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An overview on Oracle BI Publisher

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

BI Publisher separates extracting data from the database from the presentation of that data in a report. This provides several advantages.
  • Output can be set to be PDF, Excel, Word, XBRL, XML without changing program that extracted the data.
  • The same data file can be used for preparing multiple reports.
  • Anybody proficient in Word or Excel can design the output.

The program for producing the XML file is called the Data Template. A portion of Oracle BI Publisher that takes the XML file as input and creates the report is the Report Template or Presentation Template. Since both pieces have template in the name, this can cause confusion. Any tool that can output XML can create the Data Template. This can be Oracle Reports, PL/SQL, JDeveloper etc. Data Templates can even contain embedded SQL to do further extract. Presentation Templates cannot contain SQL, cannot create XML and cannot add data to the template. Within the limits, reorder the data, reformatting it can be done and add conditions to exclude data in the XML file. Presentation Templates is created with common desktop tools like Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word. BI Publisher works with Office 2000, Office 2003 and Office 2007. Here we are using Microsoft Word 2007 to build the sample template. If you are using Office 2000 or Office 2003, the menus will be slightly different.

Three versions of BI Publisher are there.

The first version: This is the Desktop version, more commonly called the Template Builder. This is an add-in to Word or Adobe that allows you to build the templates. You can download the Enterprise version of the desktop BI Publisher from OTN (current version is and use it against the E-Business Suite embedded version as long as you don’t need to use pivot tables. Or you can download the E-Business Suite client side version from Meta Link. This will automatically download version of of the Enterprise version.

The other two versions reside on the database and are also called the Processing Engine. One is embedded in E-Business Suite. You may also hear the version referenced as XML Publisher or BI Publisher 5.6.3. This version of BI Publisher is included in your E-Business Suite license as long as you do not reference any custom tables or any custom columns added to Oracle tables.

The second version: that resides at the database level is BI Publisher Enterprise Edition. This version anyhow allows you to use any field in any table, and anyhow it requires additional licensing.Whether you use the E-Business Suite embedded version or the Enterprise version, it is this processing engine that merges the XML data with the Presentation or Report Template. The following three diagrams represent how the processing engine works.

Template Working

The above picture shows just a few of the formats that you can produce using the Template Builder. The Template Builder supports special formatting such as logos, charts and graphs, tables, and bar codes. It also supports the use of any special formatting offered by Word or Adobe.

The Processing Engine supports multiple methods of report delivery such as print, fax, email, and web. Reports can be burst according to your defined criteria and each section delivered to a different person. BI Publisher is a Great improvement over the traditional method of writing and delivering reports.


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