Crystal Reports is reporting software that’s marketed well to business decision-makers; Crystal is a household name when it comes to reports! Most developers, however, work to avoid Crystal Reports like the plague. Crystal is marketed well to people who write the checks, but not to people who write and implement the reports. I think a “perception of value” scenario is sometimes at work, too, where something that costs a lot must be very valuable — therefore expensive Crystal Reports must be a great reporting tool. Following that logic: if we charged people a membership fee to read the blogs on CodeBetter.com they’d percieve the content to be more valuable and worthwhile.
Brendan’s post has another little kernel of wisdom in there . . . the guru points out that Crystal wants to stay ahead of Cognos. If that’s the gauge Crystal uses, developers don’t do handstands over working with Cognos either. If it’s between Cognos and Crystal, I’ll gladly take Excel and custom charts any day!
Which brings me to Reporting Services from Microsoft and what a welcome addition it is to the enterprise reporting landscape. Is it perfect? No. Is it better than the alternatives? Seems to be — although I’m no Reporting Services guru. They work fine on my machine, though, which is more than I can say for my frustrations with Crystal!