Thursday, December 06, 2007

Crystal Reports 2008 ?? - Really???

Craig points out that Crystal has a new version and in his words, Crystal Reports 2008 -- Don't bother

It's really sad to see companies start ending their support of technology that so many other companies have built their solutions around. Certainly you can't hope to have every technology around forever (I built my first Excel solution using DDE in Windows 2.1) but I find Crystal (er, Business Objects) sometimes makes decisions that are mind-boggingly dumb.

Case in point, Crystal 10 had a nice easy to use Prompt for Parameters. In Crystal 11, this was reproduced by a more web-like interface. Sure, it looked great - but one problem: the customers I had were working in a secure environment where every app that wanted access to an internet page was prompted for security. Not only that, Crystal 11 also used JavaScript heavily - a solution that was disabled for most of the regular end-users.

So while CR 11 may have had these great features, it caused more problems than it was worth.

Why not simply limit the support for older technology? Give them a REASON to switch. One could argue that no one makes applications that use COM anymore - but that just isn't true, not yet at any rate and I don't see it happening for quite some time. If you consider that while a software development tool may only have a lifetime of a few years (consider VS 2003-2005-2008), a BUSINESS application has a considerably longer life cycle - especially when it works.

It's pretty disrespectful of companies to kill features and still expect users to upgrade to it when their businesses run off it.

That's why so many businesses still work off of older versions of applications. Crystal 2008 doesn't offer the same as 11 or 10 before it. In the accounting world, Sage kills off VisionPoint yet the replacement (Pro) doesn't offer the same functionality. I have a client who still uses the DOS version of ACCPAC but generates reports using other tools. I'm sure there are others - look at the OS statistics.

What old application do you still have running around today?

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