Alternative to Crystal Reports

dreamtime

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I need to produce a dynamic report using a database in vs.net (vb).

Up until now I have used Crystal Reports, but in my particular case it is not working as I need it to and I am beginning to get frustrated.

The report includes multiple images held in a database as well as utilising multiple tables from various databases.

I have found from various reseach that the only way to get an image into cr.net (the version I have anyway) is to connect a database and use a blob field.

I would prefer to design the report in advance with textboxes, tables, etc and then control the data transfer myself. ie. in textbox1 put this text using this font. display this picture in picturebox1 and this picture in picturebox2.

You CAN do this with text in cr.net but I have never found a method to do this with graphics (perhaps someone can help?). I also have many times where a report can become disfunctional and no amount of reconnecting databases or clearing fields can save it. The only alternative is to start the report from scratch.

My question is...can anyone suggest an alternative method or product that would help me achieve such a report? The report needs to be printed onto A4 or A5 (preset) and I do not wish to use Word, etc. I would prefer it to be intergrated with visual studio.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

TPM

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Have you tried writing your own? Personally most of the time I find it easier. Especially if it's just printed.
 

kulrom

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Hi dreamtime,
I'm sure that if you get to read some articles about CR you will falling in love with it ... JK :) ... anyway CR has many advantages over other report tools and one of the biggest advance is that is Easy learnable and another great advance is simple usage of the same ... That's why it's most trendy and $ expensive there.

Cheers :)
 

dreamtime

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Thanks for the replies.

TPM - I will look into this although I am not a seasoned programmer! I will try to find some examples on the net as this may be the way forward.

Kulrom - I agree that CR is very cool. And it is very powerful. I have read a number of articles but there are limitations in the integrated version and I cannot afford to upgrade. If there was just a way to add graphics to the vs.net version at run time without having to link a database, I would use it! I will do more research.

Cheers.
 

TPM

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It's not too hard, mostly loops as you cycle through your data. If you do go this way and get stuck just let me know and I'll try to help.
 

dreamtime

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TPM - thanks.

The collection of data and using the data is not a problem. I have a firm grip on collecting the data together to put into the report.

One thing you could help me on is just a hint in what direction I need to head in order to program my own printing system. err..if thats possible in a short explanation!

Do you know of a web link or example that just produces a basic printed document on A4 using only vb.net? Something like this would help a great deal. I can work out all the tables and graphics later.
 

TPM

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1)Add a print dialog and document.
2)Dim a global pagesettings
3)set the printDocument's default pagesettings to your dimmed pagesettings
4)Use this to start the printing:
VB.NET:
printDialog.document=printDocument
if printdialog.showdialog=dialogresult.ok then
printdocument.print
end if
5)Handle the printDocument.print event. Use the e.graphices to draw your images, text etc. Use e.hasmorepages at the end to finist printing or to loop through the print event again.

I have a PDF of a print event I just wrote if it would be helpfull. There's no comments though.
 

TPM

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Here you go.
It prints out a schedule with 3 columns and is broken down into jobs and a sumarry at the end. That's why there's quite a few loops.
 

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TPM

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Yes they work well, I have Adobe installed so I can just print pdf's. Although you can't copy paste or open it straight into VS. Which maybe good or bad depending...

Actually that make's me remember a tip for you dreamtime (and anyone else working with printing) it's a lot easyer to use a pdf printer to test your print job that an actuall printer. The number of times I've messed up on the hasmorepages and have printed hundreds of copies of something.... I'd have used an entire rainforest by now if it wasn't for my pdf printer :)
 
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