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    June 16, 2016

Firing Actions From Custom BI Analytics and Dashboards

Richard Bingham
Senior Development Manager

This article looks at building in a event-like action using a feature from the Oracle BI Enterprise Edition environment embedded in all Fusion Cloud Application environments. We consider this from an applications context and you can drill into much more detail using the related BI documentation mentioned at the end.

To not overlook an assumption, be aware that the process described applies to BI Analytics and not to BI Publisher reports. Analytics are designed to include these kinds of user interactions, whereas reports are intended to be more static for use in record keeping and printing.

The first big question is likely to be "So what actions can I fire from BI?". To whet your appetite below is the related menu. We'll look at how to get to this menu and what the options do in the remained of this article.


How To Add An Action

Actions can be added to specific analytics and also to dashboards. They can be invoked when a user clicks on almost anywhere on the BI-generated output, including on a value, a cell, a text label, or a chart. The actions may also be used standalone, put into a region of their own where they form a kind of custom menu. The features and general creation process is the same in all cases.

The first step is to create an analytic on which to add the interaction. In this example we simply use a Performance Tile View to display a total count of Opportunity records using the related Subject Area. Here is how that looks.

To expose this we added an Infolet and pick our new analytic from the Content Catalog. As shown below, this displays the total fine, however we want to take the user to our special portal page if they click on it. Of course we could take them to another BI report, an applications page via a deeplink, or have done something else, however the intent here is to clearly show the creation process.

In the Criteria tab on the BI Edit Analysis screen we open the Column Properties dialogue, as shown below. This provides many options - especially around formatting - but also an Interaction tab. Here we see the options to use Actions to define what happens when a user clicks the column and its value.


As shown above you need to select the Primary Interaction for the Column as 'Drill' else the value will not be hyperlinked. Once set, you configure the Value (within the
column) with one or more Action Links. Clicking the plus icon here is where the menu above appears, showing all the Action types you can add.

In this example we chose Navigate to a Web Page. As part of this (and most other action types) you can configure the transmission of run-time parameters. The following screen shows how you enter your URL and optionally Define Parameters to use. Notice the values can be from a user-entered prompt, from a variable, or simply from a column value from the analytic's own criteria.

Once defined and saved, we can refresh our infolet and see how the value becomes hyperlinked and our custom action is available.

As you may imagine, if you define multiple actions on the single column value they will show as a small menu to the user.




What the Actions Do



Note that because the Action Framework is in the BI technology not all action types can be configured for use in a Fusion Applications and Software-as-a-Service environment.

  • Invoke a HTTP Request: uses the exact same configuration screen as the URL request above, allowing you to define the same parameters.
  • Invoke a Web Service: This requires a SOAP-based service with a WSDL URL from which is determines the services and operations/methods available. As the name suggests, this is an invoke option only, with no support for storing or displaying a response. The following is the configuration page (which can also be done in BI Administration screens), although as just mentioned this would be used in a set (or create/update) type of activity, rather than to get information as the service used here suggests.


  • ADF Contextual Events: are used for working with ADF page development, to pass data between the page and the analysis. This does not apply in a SaaS environment and is not an option at this time.
  • Invoke a Java Method: allows the selection of methods within an EJB already defined in the BI Administration pages. Since the context here is SaaS and not on-premise this is not an option at this time.
  • Invoke a Browser Script: allows the selection one of the JavaScript functions available on the page. Using deep customizations such as Narrative Views it is possible to add custom functions to BI pages and dashboards. We will look at this in a subsequent article.
  • Navigate to BI Content: allows you to select an existing analytic or dashboard from the Content Catalog to be redirected to.
  • Navigate to a Web Page: described above.

Note that you can save an action you define for reuse in several places also. This can be a time-saver and would help reduce mistakes and maintenance.

Action Options

The following dialog is available from the Options button within the Action configuration screens. It allows the control of how the action gets fired by users, adding or removing extra checks and options, such as to open URL's in a new window.



Useful References

The following documentation guides provide detail on how all the actions feature works. Again not every feature or option may be exposed for use in a SaaS environment and if you are uncertain then please check with Oracle Cloud Support.

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