Crystal Reports and the Object Repository Helper

Those who read this blog probably noticed that I didn’t post last week. I always try to post at least once or twice a week, but last week I was very busy with a “branding” change with my current employer. This included a change in logo on all communications, both written and electronic.

Changing the logos in Made2Manage is fairly simple as you replace two files. The logodoc.bmp isfor the small logo found on internal reports. Logodoc.bmp typically includes the contact information of the company and is placed on purchase orders, invoices, etc.

However, Crystal Reports are a different situation entirely. Our company has a large number of reports on the server, and the logo was an embedded picture. This meant that every single report had to be manually edited. Nevertheless, I was determined to make sure this was the last time that happened.

If you own Crystal Server, your product most likely includes an “Object Repository.” Items placed there can be used on future reports, and the logo could be refreshed from there. The process was simple but tedious. I had to open each report on the server, place the logo from the repository on it in place of the standard picture logo, enable automatic refresh from the repository, and then use the Object Repository Helper to refresh every report to use the latest version of our logo. Sounds simple, right?

Well, it would have been had it worked correctly. First, the Object Repository Helper wasn’t working properly when I tested this on a Test Server. After troubleshooting that with tech support, I set about editing every report on our live server. I finished this process at around 9:30pm the night before the change was due.

I started the Object Repository Helper to refresh the reports the exact same way I had previously. This particular time it corrupted my reports and ruined all of their names. For example, “Sales Order Backlog” became something like “DFSYE999.”

After logging a case and testing, I realized that almost all of the reports still worked, but their names were gone. To SAP’s (the maker of Crystal Reports) credit, a tech called me within 15 minutes of the case creation, but they were unable to fix the problem. So I had two choices, I could restore from back up and re-edit every single report, or I could edit the names manually. I chose the second option, but that wasn’t easy either. Most of the reports on there were written before I went to work for the company and many had ambiguous titles, so I had to make a professional guess as to what the original title was.

Anyway, what is the lesson to be learned? Always do a back up if possible when making a significant change like that. It doesn’t matter how many times you tested a certain function, there can always be an unexplained issue that will cost you a ton of work. I should have taken an immediate back up before I started the Object Repository Helper.

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