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3rd Party Report Writer

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  • 3rd Party Report Writer

    Alpha 5's report writing capability is second to non, however, I have a client who has a need for a 3rd party report writer that would work with Alpha 5's tables (memo fields included).

    Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Thanks for your knowledge.

  • #2
    RE: 3rd Party Report Writer

    Good question. Crystal Reports remains the primary contender in that arena, but it's highly un-intuitive and (at least in ver. 7) has lots of bugs in the charting section. It's basically a good program but over complicated and I would give it a "close but no cigar."

    The best two products I've encountered out there are R & R Report writer (only accesses DBF files) and it's cousin ARPEGGIO (same basic program, but can access several file formats through ODBC; works acrosss the network). Both handle Alpha memo fields well. The trouble in paradise is that they are no longer being developed. They are still available, but there will be no futher upgrade path (like Alpha Four; and also like Alpha Four, they are very mature and essentially solid products).

    Although this impending obsolesence is a problem, they are probably the easiest way to create, print and maintain reports I've ever seen. So, as usual, there is not a clearly definitive answer -- unless someone else has one (I hope so, 'cause I'm always looking for better ways to produce reports). Hope this helps a bit.




    • #3
      RE: 3rd Party Report Writer

      Hi Geoff and Rhett!

      Geoffrey Hollander wrote:
      The best two products I've encountered out there are R & R Report writer (only accesses DBF files) and it's cousin ARPEGGIO (same basic program, but can access several file formats through ODBC; works acrosss the network). Both handle Alpha memo fields well. The trouble in paradise is that they are no longer being developed. They are still available, but there will be no futher upgrade path (like Alpha Four; and also like Alpha Four, they are very mature and essentially solid products).

      See for info about the NEW release of R&R 8.1.

      "New! R&R Report Writer, Xbase Edition Version 8.1
      It's here! After just 6 months in development, Liveware Publishing has created the first new release of R&R Report Writer in more than 2 years."

      "R&R and ARPEGGIO will also be merged into a single program in a future release."

      I'm not trying to diminish the value of Alpha's built-in report writers, just letting you now that R&R has been updated and has a future with Liveware Publishing Inc.



      • #4
        RE: 3rd Party Report Writer

        Thanks for the info!



        • #5
          RE: 3rd Party Report Writer

          There are many other issues involved with selecting a
          report generator.

          The question of per seat cost (license) is very important.
          You must first determine if for example you need to purchase a Crystal Report License for each user--regardless of whether or not they are actually creating a report or just viewing it. Just think if you would select a report writer that requires you to pay for each seat times the number of users your customer or company has....

          The ability to work on multiple servers.

          Ability to produce reports in a variety of formats (Access viewer, Crystal Viewer, Excell, PDF, HTML--all automatically
          is another issue.

          Ability to find programmers anywhere and at anytime that can
          produce code or provide report templates is another issue. As you grow, you need to outsource something, and report generation and creation is one of the best and easiest to manage.

          Automated ARCHIVING ability is another issue: Whether a report can be easily archived and retrieved without a programmer--sorry JIM. This means that the report generated
          can be automatically saved and retrieved with a few pushes of a button (s)

          Then, OLAP ability--the ability to have 3d drill down.

          Then Web enablement,
          Then Security, ability to burst, ability to connect to any
          database--to be software independant.

          Although Crystal Reports has the most brand recognition
          alot of companies have moved away from it due to per seat costs and lack of multiprocessing ability.

          There are thousands of specialty report generators--for financial reporting, for large database reporting, for Web reporting, for secure web reporting, for burst reporting and the like. In fact most languages have many many add on report generators available with preformatted reports.

          We have utilized all of the above products and decided
          to write our own report generator using SQL server as a base. However, we still utilize A5's report generator's for
          our on line production database because they--when we are not having the heap lock errors and the like--are easy to utilize, change, modify, troubleshoot and develop rapidly.
          As posted in prior responses we have adapted A5's ability to
          speed up its output--one of a report generators weak points in a high volume database and created our own OLAP type

          Good Luck

          If looking for a report product, I would look to make certain that it is software independant, rather than tied to a particular product or type of file. I would also make certain that it is completely Web enabled. Further that it utilizes the lates COM. And is OLAP enabled (Online Analytical Processing gives users the power to drill-down into information and assists in ad-hoc decision making)

          That it Adheres to the Microsoft DNA architecture (Distributed Internet Architecture) and standards.

          That it is server based so that the processing to create the report does not result in watching the blue bar of death for a half an hour or more.


          • #6
            RE: 3rd Party Report Writer

            Hello again Geoff!

            I've enjoyed your reviews in the past and would be interested in how you compare the built-in A5 report writer, Crystal Reports, R&R, and others.

            Also, which do you primarily use?