Remove system-wide default settings in Oracle Answers

d'oh

I am spending much time on delivering Oracle BI EE training these days. I like these opportunities of inquisitive questioning and recently read in an internal doc about creating dashboards to "never use the 'save as system-wide default for this data type' option". Otherwise things would be screwed up.

The privilege to save formatting for columns in answers as system-wide default is in fact a default privilege, so almost anyone can do it. And some research shows that we can really screw things up badly:

First, let's use the Sample Sales demo application, delivered with Oracle BI EE 10.1.3.4 and set the system-wide default for text columns to something like "Garamond, 14 pts, brown color". You can open any request in answer, do the setting and leave the request.


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The dashboard now looks really screwed:


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How to get rid of system-wide defaults

The answer is to be found in the presentation catalog. Buried deep inside the system folder must be the system-wide defaults. And indeed, using Catalog Manager in offline mode we are able to find the metadata subfolder and the _datatype_formats element.

Be very, very, very careful when you do the following! You might screw things up even worse. So make sure you do a backup of the catalog before you start.

Right-click the _datatype_formats element, select Properties and click the Edit XML button. Click Edit again to set the editor in write mode. Then carefully delete the entry that annoys you and save the entry.


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After restarting the Oracle BI Presentation Service, we can check the dashboard:


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Summary

Using the system-wide default for columns of the same data type might result in unexpected and undesired formatting. Using the Catalog Manager you can edit the metadata to remove the entries. However, it sometimes would be best to remove the privilege to save system-wide defaults.

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The intention of this blog is to share findings about Siebel CRM and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE formerly known as Siebel Analytics) from technical and other (sometimes unprecedented) perspectives.

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