I think you've hit it right on the head regarding the dilemma surrounding
MV.   The visual aspect KILLS us.   The MV solutions out there are many and
very good at what they do.  The problem is that most of them look ancient
and lack the GUI glitz and integration ability.

The REAL shame is that the technology to develop full GUI products in our
environment is here.   The story you mentioned of clients migrating to some
other GUI solution only to find it less capable than the MV system is a
recurring nightmare.   I think the solution lies in the hands of the
developers like yourself and the MV organizations that provide solutions.

The tools are there to produce applications on par with anything on the
market.  Web interfaces via tools like Redback. UOJ, .Net PDP, or the java
interfaces are all there to produce great solutions for U2.   There are host
of 4GL tools for our environment like SB+, Visage, Nucleus and others
(apologies for any omissions).   I think the developers, consultants and
solution providers almost have to embrace "something" other than delivering
character based apps.   If you don't, then get used to clients leaving.

Personally,  I came to this crossroads in the late 90s and decided to learn
the web technologies.  My company is a consulting group specializing in web
development for MV via Redback and now Raining Data's Data Provider.   It
sounds cruel, but it's a case of switch to something or be eaten.

Mike R.
-----Original Message-----
Behalf Of Mark Johnson
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 10:34 AM
To: U2 Users Discussion List
Subject: Re: Crystal Reports


Your square peg, round hole analogy is pretty accurate. GP seems to be the
next step for quickbooks users.

The package that they're migrating from is Results from Microdata from the
early 1980's. I still have 4 other clients using Results as well as a
mixture of other Order entry packages/homegrown.

While I can itemize a few shortcomings of Results, it has stood the test of
time because it's still being used. Each of my 4 other Results clients have
taken their copy and evolved it in their own localized versions.

What absolutely impresses me is that none of these 4.5 clients have used
*all* of the originally installed features of Results. They use many and
have added many of their own. But the core design of Results remains true
and someone got it very correct back during its rollout. Add to the fact
that the developers didn't have a 4GL to think of, had 50MB 64K 1Mhz
machines and had to watch the compiler meticulously display those line-by
line asterisks during compiling. Plus, those programs were pretty long as
well, didn't have INCLUDES and didn't have the open CALL concept that
everyone else has. Not to mention the original 32 K record (program) size
file structure.

Only 1 of my Results clients remains on the older MCD box and oddly enough,
he has the 2nd most sophisticated deviations of my 4.5 clients. The others
are either on R90 or UD.

I think the greatest oversight in all of MV is the inability to re-compile
the existing source code to a GUI equivilent. I'm smart enough to realize
how tremendously difficult that would be. But I know that a major reason for
my current dilema with this UD/Results guy going to Great Plains is the
visual aspect of it. People taste with their eyes and most IT 20-something
guys have never seen anything decent on a character-based screen so they
relegate it to the sophistication of command-line DOS. While they have made
an incorrect conclusion, their voices speak loudest. And since they hold the
keys to the contemporary services: email, web sites, network admin etc,
their opinions may carry more weight.

One of my other clients is bouncing back and forth with a proposal of mine
for a $10K new module and the concept of ROI comes into play. How in the
world could this MV-to-GP client justify the ROI on all the extra time and
expense to shift to GP.

Mark Johnson
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ross Ferris" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "U2 Users Discussion List" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: Crystal Reports


We spent 3 years developing a product (CrystalLynx) that allowed us to work
with Crystal - it automatically "normalized" the data for you, so I think it
would be fair to say that "we used it for a while" - and you are right, I
don't want to go back (to Crystal).

Typical square peg/round hole stuff, because it DIDN'T understand mv all
that well - or maybe it was just us ! and I surely didn't like ODBC
performance (and reliability on D3 platforms).

CR is obviously a good product - #1 in it's field, but these days there ARE
products available that work with mv data in a native format, and give CR a
good run for it's money !

Ross Ferris
Stamina Software
Visage - an Evolution in Software Development

>-----Original Message-----
>On Behalf Of Mike Randall
>Sent: Saturday, 17 April 2004 5:41 AM
>To: 'U2 Users Discussion List'
>Subject: RE: Crystal Reports
>Crystal is indeed a very fine product.  It is a banded report writer with a
>multitude of programmability.   Multivalued data is indeed a pain in the
>neck.   Normalize the data 1st and you'll find Crystal a joy to use with
>output, features and polish that MV can't come close to.  The 'problems'
>that your users are facing can be addressed with Crystal code (VB 
>syntax or Crystal's scripting syntax).  After using it a while, you'll 
>never want to go back...
>Mike R.
>-----Original Message-----
>On Behalf Of Mark Johnson
>Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 2:51 PM
>To: U2 Users Discussion List
>Subject: Crystal Reports
>One of my clients wants to connect Crystal Reports to their UD database 
>to apparently give greater access to the data that they sometimes deem 
>as hidden and only accessable through me.
>This client converted to Great Plains 6 weeks ago (SQL based) and their 
>CR experts were struggling with duplicating some of the more mundane 
>reports that already exist in UD. A monthly sales tax summary (by 
>jurisdiction) took the GP guy 3 days futzing with CR using GP's data.
>How much trouble are they going to get in trying to use MV'd data from 
>the UD system (ODBC) if they have so much trouble with more 'normalized'
>Everyone seems to think that CR is a magic pill and once attached to a 
>SQL database, the sophisticated reports simply roll off.
>I'm trying to strongly propose a data warehouse concept whereby the 
>day's sales data gets exported and updated into their prior application 
>for the sake of the multitude of existing, proven reports in MV. If 
>these guys took
>3 days for a simple tax report, how can CR fabricate temporary tables 
>for the sake of these consolidated sophisticated MV reports?
>I'm just interested in hearing of some experiences. This client is too 
>stubborn to go back from GP and may even disregard their entire MV 
>system completely. I really have nothing to lose if I insult them.
>Thanks in advance.
>u2-users mailing list
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