BI Publisher Highlighted.

Posted by Vimarsh Ganju
July 25th, 2008

I want a single application to print my reports, invoices, checks, labels etc. and also want the same application to send these to different destinations like printer, fax and e-mail. These reports should contain:

  • Graphs
  • Tables in highly formatted fashion like table headers should be repeated on each page
  • Section totals
  • Page totals
  • Should have headers and footers
  • Should have conditional formatting
  • Cross Tab Support
  • Easy to create templates

These are my requirements for reporting. All of these can be fulfilled very easily in Analytics dashboards, but, when it comes to printing, dashboard is not a very good choice. For these reports BI Publisher is a perfect solution. Oracle BI Publisher is a Standalone and Platform Independent reporting tool which creates highly formatted printable reports. Oracle BI Publisher uses Template for formatting purpose .Templates can be created in MSWORD, ACROBAT, EXCEL and many other Formatting Tools.
It takes the data from the source, formats it suitably using Template and prints it in different formats such as PDF, EXCEL and HTML.

The Formatted Reports can be published over Printer, Fax or Internet.Oracle BI Publisher overcomes the shortcomings of Siebel Analytics when it comes to Printing of a Report. It provides a unified solution to the above mentioned requirements, hence reduces cost, complexity and manpower.

It can use data from any source which provides JDBC connection like HTTP XML feeds, web services, file data sources. It is pre integrated with OBIEE Suit. You can also use requests developed in OBIEE as the sources of data for BI Publisher.

Data sources for BI Publisher.
BI Publisher can have many sources like OBIEE, Oracle Database, SQL Server, XML and various other data sources are supported by BI Publisher.

  • SQL Query: A connection to a database has to be specified for SQL Query. Then a query to retrieve the required data is fired on the database. Bi Publisher also provides a feature called Query Builder.
  • BI Answers: It uses Dashboard requests as the data source.
  • Web service: It uses a web service which returns data as its data source.

Creating report templates in BI Publisher
Report templates can be created in RTF Format as well as PDF format. To create templates in RTF format you need to have any text editor with RTF support like MS Word, for PDF template, you need to have any tool which gives facility of PDF creation like Adobe Acrobat Professional.On installation, the BI Publisher Template Builder integrates itself with MS Word.

To create a simple RTF template, load the XML containing your sample data by clicking Data->Load XML Data on Template builder toolbar. Once the data is loaded, you can put the data fields in the template. You can provide groupings, conditional formatting and conditional regions. We can also use the wizard to create tables, crosstabs, and charts. Preview of the report is possible with sample data available in PDF, RTF, PPT, HTML and Excel formats. After creating these templates, these templates have to be uploaded to the server to be used by the report. The output format of reports can also be restricted; we can tell the BI Publisher to output report as only PDF and no other format.

Other features of BI Publisher

  • Provides a facility of LOV (List of Values) so that data in a report can be filtered according the value selected in LOV.
  • Different layouts for same report are supported.
  • Bursting, split a report based on a key in the report data and deliver a report based on the second key in the report data.

— Inputs from Anand M

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