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Crystal, Installshield, others?

Crystal Reports has a long, nasty history of being simply evil to work with, yet it's the first, often only, reporting application the suits will buy.

Installshield seems to have the same reputation in both camps.

I'm not going to worry about how they got there, but how do we, as developers, address this issue? How do you either a) get the right product purchased or b) get the evil product evicted?

(insert rant about "sunk costs" being a bad justification)

Philo

Philo
Saturday, April 19, 2003

I've only used Crystal Reports, and would like something better.  What do you recommend?

While I'm not helping to answer your question, other bad products come to mind: Oracle. Select. Anything from Rational.  Rose, ClearCase, ClearQuest, ...

But the people in suits insist that we use them.

XYZZY
Saturday, April 19, 2003

ActiveReports
http://www.datadynamics.com/

Cheaper than Crystal, easier to use, better support.
In my eight years of using VB, I have never heard of anyone switching from AR *to* Crystal, but there are hordes of people going the other way...

Philo

Philo
Saturday, April 19, 2003

Phio wrote, "I'm not going to worry about how they got there, but how do we, as developers, address this issue? How do you either a) get the right product purchased or b) get the evil product evicted?"

Just a few comments.

IMO, questions A and B are tough to answer since every "work environment" tends to be unique in many ways. The first thing you might want to do is get answers to the Who, What, Where, Why, and How of software tool procurement within the organization you are working for. Simply stating, "All software tools and techniques are usually chosen by management" typically isn't going to get you very far. Sometimes, you need to play the role of an archeologist in order to get answers to these questions. If it turns out that software procurement is pretty much a very ad-hoc process within the organization, then concentrate on learning more about how the tools you want to get rid of orginally got there in the first place.

Once you understand how the current system works within the organization then you can go about working on changing it if you feel you have the power or ability to do so. In other words, before you start off on your journey you want to make sure that you won't be walking into an area that is filled with career killing land mines!

In theory, you shouldn't have to address technology issues at the beginning of a project (such as CAMEL), however, the reality is that sometimes a project team will get to pick the tools and technologies they will be working with and sometimes they have to make do with what is currently available to them.

One Programmer's Opinion
Sunday, April 20, 2003

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