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Crystal Report or MS Word?

P: n/a
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...

I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works

OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you

end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.

As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole

issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the

way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of

a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.
I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any

or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database

method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a

user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?
Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar

Sep 30 '06 #1
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5 Replies


P: n/a
I used VB6.0 and have now upgraded to VB.Net. I have always used Word to
store large documents. No problems, but you need to learn how to stick things
into word objects - like text boxes, word tables, referencing those tables
and paragraphs.
You can even have the word document look for things in your DB on opening.
If you are good at VB this should be easy

"jmar" wrote:
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...

I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works

OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you

end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.

As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole

issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the

way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of

a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.
I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any

or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database

method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a

user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?
Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar

Sep 30 '06 #2

P: n/a
I might be missing something here, but why not just handle the
creation, editing, and emailing of the quotes from within your app?
Things like email and printing are *much* easier in .Net than they were
in VB6. Doing everything from the app would also allow you to batch the
records into the database whenever a change is made - therefore keeping
the database accurate (and allowing your clients to use all the
benefits of MS Access).

Just my 2 cents,

Seth Rowe
Joseph wrote:
I used VB6.0 and have now upgraded to VB.Net. I have always used Word to
store large documents. No problems, but you need to learn how to stick things
into word objects - like text boxes, word tables, referencing those tables
and paragraphs.
You can even have the word document look for things in your DB on opening.
If you are good at VB this should be easy

"jmar" wrote:
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...

I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works

OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you

end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.

As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole

issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the

way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of

a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.
I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any

or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database

method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a

user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?
Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar
Oct 1 '06 #3

P: n/a
Seth,

Can you provide some more details? I don't understand what type of
file you'd write the database fields to and how you would allow
editing/e-mail from that file.

Any additional insight would be much appreciated!
Jmar
rowe_newsgroups wrote:
I might be missing something here, but why not just handle the
creation, editing, and emailing of the quotes from within your app?
Things like email and printing are *much* easier in .Net than they were
in VB6. Doing everything from the app would also allow you to batch the
records into the database whenever a change is made - therefore keeping
the database accurate (and allowing your clients to use all the
benefits of MS Access).

Just my 2 cents,

Seth Rowe
Joseph wrote:
I used VB6.0 and have now upgraded to VB.Net. I have always used Word to
store large documents. No problems, but you need to learn how to stick things
into word objects - like text boxes, word tables, referencing those tables
and paragraphs.
You can even have the word document look for things in your DB on opening.
If you are good at VB this should be easy

"jmar" wrote:
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...
>
I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works
>
OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you
>
end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.
>
As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole
>
issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the
>
way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of
>
a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.
>
>
I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any
>
or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database
>
method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a
>
user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?
>
>
Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar
>
>
Oct 1 '06 #4

P: n/a

I would create a form in vb.NET and allow users too add/edit the data
in the database before creating the report. Once the data has been
finalized and you have updated the database, then send the data to
crystal and either export it to PDF and email it or Print it.

I do this all day long, so if you need some code examples, let me know.

For instance, I have a form with textboxes, users add/edit data and the
data gets saved to the database. Then they click an "Email Invoice"
button and the data gets dumped into a crystal report and saved as a
PDF file. I then attach the pdf to an email "System.Net.Mail" and send
it out in an HTML formated email.

Easy stuff.

I also keep the PDF file for record keeping purposes. Because someone
could go in the next day and change the data in the database.

Izzy

jmar wrote:
Seth,

Can you provide some more details? I don't understand what type of
file you'd write the database fields to and how you would allow
editing/e-mail from that file.

Any additional insight would be much appreciated!
Jmar
rowe_newsgroups wrote:
I might be missing something here, but why not just handle the
creation, editing, and emailing of the quotes from within your app?
Things like email and printing are *much* easier in .Net than they were
in VB6. Doing everything from the app would also allow you to batch the
records into the database whenever a change is made - therefore keeping
the database accurate (and allowing your clients to use all the
benefits of MS Access).

Just my 2 cents,

Seth Rowe
Joseph wrote:
I used VB6.0 and have now upgraded to VB.Net. I have always used Word to
store large documents. No problems, but you need to learn how to stick things
into word objects - like text boxes, word tables, referencing those tables
and paragraphs.
You can even have the word document look for things in your DB on opening.
If you are good at VB this should be easy
>
"jmar" wrote:
>
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...

I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works

OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you

end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.

As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole

issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the

way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of

a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.


I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any

or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database

method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a

user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?


Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar
Oct 1 '06 #5

P: n/a
Unfortunately, I don't know enough of the details of your app, to help
on the design part, but everything you need for emailing is in the
System.Net.Mail namespace. The following website will walk you through
it:

http://www.systemnetmail.com/
I don't understand what type of file you'd write the database fields to and how you would allow editing/e-mail from that file.
Actually, I wasn't suggesting a different file, I meant you should
design a form that would provide all the functionality your clients
need. If you could provide some more details of what the form needs to
do (like which parts the user does, what calculations are made, what
you want the app to look like, etc) I could give you some more
suggestions. Basically, the point I was trying to get across is that
you can build just about anything with VB.Net, (including a MS Word
replacement if you have the time and knowledge) so you don't have to
rely on outside programs to accomplish all your goals.

Thanks,

Seth Rowe
jmar wrote:
Seth,

Can you provide some more details? I don't understand what type of
file you'd write the database fields to and how you would allow
editing/e-mail from that file.

Any additional insight would be much appreciated!
Jmar
rowe_newsgroups wrote:
I might be missing something here, but why not just handle the
creation, editing, and emailing of the quotes from within your app?
Things like email and printing are *much* easier in .Net than they were
in VB6. Doing everything from the app would also allow you to batch the
records into the database whenever a change is made - therefore keeping
the database accurate (and allowing your clients to use all the
benefits of MS Access).

Just my 2 cents,

Seth Rowe
Joseph wrote:
I used VB6.0 and have now upgraded to VB.Net. I have always used Word to
store large documents. No problems, but you need to learn how to stick things
into word objects - like text boxes, word tables, referencing those tables
and paragraphs.
You can even have the word document look for things in your DB on opening.
If you are good at VB this should be easy
>
"jmar" wrote:
>
I posted a week ago and received one response. I'm looking for the
opinion of several experienced .NET people before I proceed so I'm
posting again. Sorry for the repost...

I am updating a VB4.0 quote generation program to VB.net. The old
program takes user inputs, performs calculations, saves the data to
Access databases and uses Crystal Reports 5.0 to generate a quote. A
while back users obviously wanted to be able to edit/e-mail the quote
(these ancient Cyrstal 5.0 reports don't allow PDF creation) so I
modified the old VB4.0 code to allow users to save the Crystal Report
as Word document which they can then edit/e-mail from Word. This works

OK but there are two big downfalls: 1) the initial report data is
saved in the database and the modifications made in Word are not so you

end up with database data that isn't accurate 2) The conversion of
the Crystal Report to Word is clunky - the Word document that is
generated is touchy when it comes to editing - blocks of data move in
an unpredictable fashion when data is added.

As I upgrade this program to VB.net, I am trying to clean up this whole

issue. Users have loved the ability to edit/e-mail so I'm thinking the

way to go in VB.net is to forego storing in databases and simply have
my application fill in a Word Template with the quote data. Instead of

a database with quote data, they end up with a collection of Word
Documents, each representing an individual quote.


I need some input - feel free to offer your comments/suggestions on any

or all of the following:
1) Is this a good idea? Am I overlooking an advantage to the database

method?
2) Does anyone have any links/samples that show me how to easily fill
a Word Template from VB.Net 2003?
3) Can I set up the Bill of Material part of my template such that if a

user changes the cost of a line item the TOTAL is changed at the
bottom? If so, how?
4) Has anyone who has done this before have any words of
wisdom/experiences they could share as to the difficulty/issues they
faced?


Thanks in advance for any help...
Jmar
Oct 1 '06 #6

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