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I’d originally intended this to be an April Fools entry, but it’s been a busy month. With a little bit of judicious editing, I’ll take advantage of Easter and make it a post about resurrection. We can still have a bit of fool though!

Along with the rest of the SAP/BO/Crystal world, I’ve been interested to view the progress of BI 4.0, especially the Crystal side of things as that is my main focus. It was while watching the demo of Crystal Reports for Enterprise that I had a strange feeling of deja vu.

Summing up the important features of Crystal Reports for Enterprise:

         

  • It’s written in Java
  •      

  • It works with rpt files
  •      

  • It’s not quite as functional as Crystal Reports
  •      

  • It’ll be ‘problematic’ to deploy with all those annoying java updates

Those with memories going back about 12 years will remember Seagate Analysis as part of Crystal/Seagate Info, and its associated product, the freebie Crystal Query (I may have got the name wrong, but it was going to be free forever).

The main features of Seagate Analysis were:

         

  • It was written in Java
  •      

  • It worked with rpt files
  •      

  • It wasn’t quite as functional as Crystal Reports
  •      

  • It was difficult to deploy as back then a 40MB+ download (IIRC) was big, and you still had those annoying java updates
  •      

  • It had a really clever tab that let you reuse your report data in an OLAP-like slicer dicer

Well, 4 out of 5 ain’t bad!

I’ve no idea if any of the old Seagate Analysis code has been reused, I doubt it, and kind of hope not!

However, it does look like an old product has been resurrected.

While typing this, I’ve been wondering two things:

1) Why did Seagate Analysis fail (if fail is the correct word)

2) What else should be resurrected?

On its failure; Seagate Analysis was only in the product for one release, being dropped with the release of the ‘new’ product, Crystal Enterprise. Seemed a strange choice at the time as so much energy had been spent on marketing it and, ignoring the size of download and installation issues, it fitted quite nicely into a web application. A few years later, the dreadful Crystal Reports Explorer appeared, but it was never used much (for very good reasons).

My personal, biased opinion is that part of the failure was due to being written in Java. I’ve always felt you can tell a Java application from the fact that it isn’t quite as good as the Windows (or Mac) version, bit clunkier, bit slower, less functional.

If my possibly ill-informed, biased opinion (!) is right, could a similar fate await Crystal Reports for Enterprise?

 

On resurrecting other software, SAP & BO have had their acquisition sprees over the past few years. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff that’s been quietly ignored. Before you say anything, you can’t resurrect Desktop Intelligence yet – the body’s still warm!

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