Friday, May 2, 2014

Automating Crystal Reports

Crystal Reports is a very useful tool for businesses, but automating Crystal Reports can be costly if you are using tools like Crystal Enterprise or one of the other solutions/services that are out there. In this article, I am going to show you how to automate Crystal Reports for free using VBScript, Command Line code and a free eMailing solution called Febooti. Febooti must be installed for this to work properly. If you have another free emailing solution, feel free to use it of course. I choose Febooti because it's my personal favorite/preference to work with.
Firstly, with this solution the Crystal Report(s) have to have their record selection formulas hard-coded with no parameters if these are to run automatically with no human interaction. Once your report has been set up to produce the desired results just by running the report, we are ready for the next steps to automate the running, exporting and eMailing of the data.
The next step is to set up the VBScript file to run your report and export it...the following two links are to the VBScript code(s) on
Crystal Report - Export to Excel
Crystal Report - Export to PDF
Crystal Report - Export to Text Delimited
Crystal Report - Export to CSV
Copy and paste the desired code and change the report paths and database log on information accordingly. Now we can create our Powershell or CMD Batch file to run our VBScript, rename the report, eMail it and archive it (if desired, any of those steps can be omitted or enhanced of course: it all depends on exactly what you want to accomplish).
Crystal Report - Run, eMail and Archive CMD
Change the batch file code accordingly - paths, output filename and extension (excel/xls in this example, change "xls" to "pdf" of course if using the PDF version), etc to accommodate your specific needs. Once you've saved your batch/powershell file, schedule it using the Windows Task Scheduler and you're all set!
Stay tuned for more helpful hints, code and projects in the making! C/O SkiyeLab

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Businesses in Pittsfield MA

Winter is a tough season in the Berkshires for local businesses. Many of the businesses on North Street in Pittsfield, MA rely on foot traffic and window shoppers for steady income. This past Saturday (04/05/2014), I walked around North Street trying to generate some business of my own by stopping into the local stores to offer my computer services. Unfortunately, it was a rather disappointing venture. There was a common refrain among the shoppe owners - that their businesses were barely surviving. As an up-and-comer to the local business scene, it was hard to listen to the majority of owners and managers tell me their hard-times story: unless they were just telling me this to get me out of their hair - but that's hard to believe since every story had that eerie similarity. It seems that even the main drag of Pittsfield, MA - the heart of the town - is not the ideal locale for a new business such as mine.
SkiyeLab is not particularly a retail business, although I do sell refurbished computers and other electronics. My business relies on the services I offer for income. I fix computers and other electronics as well as build websites, offer consulting for businesses and do networking for home or office businesses. It seems no matter which aspect of business you're in - retail, professional services or both - the town of Pittsfield, MA is a slow-going place for your business to exist; even on what is supposedly the busiest street in the city.
This saddens me greatly. It gives me little hope that my business has a chance in this town - before it has even really started to get off the ground per-se. But, this also inspires me to make my business more unique. If what I offer is like no other place around, that would maybe be enough to bring enough clientele through the doors to not only keep my business afloat, but for it to potentially thrive in a town where most of these other businesses are failing.
Maybe no matter what I do, the business will fail though. Maybe it is the local economy? Maybe it is because the local per-capita income is roughly only $20k/year and that over 15% of the families live below poverty? I don't know for sure of course: this is purely speculation. But I do know what 99% of the business owners I spoke with yesterday told me - and that is "business is tough, especially this time of year."
Anyway, if you do happen to need computer or electronics services and you reside in the Berkshires, you can count on SkiyeLab.
Thanks for checking in! Stay tuned for more...