Oracle BI Publisher Tutorial

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As of 2023,  we see that there is a  high need for organizations to manage organizational activities efficiently. Managing large volumes of databases and retrieving the information, analyzing the data and reports has become tedious task in the current era of Living.  Hence, the organizations are looking for solutions that would help the Enterprise to perform the reporting task efficiently.  The Oracle business intelligence Publisher is one of the enterprise reporting solutions that are most demanding and reputed in the current times. In this Oracle BI Publisher tutorial, you will learn about Oracle BI Publisher, features, advantages, etc.

Oracle BI Publisher Tutorial - Table of Contents:

What is Oracle BI Publisher?

Oracle BI Publisher was formerly called an XML Publisher. Oracle BI Publisher is referred to as an enterprise reporting solution, and document output management solution developed by Oracle. The reporting formats are designed by making use of Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. These are the tools that most of users are familiar with.  The Oracle BI Publisher allows you to create multiple reports from the different data sources available.

Oracle BI Publisher is referred to as a stand-alone reporting product that is integrated with the Oracle business intelligence suite enterprise edition. It will allow you to log in to the BI Publisher and help in creating the reports using the different data sources that are available such as Web Services, files, RSS feeds, Oracle database, etc. It also allows you to create parameterized reports.

Oracle BI Publisher will help in streamlining the reports and form generation. One of the most important features of the Oracle BI Publisher product is that the data extraction process is separated from the report layout.  The  Oracle BI Publisher will allow you to perform the designing and creation of the report layout templates by making use of the most common desktop applications like Adobe and Word as mentioned earlier.  Using a single template, it is flexible to generate multiple reports in many different formats.  It could be either in HTML, PDF, Excel, RTF, and so on. With the Oracle BI Publisher, the reporting will lead to a reduction in the report maintenance, loving the business users to make adjustments to the report templates without any requirement for IT resources.

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Why Oracle BI Publisher?

Most of the companies will have different issues when it comes to reporting. Every organization has its own way of generating invoices, forms, reports, etc. Most of the organization will be facing this issue is that the data sources from different applications and the output has to be required in the form of different formats with the different delivery destinations as targets.

Oracle BI Publisher is just not a tool,  it is a complete reporting solution that helps in designing and creating highly formatted documents and reports. The most important feature that will keep it more significant is that reporting is simplified and managed better by separating the data,  translation, and layout.

Oracle BI Publisher is used to publish everything that the organization needs to operate like the invoices, customer statements, etc. Oracle BI Publisher can do the following things:

  • It will help you in designing your own dashboards.
  • It will help in creating the enterprise-class and ready reports in just a matter of minutes.
  • Help in making the work easier based on your requirement and act accordingly.
  • By making use of the robust scheduler,  it will help you to schedule the report output to be generated and delivered by using the bursting as your preferences. This has improved the flexiBIlity with more custom calendars, recurrence patterns, and also scalaBIlity.
  • It will help in generating and printing pixel-perfect reports.
  • Oracle BI Publisher also implements advanced security by making use of the features like role-based authentication, control over the printing and copying of the contents, PDF password protection, digital signatures, etc.

Data models and layouts:

A data model is usually referred to as the set of instructions that are given to the BI Publisher in order to retrieve the data and also structure the data so that the same can be married to the layout. A data model is referred to as an object that will help in extracting the data from the data source. The data model can include the list of the values, parameters which help in the filtering of the data in the later stages. App to create a data model directly from the Publisher screen by making use of the data model editor.

A Report layout in BI Publisher will help you in displaying the data in the user understandable format.  A report can have multiple numbers hello of layouts using One data model. There will be Complex layouts that can be created by making use of a powerful template builder which is an add-on for Microsoft Word and Excel.  There are also some other tools that can be used to develop the layout.

There is no one-to-one relationship between the data model and layout.  They are brought together, tied up together at the runtime, and are found to be independent of each other.  There can be one model with multiple layouts or one layout and many data models.

What is translation?

Translation refers to the support of the multiple layouts.  BI Publisher provides extensible support to the multiple layouts of multiple translations.  You need to know that all the layers might look the same.  However, the language in the layout can be different. You will be able to figure out this when you will be uploading the layout templates

Accessing Oracle BI Publisher:

You are allowed to access the Oracle BI Publisher by logging into it with credentials or as a guest.

 Below is a process that you need to go through the new login with credentials:

  • You need to navigate to the URL that is provided by the administrator.
  • You need to select the language that you most prefer for the login page. The language selection will be applicable only for the current session of the BI Publisher.  When you log in to the Publisher for the next time then the original default language will be visible.
  • Enter the credentials, the username, and login and click on sign in.

Log in as a guest:

you will be able to login in as a gift only if your administrator has provided you with the guest access.  A guest user will not need any credentials to log in.  However, he will still have the privileges only to view the reports that are available in the folder that is specifically set up on the guest access.

Checkout our blog on Oracle BI Publisher Interview Questions

How to run the BI Publisher reports?

 The Publisher reports can be run in the following ways:

1.  Using the financial reporting centre: Financial reporting Centre is also called FRC. If you are going to run their Publisher reports using the FRC,  and then you need to ensure that you are initially running the report from the area called scheduled processes.

2.  Enterprise scheduler system of schedule processes:

Most of the BI Publisher reports can be run using the enterprise scheduler system or from the scheduled processes. This will be available to the business users depending upon their access roles. By using these schedule processes, the BI Publisher reports will be executed immediately or can be scheduled to run on schedule time like Business hours, etc.

You are also allowed to keep the tracking of the log of the jobs that are performed from the ESS and also will be able to access the output of the jobs that have been submitted. The users are allowed to access this interface by navigating to the navigator>  tools>  scheduled processes.  Most of the users will be having access to this interface, which will help them in running the standard reports for general ledger and sub-ledger applications.

3.  From inside and applications work area:  the BI Publisher reports can be executed from the work area which includes purchase orders, receivable transactions like credit memos, invoices, deBIt memos, etc.

4.  Directly from the BI Publisher: running the reports directly from the Publisher is not usually recommended. However, BI a Publisher processes capaBIlity to ensure that the reports are around the fly. In order to perform the action directly from the BA Publisher, then you will need to have the appropriate roles and access to do it.  The rows could be either the BI consumer or BI author, etc.


Generation of BI Publisher reports:

You need to know that a BI Publisher report comprises a data model, a data file, and a layout. The rater model includes information on the script that will help in extracting the actual data that is present in the data file and the layout will be then displaying the data before it is actually delivered.

 The step by step procedure for getting the data from the multiple data sources available is to create the data model which will help you in extracting the data into an XML file.  Let us take an example. You can write a SQL query and then that SQL Query will be extracting the data from the relational database or the database that is available.  This data will be written in an XML file. The layout template will be helping in displaying the XML data in the format that the business actually needs.  It could be either in a PDF, HTML,  spreadsheets, CSVs, text, etc.

You can also deliver it in a different number of ways like email,  printer, fax machine, database, or through e-commerce.

Oracle reporting versus BI Publisher:

Oracle reporting is usually referred to as the batch or scheduled reporting solution which maintains the execution environment and programming language like PL/SQL.

 Oracle reporting is a stable tool and most of the reports are built for Oracle EBS. Below is a list of some of the challenges faced during oracle reporting.

  • It is powerful but very complicated and difficult to use.
  • Oracle Reporting will need a significant learning curve even for a technical developer to get more proficient on the subject.
  • In Oracle reporting,  the translations are tedious.
  • There is a difficulty when you try to explore the data and usage of multiple formats for the same report.
  • Oracle reporting is a proprietary tool and is not based on open standards.

Applications offering Oracle BI Publisher:

Oracle BI Publisher is available as a  stand-alone application and also a part of OBIEE.  OBIEE  refers to the oracle business intelligence enterprise edition.

The Stand-Alone business intelligence Publisher does not require to be integrated into the fusion environment. It can be simply used,  and also allows you to manage the scheduling, administrative details, security that is required in order to manage the reports.

As a part of the oracle business intelligence enterprise edition, the business intelligence Publisher reports will be moving into the same depository as with the other BI projects, the functionalities are also the same as the standalone application. However, within the oracle business intelligence enterprise edition, you will be able to navigate to the Enterprise edition if you need to manage all the reports.


Benefits of Oracle BI Publisher:

Oracle BI Publisher is responsible for authorizing, managing, and delivering all the reports and documents in an easier way when compared with traditional offerings available. Below are the set of benefits in Oracle BI Publisher.

  • Separate layout, data logic, and translation:  Oracle BI  Publisher maintains separate data logic, layout, and translation which will help in easy maintenance and it also provides greater flexiBIlity to the users,  allowing them to reuse the same. BI Publisher is also compatible to provide its support to the multiple language templates against a single data set.
  • Highly formatted and interactive:  Oracle BI Publisher allows its user to view the report in an interactive mode to perform the lightweight and others and also generate the pixel-perfect reports.
  • Integrated with Oracle:  Oracle BI Publishers pre-integrated with Oracle and works seamlessly with PeopleSoft Enterprise, Hyperion planning, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, etc.
  • Better managed: Oracle BI Publisher provides support including multiple layouts for a single data set. This will further reduce the number of reports.
  • Scheduling and bursting:  Oracle BI Publisher also allows you to schedule a single report with personalized content to be delivered to different locations through the multiple output formats.
  • Hot-pluggable: Oracle BI Publisher is compatible to integrate with custom applications using web services or Java.
  • Flexible layout editor: Oracle BI Publisher allows you to create reports easily from any other data source along with a JDBC connection including the different web services like HTTP XML feeds, file data source, and web services.


Limitations in Oracle BI Publisher:

There are some limitations in Oracle BI Publisher.

  • Oracle BI Publisher does not allow converting format triggers. However, the code that is written into the log file is used for manual implementation.
  • Oracle BI Publisher does not allow converting the charts. Let us think that you are trying to create an RTF layout. You will use the template builder for building the word to create charts. If you choose to create the Publisher layout template, then you need to use the layout editor to create the chart.
  • Oracle BI Publisher does not allow you to convert matrix reports. If you would like to choose to create the RTF layout, then you need to use the template builder for the word pivot table wizard. If you choose to create the BI Publisher layout template, then I need to use the layout editor to create pivot tables.



As we see that there is a change in technology, we need to keep in mind that changing needs will require more enhancements. In the reporting world,  the Oracle BI Publisher is one of the strategic reporting solutions now.  It is very essential and adds value to you if you have knowledge about the subject in the Oracle. Oracle will always recommend its customers to adapt to the strategies that help in protecting the investment in traditional technology and also allow you too to utilize the new tools and technologies that have been adopted. Hence I would recommend you get trained and certified in Oracle business intelligence to attain the best career as business intelligence is the future now.

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