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How To Include Web Services Data In Reports

Richard Bingham
Senior Development Manager

This article looks at how you can bring in outside data into your BI Publisher Reports. This option leverages the BI Publisher administration features, where you can define your own set of data sources upon which you report. At this time the support is for SOAP-based services and includes an declarative method for making response values available for reporting. It includes a parameter-based feature for passing inputs to the web services, and has basic support for extracting data from more complex responses via XPath.

Process Overview

In summary the steps required are as follows:

  1. Under the BI Publisher Administration screens, create a new web service Data Source.
  2. Create a new Data Model, selecting the newly created web service for your Data Set.
  3. Create Parameters in your new Data Model and map them to the Data Set web service request parameters. In the screens below, this is web service [ns1:ZIP] request parameter assigned to the new integer "ZIP" BI Publisher parameter.
  4. Create a report Layout on this new Data Model and display the results as you see fit.
BI Publisher data models can have a mixture of data-sets from different data-sources, allowing you to mash-up your local SQL-based queries with data derived from remote
systems through web service connections. Additionally you can create rich dashboards and pages
that comprise both BI Publisher Reports and BI Analytics, therefore the mixed-data
reports you create may be supplemented by eye-catching graphics and visualizations.

Illustrative Example

The following screenshots pick out the key parts of this features, and the whole process is demonstrated in the video below.

The screen below shows the new Data Model definition, leveraging the 'weather' web service already setup as a Data Source in the BI Publisher administration pages. As you notice there is support for multiple methods. Note that the ResponseData XPath field allows you to specify which values you want to use inside a complex response payload.

Once you have setup your Data Model above, you define report Parameters for each input to that service. Note: You may have to reopen the Data Set to ensure the web service parameters as associated with your report parameters (in the drop-down). Care should be taken to match parameter Data Types and consider using Default Values to aid working with required or internal fixed-value fields.

Video Demonstration

The following video from our YouTube channel shows the same setup above and running this as a report.

 

For more on using BI in your customizations see our articles here. Alternative look into the existing material such as the BI Publisher blog, forum and community and the BI Publisher Documentation, specifically:

 

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Comments ( 2 )
  • guest Monday, July 4, 2016

    Richard,

    Do you know if the creation of this type of Data Source (SOAP-based web service) is something that's supported by the BIPublisher license you get as part of an ERP Cloud subscription (or Projects Cloud, Sales Cloud, etc.)? Or do you need a subscription to a stand-alone/full install of BI Publisher in order to use external web services as a Data Source? My understanding was the latter, but let me know if that's changed.

    Thanks in advance,

    Glen


  • guest Monday, July 11, 2016

    Glen.

    I am afraid I do not know about licensing. I know (as above) that it works as part of the Fusion Cloud Application stack today, but you'll have to speak to Oracle Sales to verify more.

    Regards

    Richard


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