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Oracle Reports:An Introduction

Oracle Reports:An Introduction
Oracle Reports, the high-fidelity enterprise reporting tool, enables businesses to give immediate access to information to all levels within and outside of the organization in a scalable and secure environment. Using Oracle Reports, you can publish information from any data source, in any format (PDF, HTML, printed, XML, etc.), to any destination (Web, Portal, e-mail, file, etc.) in a scalable, efficient manner.
The main features are:
  • You can access data from any data source
  • You can obtain the report data in a graphical representation by a query builder
  • You can use default report templates or you can customize it if needed
  • A live editor that allows you to modify paper report layouts in WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) mode
  • The ability to add dynamic report output to an HTML page by embedding custom JavaServer Page (JSP) tags within an HTML document
  • You can graphically represent report data with the help of  integrated chart builder
  • You can use various web publishing tools that dynamically generate Web pages based on your data
  • You can show the report data in various formats such as HTML, HTMLCSS, XML, PDF, PCL (Printer Control Language), Postscript, and ASCII
  • Support for run-time customization
  • You can execute dynamic SQL statements within PL/SQL procedures
  • Seamless integration of Oracle Reports with OracleAS Portal for administering report security
  • The ability to publish report output to portlets
Designing Reports
Before you create a report using any report-writing software, you must first consider the type of report that you are being asked to produce. You will have a specification of the needs, required output, and the expected publishing medium, but you also need to know the underlying structure that supports the requirement and the most efficient way to retrieve data.

Common report styles
The majority of report requirements fall into the following categories:
  • Tabular: One group
  • Master-detail: Master-detail hierarchy (may be several levels)
  • Master and multiple details: Two or more detail groups at the same level
  • Matrix: Two masters, one detail
Running a Report
There are many ways of running a report, depending on the application design. You can call a report from:
  • A Web browser
  • An OracleAS Portal application
  • The command line, using the Start > Run option in Windows
  • The OracleAS Reports Queue Manager
  • A Java application
  • A database trigger
  • A customized menu in a Forms application
  • A button in a Forms application
Supported File Types
  • RDF: Report Definition File: binary file containing source code
  • REP: Report: binary file without source code
  • JSP: JavaServer Page format
  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language
Reports Builder Modules
The Reports Builder interface enables you to create a number of different types of modules, and it provides a Report Editor in which you can view the structure and objects in a report module. The Reports Builder module types are:
  • Report: A report definition
  • Template: A skeleton definition containing common style and standards
  • PL/SQL Library: A stand-alone library containing PL/SQL program units—procedures, functions, packages—that can be called from multiple reports
Report Data and Layout
A report definition defines two main parts of a report and brings them together in the output.
  • Data: Data structure and data to be displayed
  • Layout: Formatting information about how the data appears in the output
Each report module can have a data model, a paper layout, and a Web layout. The data model, as well as program units, can be shared by the paper and Web layouts.
A report can consist of:
  • A data model and a paper layout.
  • A data model and a Web layout.
  • A data model, a paper layout, and a Web layout.
Reports Builder Components
Object Navigator
The Object Navigator is a hierarchical browsing and editing interface that enables you to locate and manipulate application objects quickly and easily.
Report Editor
The Report Editor contains different views to help you handle the data objects and layout objects for Web and paper reports.
Property Inspector
All objects in a module, including the module itself, have properties that you can see and modify in the Property Inspector.
PL/SQL Editor
The PL/SQL Editor enables you to create and compile program units such as procedures, functions, and packages within the current report.
Wizards in Reports Builder
Wizards provide an easy step-by-step interface for commonly performed tasks. The wizards in Reports Builder are:
  • Report Wizard: The Report Wizard guides you through the steps to create a basic paper report. Each page of the wizard asks you for information to help you create your initial report.
  • Data Wizard: This wizard helps you quickly define or modify a query for a multiquery data models.
  • Graph Wizard: You can add a variety of charts and graphs, including true 3-dimensional graphs, to a report using the Graph Wizard. Charting is implemented in Reports Builder with the Oracle BI graph bean.
  • Report Block Wizard: This wizard enables you to quickly create a JSP report by embedding report data into a Web page using Reports custom JSP tags.
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