Saturday, February 9, 2008

[.NET, VC++] 6 good reasons to hate Crystal Reports

Hi all, here I present my short list of good reasons to hate Crystal reports. This is basically about why working with Crystal Reports is the definitive punishment for every developer. After many fights with the Business Objects support people - we eventually became friends - I am tired of hoping the thing will actually start working as supposed to, so here goes the list (They had it coming):

(6) If you jump onto an ongoing project, if they produce some reports, they are using Crystal Reports.

(5) When your users go print some Crystal reports, if you're not extremely lucky, they got a number of blank pages in between or at the end of the report. And you get the complaints. It's important to underline here that the only reason you are using Crystal reports is to get easily printable reports (e.g. You usually have your users to select which pages to print from the print preview, discarding the blanks, which sucks).

(4) In older versions of Crystal reports (8,9) there is a maximum number of sub-sections for a given "details section" you can programmatically access. If you exceed that maximum number, there's no way in hell you can programmatically edit the options of the exceeding sub-sections. Moreover, before you discover this and you need to set some sub-section option (e.g. make it invisible) if you try to get the section code from the section index you'll keep modifing the options of some other section, as -once you exceed the maximum- the section codes you get back restart from the first sub-secion in loop.

(3) The simpler the task you're up to looks, the more blood you'll have to sweat.

(2) The excel export of a report is the worst thing ever in the history of computing, often looking either like an abstract work of art or a scrabble game.

(1) Once you report is finished, every time your boss wants something new in it (e.g. a new column) you're screwed.

Crystal Reports is the most frustrating and fragile technology you will be ever called to deal with. Why should someone bother learning how to use Crystal reports if with the same effort you can produce better results from scratch?


Anonymous said...

Hey Johnny,

This is a lovely story indeed ;)

Would you recommend any other .Net reporting solution?


Johnny Idol said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'd recommend SQL Reporting Services.

Look @ this for a comparison with Crystal reports --> Comparison Between crystal Reports and MS SQL Reporting Services

Look @ this for the first step of a basic tutorial --> Beginning SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services Part 1

Thanks for the comment,


Anonymous said...

The link (Comparison Between crystal Reports and MS SQL Reporting Services) does not seem to work.
Couple of months ago I was researching different reporting vendors. Do you have experience with telerik reporting?
I have read some nice words about them, but if you have tried them, it would be nice to hear your opinion.

Johnny Idol said...

Yep, for some reason it's linking to blogger.

This should work:

Anyway you can find loads of comparisons like that one, probably even better.

I've heard about telerik too, but never tried because I am kind of reluctant when it comes to third-party stuff. From what I can see they're doing a whole lot of adverstisement - but they're gonna need much more than that to convince me to try their stuff.

Anyway SQL Reporting Services comes with the SQL Server stuff and it's IMHO an acceptable alternative to Crystal Rpts.

Anonymous said...

6 good reasons to hate Crystal? I can give you ONE good reason - we live in the day and age of .NET when software development (PC based anyway) has had 3 decades to "get it right". Things are supposed to be "easy", "cool", "fun" and yet I have spent two months now fighting with Crystal Reports - and I have not spent two months developing anything for decades! This product is SO flawed, SO poorly documented, SO phucked up, and it only gets worse - you seek support from SAP and getting that takes days and then? They give you incorrect information. The web itself is loaded with examples of people doing things this way, that way, any way, and in my case? None of them worked fully.

This is all fairly amazing to me because many years ago I used Crystal and it was a pretty good product. Now? It is without doubt the biggest piece of software sh_t that is out there.

You dont need 6 reasons - when really there is only 1 reason to hate Crystal. It is hands-down, without doubt, the biggest piece of software crap 'alive' (barely) today.

Johnny Idol said...

I totally agree

The Renegade Master said...

I would recommend Bluyah- it's a simple to use, web-based tool:

Anonymous said...

Crystal Reports is the biggest piece of trash. I hate it. It's garbage. It doesn't work right. Crystal Reports 2008 is even worse than previous versions. Why anyone would ever want to use this frustrating program created by idiots who can't test their code is beyond me. It just doesn't work right - nothing works right.

Anonymous said...

I would agree, have been fighting bugs in CR2008 since November and as soon as one is fixed, another one comes. This is complete trash, I have been using CR since 8.5 and can't believe how it has declined over the versions.

Yaro said...

Reporting service is very good. CR sucks. I'm planning to migrate our local project from CR.

Anonymous said...

Windward reports is a pretty good alternative. Really easy to integrate and it is user friendly. The reports can be designed inside MS office with drag and drop functionality. It really helps cut those dev hours setting up and maintaining reports mentioned in the comment above.