Classic Reports Discontinued in NAV "7"

Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,243Member, Moderators Design Patterns
edited 2012-07-10 in General Chat
Last week at Directions EMEA, Claus Lundstrom and I had a parallel session which was a pitty because we both had interesting messaging around RDLC Reporting. Fortunately we both had a good number of attendees who got what they came for.

While my presentation was primairaly about converting Classic reports to RDLC2005, Claus told his audience about the future of reporting in NAV "7".

There are some important things to understand from Claus' session

1. Classic Reports are discontinued

In Dynamics NAV 2009 we had the possibility to run classic reports from the RTC. This will be no longer possible in "7". This means that it is mandatory to upgrade your reports in the next version.

2. NAV "7" uses RDLC 2008

NAV 2009 is currently supporting RDLC 2005 which brings along some quite important limmitations. Most important is the fact that it does not support using the dataset in the Header and Footer of the report. This causes the funny movement of data that we know from especially the document reports such as the sales invoice.
NAV "7" will run on RDLC 2008 that removes this limmitation. This is a huge step forward in terms of usability of RDLC in ERP documents

3. NAV "7" upgrades from both Classic AND RLDC2005

Reports that have been upgraded to RDLC 2005 do not have to be redesigned in RDLC 2008. NAV will provide an upgrade tool. Hopefully NAV "7" will also upgrade from classic reports with header and footer data directly to RDLC 2008 without the funny datamovement.

4. NAV "7" enables creating datasets

Currently the classic report sections design our dataset. This will no longer be the case in NAV "7" where we create the dataset directly using a new designer

5. NAV "7" will have better looking reports

Microsoft has decided to apply the Dynamics AX guides to the NAV reports to they will look better. The most frequently used reports in the standard product will be enhanced

6. We can count report usage

Remember this post? I discussed this with Microsoft and they agreed to ship a hotfix to make this possible out of the box! Watch my blog for the HF#.

7. Getting more curious?

Too bad. This is all we are allowed to blog about at the moment, or maybe already too much.

Key message?
Start exploring RDLC TODAY! And start converting those reports. There is no extra effort to redo them with NAV "7" other than maybe some simplyfication where the header and footer are concerned
Orriginal Blogpost:

http://dynamicsuser.net/blogs/mark_brum ... -quot.aspx
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Comments

  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,174Member
    SInce developers and users can use Classic reports for processing, are they planning to add that capability elsewhere?

    Since this was a presentation at Directions, is this public to all partners only?
    As a partner, can I get more info or is this more limited?
  • Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,243Member, Moderators Design Patterns
    This is what we are allowed to blog. I am sure that you can get more info from MS USA.

    Processing only reports are not affected by this message. They stay as they are today. No changes.
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,174Member
    If Microsoft reads this (I hope), they should seriously consider a 2009R3 release that includes this report upgrade. They should give us the opportunity to use this new design tool for a year before they frop the old.
    We always install the current release, which means:
    1) all our new clients are already running SQL Server 2008, and the newer ones R2
    2) all our newer clients are RTC using SP1 or R2
    However we have still used Classic reports for new reports most of the time, and the current design tools are bad.
    Give us the new design tool now, and it won't be such an abrupt transition to NAV 7.
  • BeliasBelias Posts: 2,951Member
    Key message?
    Start exploring RDLC TODAY! And start converting those reports. There is no extra effort to redo them with NAV "7" other than maybe some simplyfication where the header and footer are concerned
    TRUE! No further effort needed if you convert your reports now.
    I think the biggest problem is that NOW we have further effort that we have to do to put in place the "funny movement" that Mark talked about. (you know, get&setdata/reportitems...)
    Second (smaller) problem is that if the report is only run through RTC: we must build the classic designer, no matter what.

    My conclusion is: if you start doing them now, you're doing the 110% of the work, not the 90%: it's quite different! :wink:

    whops, i just noticed that mark already wrote
    ...other than maybe some simplyfication where the header and footer are concerned
    -Mirko-
    "Never memorize what you can easily find in a book".....Or Mibuso
    My Blog
  • matttraxmatttrax Posts: 2,309Member
    Belias wrote:
    My conclusion is: if you start doing them now, you're doing the 110% of the work, not the 90%: it's quite different!

    It's one thing to do them now. It's another to have a customer who is willing to pay you to do them now. If they are happy with classic reports there is no benefit to them, and no reason to pay.

    Should every developer know how the new reporting works, absolutely. It's been around for, what, 2 1/2 years or so. Should already know it if you ask me, but maybe I'm just ambitious :lol:
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,174Member
    We may have no choice in learning the new reports now.
    However, it is upsetting that they will finally come out with a more usable set of tools in version 7.
    SQL Server 2008 has been out for longer than NAV 2009. They could have started out with SQL Server 2008 with its better RDLC and a better way of handling the datasets. (SQL Server 2005 support should only have been available for Classic clients.)
    We have been pushed into the "Vista" version of RTC.
    They should have done more work on the development tools before releasing the product.
  • lakshmivallurulakshmivalluru Posts: 168Member
    Hi,

    I have got one question. Most of our customers who went live with NAV2009 use classic reports form RTC. This made us lazy to design RTC reports. So there are cases when the existing RTC layout is deleted to allow classic report changes. Will the upgrade or the tool you are talking about redesign these RTC reports as per classic reports, or should these be done manually.
    LR
  • mohana_cse06mohana_cse06 Posts: 4,850Member
    Hi,

    I have got one question. Most of our customers who went live with NAV2009 use classic reports form RTC. This made us lazy to design RTC reports. So there are cases when the existing RTC layout is deleted to allow classic report changes. Will the upgrade or the tool you are talking about redesign these RTC reports as per classic reports, or should these be done manually.

    We have to create manually..
  • raveendran.sraveendran.s Posts: 119Member
    Hi,

    I have got one question. Most of our customers who went live with NAV2009 use classic reports form RTC. This made us lazy to design RTC reports. So there are cases when the existing RTC layout is deleted to allow classic report changes. Will the upgrade or the tool you are talking about redesign these RTC reports as per classic reports, or should these be done manually.

    We have to create manually..

    Give a try on Suggest Layout...
    --
    Regards,
    Raveendran.BS
  • lakshmivallurulakshmivalluru Posts: 168Member
    Hi,

    suggest layout does not work i checked it when NAV2009 was released. I did suggest other developers not to delete layout, or fields which are nto needed as part of customization. But its too late now. The manual doesn't contain full RTC report design. It's missing the code bit, and someother stuff which i can't remember now at this minute
    LR
  • mohana_cse06mohana_cse06 Posts: 4,850Member
    If the reports are standard then you can import them from Cronus database.
  • lakshmivallurulakshmivalluru Posts: 168Member
    I was actually talking about customized reports. :|
    LR
  • mohana_cse06mohana_cse06 Posts: 4,850Member
    Start with Create Suggest layout and modify it..
  • lakshmivallurulakshmivalluru Posts: 168Member
    O mohana.... don't you think we all know that.... My question was how will upgrate tool helps?if it is useful or not?
    LR
  • mohana_cse06mohana_cse06 Posts: 4,850Member
    O mohana.... don't you think we all know that.... My question was how will upgrate tool helps?if it is useful or not?
    OO yes lakshmi...
    There are somany users who dont know this..

    Dont think too much about the tool and follow this message
    Key message?
    Start exploring RDLC TODAY! And start converting those reports. There is no extra effort to redo them with NAV "7" other than maybe some simplyfication where the header and footer are concerned
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,461Member
    What I am doing is generally try to avoid building printable reports, Excel Buffer instead... usually it is more useful and more future-proof for the dreaded day when we will have no choice but upgrade to RTC and retrain everybody and redo printable reports and documents... I hope we can delay that 1-2 years though... I think even when NAV7 comes out, NAV6 wil be supported for 1-2 years... we have like 12 conditional footers in invoices and of course different ones in every company in the group etc. will not be easy when that day finally comes. AFAIK Excel Buffer reports can be upgraded to RTC without any change. This seems to be a fairly safe way forward. Too bad you are not allowed to generate invoices into Excel :)
  • DenSterDenSter Posts: 8,045Member
    I think you will have to make a decision: Use shortcuts, tricks and workarounds to artificially hold on to the past, or embrace the new technology and learn how to use that instead. Eventually, at some point, you will have no choice anyway, and if you just continue to hold on, by that time, everyone else will be better at that then you. Of course it will be painful at first, because you are learning. Just think back though to the time that you were not able to put 12 conditional footers in a NAV report. How long did it take you to figure THAT out? Same with the new technology, once you get the hang of it, you will get much better real fast.

    It's better not to wait in my opinion.
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,174Member
    There are always trade offs.
    We get fantastic new capabilities and lose a few of the old. Have to find new ways to solve the old problems.

    In pre-historic times I worked with Cobol apps. Their performance would blow away the current apps, but the lack of features and difficulties in extending the programs was a killer.
    Plus - they became extremely painful to work on once I embraced and came up to speed on newer technology.
    :D
  • Alex_ChowAlex_Chow Posts: 5,035Member
    I forgot where I read this, but it appears that classic report will still be supported in version 7? Can anyone confirm?
  • MattKeyesMattKeyes Posts: 41Member
    Another option is to go the RDL route and use Pivotier (www.pivotier.com)... then you get to leverage SQL reporting and free yourself from the difficulties (and cost) with the NAV RDLC reporting. This is one of the best ISV products I've had the experience of working with. It is great for customers but maybe not for partners as it takes some of their revenue away from report writing and instead allows the customer to handle much of their reporting needs directly.
  • BeliasBelias Posts: 2,951Member
    Excel Buffer reports can be upgraded to RTC without any change
    Excel buffer is DEADLY slow on RTC (about 7x-8x slower). To extract data in excel i just do the "create layout suggestion" trick: it generates a plain layout, i make the fields as narrow as possible to make them fit one pate, i remove the cangrow property from all the textbox, and....report done.
    The user will run it in preview and see crap, of course. He has to export it to excel and outosize the columns, but this method is even faster than excel buffer on classic, and doesn't need programming :mrgreen:
    Alex Chow wrote:
    I forgot where I read this, but it appears that classic report will still be supported in version 7? Can anyone confirm?
    :shock: i thought they are officially "deprecated"...well, i think they will still compile, but how can you run them in an RTC only environment? :-k
    -Mirko-
    "Never memorize what you can easily find in a book".....Or Mibuso
    My Blog
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,174Member
    What they told us at Convergence is you can import a Classic report, but then you have to create the layout.
    So yes to import and convert; no to run as Classic.
    :(
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,461Member
    Denster,

    It is not about learning, it is about

    1) Actually I realized Excel reports are much more superior in many ways. Printable things, with the exception of documents, are outdated - we are not living in a paper age anymore. In fact I believe we should change our whole way of thinking - it shouldn't be reports but queries, datasets which can be processed further.

    2) organizational inertia - if something works right, people will never understand why the vendor wants to break it and force you to redo it and introduce a possibility of errors. Everybody hates solving the same problem twice.

    3) I don't care about others becoming better at it - do you? First of all demand for us still outstrips supply and probably will for a long time - there is little competition. Not in skill level, maybe in prices. Second, am in this for 10 years know and really want to get promoted out of physical coding / report design, hope I will achieve it soon. I think 10 years of hands-on work are enough. I think now in my thirties I should get into project management or something like that and leave hands-on work for people in their twenties. Especially report design, that should be left for the newest folks. I know you spent more than my 10 years in it, so what is your opinion about that? Do you still do hands-on work and do you intend to keep doing so?
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,461Member
    Belias,

    I am not talking about user-ran reports. To be fair I consider that "pull" methodology outdated and inefficient. I am talking about generating reports with NAS and Excel Buffer into files during the night and emailing them out. (Technically non-GUI Excel Automation is not supported but practically it works if I comment out the page layout code.)

    This "push" attitude is a whole lot more preferable from an organizational point of view. For example if you automatically "push" the overdue invoices report to an accountant every night he has no excuses for forgetting to send reminders. If reports are ran by the users then they will just forget to use them.

    What you say about its slowness worries me, but I think if it comes to it we can just replace the CreateSheet function with an appropriate .NET function. Can't be that hard.
  • Alex_ChowAlex_Chow Posts: 5,035Member
    You make good points. That's why I would've preferred NAV reporting to go to using SSRS instead of RDLC.

    Most new prospects assumes that NAV uses SSRS for it's primary reporting tool. Almost no one I came across knows what RDLC is.
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,461Member
    MattKeyes,

    But if you are going to use SQL queries and thus lose the advantages of FlowFields (unless you use SIFT tables which is downright hideous), then there is no need for third-party-solutions. SQL is pretty much DIY, very easy.

    - Excel PowerPivot. Download it, enjoy it, it is awesome.

    - Simple "cubes" - a bunch of SUM and GROUP by on Entry Tables. A table of 200K entries becomes a view of 11K which even "normal" Excel Pivot can process easily and if you just copy it into another table every night then it is even faster.

    - There are a million tutorials how to generate an Excel report from an SQL query through ADO

    - sp_makewebtask can make a HTML table
  • BeliasBelias Posts: 2,951Member
    1) Actually I realized Excel reports are much more superior in many ways. Printable things, with the exception of documents, are outdated - we are not living in a paper age anymore. In fact I believe we should change our whole way of thinking - it shouldn't be reports but queries, datasets which can be processed further.
    I hate paper, but italians don't (i don't know austrians :) )...when i see people printing emails or printing reports on paper, i get angry and i tell them that it would be more comfortable to keep it on screen (copy/paste, paper loss etc...) but anyway...i still see the users printing every single document they post (even non-fiscal, not needed). In italy it's still paper-age, sadly...
    What you say about its slowness worries me, but I think if it comes to it we can just replace the CreateSheet function with an appropriate .NET function. Can't be that hard.
    ok...nas is classic client, excel buffer shouldn't be slow (never tried)

    I'm with you with report pushing and "query reports"
    -Mirko-
    "Never memorize what you can easily find in a book".....Or Mibuso
    My Blog
  • MattKeyesMattKeyes Posts: 41Member
    Miklos,

    How do you lose the advantage of FlowFields if you go to SQL? In the end, a FlowField is simply a SUM, COUNT, etc. query in the database, and there is no need to use the generated views.

    Pivotier is a tool that allows ad-hoc SQL reporting via RDL straight out of NAV. An end user with no knowledge of SQL can build their own reports, and Pivotier does all the heavy lifting for them. A SSRS developer can develop a report in Visual Studio and load it back into NAV so that it can be run with NAV filters. Pivotier avoids having to use the clumsy RDLC implementation of NAV reporting and performs MUCH faster. There is also the added benefit of SQL optimization in a NAV database... Pivotier will automatically execute queries that implement all the functionality to prevent blocking, etc. To top it off, the footprint in NAV is extremely light.

    Once data is in a SSRS report, then you can get it to Excel easily or into a variety of other formats. You also gain all the other benefits SSRS offers (hosting them on a company Intranet portal, automated batch routines, emailing, etc.). In my mind, Pivotier is the reporting engine that NAV 2009 should have had.

    Excel is a powerful tool, but as a standalone reporting engine it is rather fragile. Coupled with that, the regular users shouldn't be required to open Excel to go get the information they are looking for... things should be a one-click straight out of NAV, and Pivotier offers this out of the box.
  • jglathejglathe Posts: 602Member
    10 years of hands-on work are enough. I think now in my thirties I should get into project management or something like that and leave hands-on work for people in their twenties. Especially report design, that should be left for the newest folks. I know you spent more than my 10 years in it, so what is your opinion about that? Do you still do hands-on work and do you intend to keep doing so?

    Maybe my two cents... although I wasn't asked... IMO, as long as you think you want to get into project management, you're not ready yet :mrgreen: As for report design: Good, well thought out reports / applications / code / whatever are written by people who have learned something... from a teacher, and from lots of hands-on experience.

    with best regards

    Jens
  • DenSterDenSter Posts: 8,045Member
    It is not about learning
    Yes it is, it always is about learning. If you deliberately stop learning you WILL miss the boat at some point.
    1) we are not living in a paper age anymore
    Whether you print to a piece of paper or a digitally rendered layout, the layout itself will still need to be designed.
    3) I don't care about others becoming better at it - do you?
    Not on a personal level, but from an organizational standpoint heck yes I always want to be better than the competition, I always want to learn the new stuff before the other guy. Maybe not always ME but certainly someone in my organization
    I think 10 years of hands-on work are enough.
    Hands-on, what does that mean anyway. Whatever I do I am hands-on with it. Hands-on consulting, hands-on business analysis, hands-on performance troubleshooting, hands-on design, hands-on whatever. The reality is it there's another 25-30 years to go before I can retire, so I better keep up with current technology if I want to stay relevant. I don't mind at all, I like the challenge.

    Maybe you want to stop evolving, but that will make you an old man by the time you are 50 :mrgreen:

    The point I was trying to make was that people are artificially holding on to the existing report designer it seems because they feel that learning the new one is too difficult. All I am saying do so at your own peril because everyone else will be miles ahead of you before you realize that you are behind.
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