Crystal Enterprise Web Desktop

Upon clicking the Crystal Enterprise Web Desktop link, the user is logged onto Crystal Enterprise with a Guest account. This means that the user has whatever rights the Guest account has been granted. This functionality enables anonymous logon to the enterprise system. A common usage scenario is if reports need to be delivered via an extranet system and the administrator does not want to establish an account for every user accessing the system; the Guest account could allow for this. This account can be disabled if you want by using the Crystal Management Console as described in Chapter 27, "Administering and Configuring Crystal Enterprise." If the Guest account is disabled, the user is taken directly to the logon screen. Alternatively, the user can log on by clicking the logon icon shown in Figure 23.2.

Figure 23.2. By default, the Guest account automatically authenticates.

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After a user has successfully logged on, a session is established and available folders and reports are shown based upon the security assigned to the user. Crystal Enterprise allows for multiple folders and subfolders, each with their own security assigned, either at the folder level or the individual object level. Only the folders or individual objects to which the user has access are displayed.

Every user created within Crystal Enterprise is assigned a Favorites folder and by default, only that user and the group Administrators have rights to the user's Favorites folder.

The user can then navigate the folder structure by simply clicking on the folder names. As the user moves down the tree structure, her chosen path is displayed, enabling the user to easily navigate forward or backward. In addition, the top-level folders can be displayed. These provide a starting point to each path in the tree structure, shown in Figure 23.3. This piece of functionality can be turned on and off in the preferences section, described later in this chapter.

Figure 23.3. Listing of available objects found in the folder.

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The Web Desktop also enables the user to search for a required object. The user can search for reports or any hosted object, based upon title, description, folder title, or all these three fields at once. If the search is successful, the Web Desktop returns a listing of all the found objects.

After the desired object is located, the user clicks on the object to determine the available actions, as shown in Figure 23.4.

Figure 23.4. Available options are displayed when the user clicks on the object.

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NOTE

By hovering the mouse over any object, the object's folder and description are displayed. If they do not appear, ensure that these fields are populated in the object properties under the Crystal Management Console (see Chapter 27 for more details).

Table 23.1 lists the default actions that can be defined for the different objects within Crystal Enterprise. The available actions are partially defined by the security set against the object for the current user (that is, different users might have access to different actions against the same object or report). This security is defined in the Crystal Management Console or CMC and explained in Chapter 27.

Table 23.1. Crystal Enterprise Object Action List

Action

Description

View

The object is run live against the data source. For example, if the object were a Crystal Report, the report would execute against its data source and the most current data would be retrieved. If the object were a text file, the text file would be displayed. If the object were an object package, it would display the contents of the package.

Saved View

This applies to Crystal Analysis reports only. A specific view of the data can be saved, enabling the user to return to those specifically aligned dimensions and dimension members.

View Latest Instance

This action enables the user to view the most recently scheduled instance. This is useful if a user wants to view the most recent version of the scheduled report. Often this action is provided to the majority of end users with the ability to View (On-Demand against the database) being provided to only an elite segment of users.

Schedule

The user can schedule the object against the data source. If the object is a Crystal Report, the user might need to enter information such as when the report should be run, any required database logon, any parameters that might need to be entered, filters to further limit the data, and destination of the output. See the following section, "Scheduling a Crystal Report from Within the Web Desktop," for more detail.

History

The history shows the user a listing of all attempts to schedule the report and the status of those attempts, that is, whether they succeeded or failed. The user can click on the status to view reasons for failing or succeeding. If the report succeeded, the user can click on the instance to view the report instance.

Modify

If Crystal Enterprise has been installed with the Report Application Server (available by default with Crystal Enterprise Premium or as an add-on to Crystal Enterprise Professional), the modify button launches a report modification wizard and enables the user to modify the given report and then save the modified report as a new object.

Alerts

Should the report have an alert that has been triggered, the report appears in the alerts page. The user can go directly to the alerts page and see if there are any reports that have triggered an alert.

The type of object also determines the available actionsfor example, a text file cannot be scheduled because the Crystal Enterprise framework does not support scheduling text files. A list of all currently supported object types is presented in the next chapter but the most common are Crystal Reports, Crystal Analysis objects, Crystal Object Packages, Excel, Word, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), PowerPoint and going forward, WebIntelligence objects. The object type also determines the action's resultfor example, if the object is a Crystal Report, view executes the report. However, if the object is an object package, view displays the contents of the package.

TIP

A Crystal Report could be scheduled and then converted to a text file to overcome this limitation.

The scheduling capability requires further detail, as there are a number of options.

Scheduling a Crystal Report from Within the Web Desktop

With the required permissions, the user can schedule the report, specifying the following input to ensure the report runs appropriately.

Schedule Runtime Options

The runtime options presented under the Schedule selection of the Schedule dialog drop-down box enable specification of the recurring schedule for the involved report. Each of the different potential runtimes presents its own set of parameters:

  • Now: The report runs once (immediately) after the schedule action is initiated.
  • Once: The report runs once at the time specified by the required start time parameter.
  • Hourly: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered. The first instance is created at the start time specified.
  • Daily: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered running once every N days at the time specified.
  • Weekly: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered running each week on the selected days and at the time specified.
  • Monthly: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered running on the specified date and time, every N months.
  • Nth Day of Month: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered with new report instances being created each month on the specified day and at the start time specified.
  • 1st Monday of Month: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered with new report instances being created on the first Monday of each month and at the time specified.
  • Last Day of Month: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered with new report instances being created on the last day of each month and at the time specified.
  • X Day of Nth Week of the Month: Report instances are created on a recurring schedule matching the parameters entered with new report instances being created monthly on the specified day of the specified week.
  • Calendar: This option enables the selection of a calendar of dates. Created by the Crystal Enterprise administrator, calendars are customized lists of schedule dates. A report instance can then be scheduled to run each day specified in the calendar.

Using the various runtimes and their associated runtime parameters is fairly intuitivethe one exception perhaps being the Calendar (see Figure 23.5), which is new to Crystal Enterprise version 10. This functionality enables administrators to create calendars that run reports based on the dates defined in the calendars. Crystal Enterprise allows for multiple calendars, for example a month end closing and a quarter end closing. Calendar creation is covered in Chapter 27.

Figure 23.5. The Calendar displays the schedule runtime days. If a calendar is selected at schedule time, Crystal Enterprise will schedule the report only on the highlighted run days.

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Parameters

If a specified report contains parameters, a parameters option appears in the scheduling dialog and the user is expected to enter the required parameters. If a report does not contain parameters, this option is not available.

Database Logon

If the report requires a data source logon, the user specifies this under the database drop-down option screen here in the Schedule dialog.

NOTE

The database logon is the user who is required to access the database; in other words, if the report accesses an Oracle database, the user entered here would be the user that Oracle authenticates against. However, should the Oracle database reside on a different physical server and network authentication is required to access the Oracle server, the user account used for this network authentication is the user account that starts the Job Server or service. If this user does not have the correct permissions, the report will fail.

 

Filters

Any row or group filters that were created in the associated Crystal Report appear here. The user can add or change the filter accordingly, ensuring that he saves the update by clicking on the update field.

TIP

The filters setting and editing functionality can be withdrawn from end-user access by changing a setting in the Web Desktop Administration. See the section "Customizing the Web Desktop and Report Viewers" later in this chapter.

 

Destination

The information can be sent to any of the following destinations:

  • Default: The instance is stored in the Crystal Enterprise infrastructure, namely the File Repository Server.
  • Unmanaged Disk: Accessible disk that is not managed by the Crystal Enterprise infrastructure. The disk needs to be specified via its UNC path or alternatively, if it is a Windows system, via a mapped drive.
  • E-mail SMTP Server: Report can be sent as an attachment or as a URL by e-mail. The URL is better suited for internal personnel because this method does not clog the internal network if the attachments are large. If the recipient is outside the firewall, a link might not be the best approach as the recipient might not be able to pass through the firewall to get to the Crystal Enterprise infrastructure.
  • FTP Server: Useful for sending reports across the Internet or across dissimilar operating systems. This is particularly useful when interacting with other systems, for example, a customer's shipment report could be sent to her FTP server, whereby this file is automatically uploaded into her system.

Defining a Format

The report can be converted to a specific file format upon scheduling, namely

  • Crystal Report: This is the default and maintains the original formatting of the report.
  • Excel: This Excel option tries to maintain the original format of the report and translates this to an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Excel (Data Only): This option removes the formatting in the Crystal Report and sends down the data only, with each field in the report representing a column in Excel.
  • Word: Preserves all formatting and attempts to keep the pages consistent with the Crystal Report; for example, if there are three pages in the report, the Word document should have three pages. Any graphics appear as Word pictures.
  • Acrobat: Similar to Microsoft Word formatting. Enables the user to specify export by page.
  • Rich text: Similar to Microsoft Word formatting.
  • Plain text: User needs to specify the number of characters per inch (millimeter).
  • Paginated text: User needs to specify the number of characters per inch (millimeter) and the number of lines per page.
  • Tab-separated text: The export process forces a tab between fields.
  • Tab-separated values: Each value in the field is separated by a tab.
  • Character separated values: A specified character separates each value in the field.

Unique features that are specific to Crystal Reports, such as drill down and the group tree, are lost when the report is converted to another format.

Another point to note is that these formats work typically on a "what you see is what you get" paradigm. In other words, if the report is using multiple groupings and the latter groups are hidden in the report, when it comes time for exporting, the user only gets the first group and the hidden sections are not exported. The user gets a similar result with on-demand subreports and with conditionally suppressed sections in a report.

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If a business requirement is such that the users are going to do a lot of exporting, determine the format beforehand and how the user wants to view the exported format before designing the report as this export requirement has an effect on the design of the report.

Check http://support.businessobjects.com for technical papers on preferred formatting and export limitations when you intend to export a report to another format.

 

Print Settings

Users can print a copy of the Crystal Report while scheduling the report.

The desktop application gives the user a choice of either specifying a printer or selecting the default printer, which is the default printer associated with the Crystal Enterprise server.

CAUTION

The server on which Crystal Enterprise is installed would need access to the device or shared printer and not the user's desktop access.

Related to specifying the printer, the user can also specify the Crystal Report page layout settings. These settings affect the Crystal Report page layout; for example, if the page size is changed, the total number of pages for the report changes.





Special Edition Using Crystal Reports 10
Special Edition Using Crystal Reports 10
ISBN: 0789731134
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 341
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