does not allow user-alterable
reports.

However, if you limit the changes an end user is allowed to do, you
could probably implement them programmatically (e.g., fixed field label
names, some field sizes and properties, etc). However, you cannot do
it "interactively" right on the report without the designer.

Quote
> 5) In Delphi you can pass variables to ReportSmith. Is it also
> possible to pass variables to Crystal Reports ?
> Yes to ReportSmith. DOn't know about Crystal Reports.
> 6) Support for derived fields. Can they be used for record selection
> and grouping ?
> Derived fields are supported (SQL and macro). Not sure about the record

selection and grouping (haven't tried it).

Quote
> 7) Can "empty" lines (lines in which all fields are empty) be
> suppressed ?
> Yes, by defining a macro based derived field which bundles the fields you

want to "squish" together as a single multi-line field. (e.g., define
a "NameAddress" field containing First,Last names, address1, address2,
city, state, zip, etc).

Quote
> 8) Is it possible to do sums and other evaluations for various levels
> of grouping in the same report  (for instance sum per day / per month
> / per year) ?
> Yes.
> 9) Is there any support to do print previews at runtime ? (a previewer
> with zoom and pan would be nice...)
> Yes, this is supported by ReportSmith run-time. Can be selected

programmatically from Delphi.

Quote
> 10) Is it possible to do outputs to files ?
> Yes.
> 11) Is it possible to create output files in Microsoft Word format
> (and maybe other popular formats). Can this be automated from within
> Delphi ?
> I don't think Word format is supported. Not sure what formats they do

off hand (haven't tried it).

Quote
> 12) What about load-time performance, speed ??
> Average. On a medium-weight Pentium class machine it's not horrible.

I find it quite acceptable.

Quote
> 13) What's the distribution size of Crystal Reports ?
>  (ReportSmith 2.52 is 5 diskettes, I think)
> ReportSmith is not that bad. I have an application which is about 800KB

that requires BDE and ReportSMith. All together they use 4 diskettes.
OH, sorry, but thats 32-bit land (which splits out only what you need).
I think with Delphi 1.0 the standard approach is to ship your product,
BDE, and ReportSmith all on separate disk sets. IN this case your whole
distribution set is the sum of (1) however many diskettes needed for your
app, (2) three diskettes for BDE 16-bit, and (3) ReportSMith Runtime (one
or two diskettes?). You can check the license to see if it allows you to
distribute only portions of these. You probably only need a fraction of
what they contain.

--
Mark Bratcher
Mark_Bratc...@xn.xerox.com
-----------------------------------------------------------
THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
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The opinions I express on this newsgroup are my own and not
necessarily those of the company I currently work for.
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Re:ReportSmith vs. Crystal Reports


On Tue, 20 Aug 1996 16:38:44 GMT, m...@spectraweb.ch (Thomas Marti)
wrote:

Quote
>For my app (Delphi 1.0), I will have to create a considerable number
>of reports. I'm not sure whether I should use ReportSmith (which comes
>with Delphi), or whether I should rather use Crystal Reports instead.
>QuickReports seems a bit too limited to me.

>If you have any information or experience with one or the other (or
>both !) of these products, I would very much appreciate your comments.

I found RS far too slow so I have been using CR 4.5 for about 8
months.  My knowledge of RS is limited as I gave up on it fairly
quickly.

Quote
>A bunch of questions came to my mind when thinking about what
>capabilities I would like to have in the reporting tool. If you have
>any input on one or several of my questions, please let me know.

>1) suitability for complex reports, power, flexibility

CR is pretty good, but not as good as MS Access.  From memory CR, RS
are much of a muchness.  CR 5 looks much, much better.

Quote

>2) limitations

I haven't run into too many major limitations with CR.  The main one I
can think of is tha it doesn't allow you to write your own sql
queries.  Oh and strings are a maximum of 256 chars.  (don't know if
this has been changed in v5 or not.  And there is no block alignment
setting for memo fields.  None of these have cased me too much
agravation.

Quote

>3) ease of report creation (for developers)

CR is good here.

Quote
>4) ease of report creation for end users who need to create their own
>reports. How difficult will it be for someone with no
>software-specific skills to create reports ?

Simple reports are fairly easy to create for users.  CR includes a
number of wizards to ease reporting.  More complicated reports require
a bit of computer nous and the documentation does not include much in
the way of advanced tutorials.

Quote
>5) In Delphi you can pass variables to ReportSmith. Is it also
>possible to pass variables to Crystal Reports ?

Sure.  You can pass varibles, database names and locations, selection
formulas etc.

Quote
>6) Support for derived fields. Can they be used for record selection
>and grouping ?

Yes

Quote

>7) Can "empty" lines (lines in which all fields are empty) be
>suppressed ?
Yes

>8) Is it possible to do sums and other evaluations for various levels
>of grouping in the same report  (for instance sum per day / per month
>/ per year) ?

Yes

>9) Is there any support to do print previews at runtime ? (a previewer
>with zoom and pan would be nice...)

Yes, zoom, pan , print selected pages, print to file etc are available
form the previewer.
Quote

>10) Is it possible to do outputs to files ?

yes

Quote
>11) Is it possible to create output files in Microsoft Word format
>(and maybe other popular formats). Can this be automated from within
>Delphi ?

Yes, yes.

Quote

>12) What about load-time performance, speed ??

This was my main reason for moving to CR.  In 16 bit land CR is so
much faster it is not funny.
Quote

>13) What's the distribution size of Crystal Reports ?
> (ReportSmith 2.52 is 5 diskettes, I think)

CR is a bunch of dlls, 1-2 meg or so.

Quote

>Thanks

>Thomas

>(101615.1...@compuserve.com)

My personal opinion is that CR is a better option.  i was so upset
with the performance of rs that I haven't used it since I got CR.

 email me if you have further queries.

Sean

Re:ReportSmith vs. Crystal Reports


s>My personal opinion is that CR is a better option.  i was so upset
 >with the performance of rs that I haven't used it since I got CR.

I don't even have it (RS) installed.  Waste of disk space, IMHO.

Fred
---
 t SRP 2.00 #1203 t May the source be with you!

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