When we're selecting our information to create a report in Crystal, we have to understand the type of connection in the background, whether it be a Report Wizard, or a Blank Report, the first screen that we get to is our Database Expert, that is asking us for the Data Source. Here's where we need to know the type of data that we are actually going to connect to. Where is your data coming from? Is it coming from an Access or Excel spreadsheet? Are you using an ODBC connection? Do you have another SAP database? Or are you actually getting your information from Outlook? These are all questions that we have to address first. Very often we're not quite sure of our data. Here's where you want to contact your administrator. Now if you are the administrator, you may need to talk to your networking administrator, to find out the connection type. Very often we can make the connection work through database files or guess work, but our best effort is going to be put into finding out the correct database source. This is just going to help with speed, help with the stability of the data itself. Let's talk about some of the most common formats that we'll see. Let's start with Access Excel. Now although this is saying Access and Excel, when I go into the New Connection, and I choose the database type, I'd like you to note that it really stands for Applications, they're really more like database access objects. You'll notice Paradox, Lotus, HTML, Excel, DBase, Access. Now another thing you need to be aware of, if you are on an older version of Crystal, you may not be able to work with the most recent version of Excel. If for instance you're using Excel 2010, notice that you do not see it on this list. You will actually have to convert your file to a.XLS format. It is only the most recent version of Crystal that can work with the newer Microsoft programs, and if you think about it, it's logic. The newer version of Microsoft didn't exist when Crystal Reports 8.0, or 10, was created. Let's cancel out of this screen, and go back to our Connection Screen. Some examples of items that you'll hear about. Let's start with the ODBC. This stands for Object Database Connectivity. It's often called Open Database Connectivity also. The Data Sources here have been previously configured on your machine. This is a component of Windows. Windows Works is a giant translator between our databases. Here you would connect to the exact link that was set up in this ODBC Configuration. If you go into this tool, in your Control Panel, and there are no connections, then you know that's not the correct choice. Right underneath, you'll see a selection called OLAP. This stands for Online Analytical Processing, here we are going to connect through a browser, to previously saved OLAP Cubes. Online Analytical Processing is a type of business intelligence, it's also very much associated with data warehousing, and data mining. As the amount of information that we use grows, so to is the complexities. When we're working with this OLAP Cube, we're working in a multi dimensional environment. Think for example of a Rubiks Cube. When you think of a Rubiks Cube, you have all the little square cubes contained within it. Pretend that all has data stored in it. We really have to do a three dimensional approach to getting at that data. Gone is the simple spreadsheet of just columns and rows. When we're doing this, the cube must have been set up first. You will always have the OLAP established, when you're working with this connection. Now under you'll see OLEDB, this stands for our Object Linking or Embedding. Here we are once again connecting to a previously configured provider. Very often we're working with some legacy programs here, for instance, in SQL Server, or SQL Server, we have our servers, and then we have a native server. Native refers to the fact that all of our different servers on the domain, are using the same version. Occasionally though, we have different versions throughout our domain. In this particular case, we can't use a native connection. We'll go into these OLEDB Connections at that time. Now if you're working with business objects in their enterprise arena, you can also use a repository. Once again, you'll have the specific software that ties to this connection. The key here is knowing where your data comes from. Once you know where your data's come from, then you can actually go ahead and connect to it. You'll notice that I can go into Act, which is a very commonly used Contact Manager. You'll see Oracle, you'll see Outlook, you'll see PeopleSoft, there is a host of connections that are available, your job? Know where your database lives.
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