You can use Oracle BI Publisher, the pixel perfect reporting solution for authoring, managing, and delivering all your highly formatted documents, such as operational reports, electronic funds transfer documents, government PDF forms, shipping labels, checks, sales, and marketing letters.
What Is a Data Model?
A data model is an object that contains a set of instructions to retrieve and structure data for a pixel perfect report. Data models reside as separate objects in the catalog.
A data model can be simple with one data set retrieved from a single data source (for example, the data returned from the columns in the employees table) or can be complex with parameters, triggers, and bursting definitions and using multiple data sets.
Use the data model editor to build a data model.
Components of a Data Model
A data model supports the following components:
A data set contains the logic to retrieve data from a single data source. A data set can retrieve data from a variety of data sources (for example, a database, an existing data file, a Web service call to another application, or a URL/URI to an external data provider). A data model can have multiple data sets from multiple sources.
A trigger checks for an event. When the event occurs the trigger runs the PL/SQL code associated with it. The data model editor supports before data and after data triggers as well as schedule triggers. Before data and after data triggers consist of a call to execute a set of functions defined in a PL/SQL package stored in an Oracle database. A schedule trigger is executed for scheduled reports and tests for a condition that determines whether or not to run a scheduled report job.
A flexfield is a structure specific to Oracle Applications. The data model editor supports retrieving data from flexfield structures defined in your Oracle Application database tables.
Lists of values
A list of values is a menu of values from which report consumers can select parameter values to pass to the report.
A parameter is a variable whose value can be set at runtime. The data model editor supports several parameter types.
Bursting is a process of splitting data into blocks, generating documents for each data block, and delivering the documents to one or more destinations. A single bursting definition provides the instructions for splitting the report data, generating the document, and delivering the output to its specified destinations.
Custom Metadata (for Web Content Servers)
If you have configured a Web content server as a delivery destination and enabled custom metadata, the Custom Metadata component displays in the data model editor. Use this component to map data fields from your data model to the custom metadata fields set up for a set of rules defined in a Content Profile.
Features of the Data Model Editor
Use the data model editor to combine data from multiple data sets from different data sources such as SQL, Excel files, Web services, HTTP feeds, and other applications into a single XML data structure. You can use data sets that are unrelated or establish a relationship between the data sets using a data link.
The data model editor enables you to perform the following tasks:
Link data - Define master- detail links between data sets to build a hierarchical data model.
Aggregate data - Create group level totals and subtotals.
Transform data - Modify source data to conform to business terms and reporting requirements.
Create calculations - Compute data values that are required for your report that are not available in the underlying data sources.
Overview for Report Designers
A report consists of a data model, a layout, and a set of properties.
Optionally, a report may also include a style template and a set of translations. A report designer performs the following tasks:
Design the layout for the report. The layout can be created using a variety of tools. The output and design requirements of a particular report determine the best layout design tool. Options include the Layout Editor, which is a Web-based layout design tool and enables interactive output, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Excel, and Adobe Flexbuilder.
Set runtime configuration properties for the report.
Design style templates to enhance a consistent look and feel of reports in your enterprise.
Create subtemplates to re-use common functionality across multiple templates.
Enable translations for a report.
About the Layout Types
BI Publisher offers several options for designing layouts for reports.
The layout type determines the types of output documents supported. The following formats are supported.
BI Publisher layout (XPT)
BI Publishers Layout Editor is a Web-based design tool for creating layouts. Layouts created with the Layout Editor support interactive viewing as well as the full range of output types supported by RTF layouts.
Rich Text Format (RTF)
BI Publisher provides a plug-in utility for Microsoft Word that automates layout design and enables you to connect to BI Publisher to access data and upload templates directly from a Microsoft Word session. The RTF format also supports advanced formatting commands providing the most flexible and powerful of the layout options. RTF templates support a variety of output types.
Portable Document Format (PDF)
PDF templates are used primarily when you must use a predefined form as a layout for a report (for example, a form provided by a government agency). Because many PDF forms already contain form fields, using the PDF form as a template simply requires mapping data elements to the fields that exist on the form. You can also design PDF templates using Adobe Acrobat Professional. PDF templates support only PDF output.
Microsoft Excel (XLS)
Excel templates enable you to map data and define calculations and formatting logic in an Excel workbook. Excel templates support Microsoft Excel (.xls) output only.
Layouts can also be defined directly in XSL formatting language. Specify whether the layout is for Data (CSV), Data (XML), FO Formatted XML, HTML, Text, or XML transformation.
These are specialized RTF templates used for creating text output for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) transactions.
BI Publishers support for Flash layouts enables you to develop Adobe Flex templates that can be applied to BI Publisher reports generating interactive Flash output documents.