Oracle BI Publisher (OBIP)

To write an article or say to deliver a presentation or to start with a Tutorial got to follow the long-lived custom of defining the Subject first.. So here I’m on the ride for defining the definition :)..

What is Oracle BI Publisher?

A template-based desktop publishing application. Oracle BI Publisher was created by Oracle and was first used in its E-Business Suite; it was then bundled with the PeopleSoft Suite a few years ago. BI Publisher improves reporting by defining a Roadmap which can be a as simple as a Word Doc or Adobe. The data to the template is passed using XML Source code files been loaded as the input BI allows users to have control over the existing reports without any major changes to associated JDE reports/UBE.
Oracle BI Publisher leverages standard, well-known technologies and tools, so that you can rapidly develop and maintain custom report formats.
The flexibility of Oracle BI Publisher is a result of the separation of the report layout from the data. The collection of the data is still handled by JD Edwards EnterpriseOne; however, you can design and control how the report outputs are presented in separate template files. At runtime, Oracle BI Publisher merges your designed template files with the report data to create a variety of outputs to meet a variety of business needs, including:

  • Customer-ready PDF documents, such as financial statements, marketing materials, contracts, invoices, and purchase orders using colors, images, font styles, headers and footers, and many other formatting and design options.
  • Excel output to create a spreadsheet of your report data.
  • Third-party provided PDF documents. You can download a PDF document, such as a government form, to use as a template for your report. At runtime, the data and template produce a completed form.
  • Flat text files to exchange with business partners for electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic file transfer (EFT) transmissions.

You can define batch applications that are created using JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Report Design Aid to produce XML output that is compatible with Oracle BI Publisher using output stream access (OSA) interfaces. While some of the standard JD Edwards EnterpriseOne reports work well with little or no modification, many of the large and complex reports require considerable programming at the template level in order to be used successfully with Oracle BI Publisher.

Benefits of Oracle BI Publisher :

Oracle BI Publisher provides the following benefits:

  1. It enables end users to create report layouts using familiar desktop applications.
  2. Enables end users to format batch application output using Oracle XML
  3. BI Publisher supports the Oracle technology stack.
  4. It provides a reporting solution migration path for Oracle Fusion.

One good thing which I like about BI pub is that: End users can easily carry out the changes to the reports if required on the spot with minimal Development help.

Understanding BI Publisher :

Introduction

Many customers today have very strong business requirements in the reporting area around the e-Business Suite. These include:

  • High Fidelity Reports
    These reports are rich in images, charts; multiple fonts and colors are a very desirable feature for reports when they are to be distributed in and outside the company.
  • Partner Reports
    These include Invoices, Purchase Orders and Checks, which require ‘rich’ content and are currently highly customized.
  • Financial Statements
    Financial statements need to be presented to shareholders and upper management in a high fidelity format; your accounts would rather see them in Microsoft Excel.
  • Government Forms
    Many government agencies now demand that you interact with them in a specific format e.g. tax forms.
  • Marketing Materials
    The marketing materials generated by companies require rich personalized content.
  • Contracts
  • Interacting with your customers and suppliers often requires written contracts that need to be presented in a high fidelity format.
  • Checks
    The checks you send to employees and suppliers require a specific format and even ink so that their banks are able to process them.
  • Labels
    Any company generating product will need to label it often including a barcode.
  • XML
    B2B interaction requires XML as the format and this may require a transformation of one xml format to another.
  • EFT/EDI
    Electronic File Transfer (EFT) and (EDI) are formats used to communicate with your banks and partners.
  • Multiple Destinations
    Of course all of these documents then need to be delivered to a report consumer be that via email, fax or printer.
Examples of sample documents generated by XML Publisher

Examples of sample documents generated by XML Publisher

The flexibility is increased further by XML Publisher’s ability to extract translatable strings from the report templates, allowing you to add translations to a report, independent of the layout and independent of the data generation.

With the approach of separating the data from the layout from the translation, it is possible to make changes in one of these layers without impacting the entire report package.

XML Publisher Paradigm

XML Publisher Paradigm

Template and Output Types

XML Publisher supports two basic Templates types: Rich text format (RTF) and Portable document file format (PDF). At runtime, XML Publisher converts RTF template to XSL-FO, Therefore XSL-FO is also supported as a template type.


XML Publisher’s Template Builder for Word

XML Publisher’s Template Builder for Word

RTF templates can be created in Microsoft Word. Using a combination of native Microsoft Word features and XML Publisher command syntax you can create a report template that is ready to accept XML data from your system.

RTF templates can generate the following output types:

  • PDF
  • HTML
  • RTF
  • Excel
  • XML

RTF Design Tool

XML Publisher provides a plug-in for Microsoft Word to facilitate the design of RTF templates. It automates many tasks and provides preview capabilities. The desktop installation also includes samples and tutorials to get you started. The following figure shows the Template Builder for Word.

eText Templates

An eText template is a specialized type of RTF template used expressly for the generation of text output for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transactions. To achieve the specialized layout, XML Publisher uses tables to define the position, length, and value of fields, as well as data manipulation commands. At runtime XML Publisher constructs the output file according to the setup commands and layout specifications in the tables of the RTF template file.

PDF Templates

PDF templates are designed using Adobe Acrobat. You can use a PDF file from any source, including downloaded predefined forms (such as government forms). Using Acrobat’s form fields, map your data source element names to the PDF fields where you want the data to appear. PDF templates are less flexible than RTF templates, but are more appropriate for creating form-like reports, such as invoices or purchase orders.

Translation Support

For RTF templates that you want available in different languages, XML Publisher provides the capability to extract the translatable strings from the template and export them to an industry-standard XLIFF file. The XLIFF file can then be translated in-house or shipped to a localization provider. You create one XLIFF file for each language and territory combination (locale) desired. The translated XLIFF files can then be loaded back to your system and associated with the original template file. At runtime, XML Publisher applies the template and translation appropriate for the user’s selected locale.

XML Essentials :

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. XML was designed to transport and store data, with focus on what data is.

  • XML files are composed of “elements”. An element is used to describe or contain a piece of information.
  • Elements consist of two tags: an “opening tag” and a “closing tag”. Opening tags appear as text contained between the two angle brackets (). Closing tags also appear within angle brackets, but they have a forward slash (/) just before the tag name.
  • The data between the tags (text and/or numeric) is the “value” of the element.

<AddressNumber_ID4>        903066                <AddressNumber_ID4>
(Opening tag)                         (Element value)              (Closing tag)

Knowledge of XML is not a prerequisite for being able to successfully create reports in BI Publisher; however, familiarity with XML will help with the more intricate reports that you create. If you interested in knowing more about XML,then can refer to a site which gives detailed info.
Link : http://www.w3schools.com/xml/

Understanding the XML Output/Source Code :

Some of the components that should consider when review XML outputs are:

  • Section tags.
  • Item tags.
  • Special characters.
  • Formatted numbers.
  • Page headers and page footers.
  • Level break sections.
  • Conditional sections.
  • Child sections.
  • Report properties.

Section Tags

Section tags are determined by the name that is specified in Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Report Design Aid (RDA). The name that you see in the XML file is the same as the name found in the Description field of the Section Properties form.
Because multiple sections in an RDA report template can be named the same, the section tag in the XML file is appended with a section ID. The section ID is assigned by RDA to ensure that each report section is unique. The section ID is retrieved from the report specifications and cannot be modified.
This is an example of the sections that are included in the XML output for the address book report task covered in this guide:

<Page_Header_S1>

<Address_Book-One_Line_Report_S2>

S1, the page header, is the first report section from the RDA report template. S2, the detail section, is the second report section included in the RDA report template. Address Book – One Line Report is the name of the detail section as defined in RDA. Ten records are included in this report as indicated by the ten S2 lines.

Item Tags

Item tags that you see in the XML file are determined by the data dictionary name of the fields used in the RDA report template. An exception to this rule is that if the data dictionary name has been overridden in RDA, then the override is used as the item tag.
Because multiple data items in an RDA report template can be named the same, the item tag in the XML file is appended with an object ID. The object ID is assigned by RDA to ensure that each report object is unique. The object ID is retrieved from the report specifications and cannot be modified.
This is an example of an individual section included in the XML output.

<A_P_Detail_Reports_S1> {This is the Business View Name used in the report}

<AddressNumber_ID4>903066</AddressNumber_ID4>

<AmountGross_ID6>0.00</AmountGross_ID6>

</A_P_Detail_Reports_S1>

- <A_P_Detail_Reports_S1>

<AddressNumber_ID4>903066</AddressNumber_ID4>

<AmountGross_ID6>42800.00</AmountGross_ID6>

</A_P_Detail_Reports_S1>

- <A_P_Detail_Reports_S1>

<AddressNumber_ID4>903066</AddressNumber_ID4>

<AmountGross_ID6>-1080.00</AmountGross_ID6>

</A_P_Detail_Reports_S1>

When the node of an S1 section is expanded, you can view the item tags of the individual record. Each piece of data is enclosed within descriptive item tags that include the object ID.

Special Characters

Many special characters that are used in RDA and included in EnterpriseOne data are replaced in the XMLPOSA interface output. For example:

“>” is replaced with “&gt”.
’&’ is replaced with “&amp”.
Apostrophes are replaced with “&apos”.
Quotes are replaced with “&quot”.

Other special characters that are prohibited, as defined in the XML 1.0 specifications, are replaced with an underscore.

Formatted Numbers

Numbers are formatted in the Oracle XML Publisher output using JAVA BigDecimal String format. This formatting consists of an optional sign (“–”) followed by a sequence of decimal digits. These digits can be followed by a fraction and additionally by an exponent, for example, –123456.3455e-3.

Page Headers and Page Footers

Information that is contained in page headers and page footers of RDA reports is grouped together at the top of the XML file. This ensures that the headers and footers do not break up the report data. Design your reports in RDA without including page headers and page footers. You should design the page headers and page footers in the XML template.
This is an example of the page header that is included in the XML output for the address book report task covered in this guide:

<PageHeaders>

- <Page_Header_S1>

<Company_Name_ID10>JD Edwards, Inc.</Company_Name_ID10>

<Report_Name_ID11>One Line Per Address</Report_Name_ID11>

</Page_Header_S1>

</PageHeaders>

Level Break Sections

Level break sections are used in RDA to group large amounts of data into manageable groups. Level break headers typically display a descriptive heading for the group while the level break footer typically displays an aggregate. These level break sections appear in the XML file as parents of the section on which they were created.

Conditional Sections

Conditional sections appear in the XML file at the root level. They do not appear as children of the section from which they are called.

Child Sections

Child sections appear in the XML file as children of the section from which they are called.

Report Properties
The following report properties are included in the XML file for auditing and informational purposes:

• Machine key
• Environment
• Role
• User
• Hostname
• OneWorld release //This is the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne application release.
• Report time
• Reportdate
• Company name
• Language
This is an example of the report properties that are included in the XML output for the address book report .

<Properties>

<Title>One Line Per Address</Title>

<Machine>DENSNBX01</Machine>

<Host>DENSNBX01</Host>

<Environment>STGAIMGS1</Environment>

<User>JDE</User>

<Role>*ALL</Role>

<Language>EN<Language />

<Company>JD Edwards, Inc.</Company>

<OneWorldRelease>E90</OneWorldRelease>

<Date>2006/4/27</Date>

<Time>8:41:43</Time>

</Properties>

Coming soon :) A tutorial on “Creating a RTF template”

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