An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

Building on Subject Areas

The new release of BI Publisher has a very nice new feature for those of you wanting to build reports on top of the BI Server data model. In previous releases you would need to either write the logical sql yourself or build an Answer request and copy the SQL from the Advanced tab and paste it into the BIP data modeler.

With the new release comes the ability to create reports without the need for a data model at all. You have the option when creating a new report to use a subject area directly.

 Once you have selected the subject area you are interested in you can decide on whether to continue into the wizard to help you build the layout. Or to strike out on your own and build the layout yourself.

If you go for the latter and load up the layout editor, you get to see all of the data items you would see in the Answers builder in the data tree. Its then a case of dragging and dropping the columns into the layout, just as you would normally with a sample data source.

Once you are back to the report editor, the final step is to add some parameters. 

This is a little different to a conventional BIP report. There is no data model definition per se i.e the logical SQL is not stored but rather, the columns you added to the layout and the subject area(s) you pulled them from. Yes' you can go across subject areas, but you need to know if its going to make sense or even work before you add more. You add more subject areas click on the subject area name where the data model name normally resides. You'll then get a shuttle dialog that lets you add more subject areas. You can then add columns in the layout builder.
Getting back to the parameters, on the report editor page, click the Parameters link (top right.) This will open the parameters dialog.

You can add parameters and set how they will be displayed; whether folks can select all; do they see check boxes, a drop box or text box; whether other parameters should be limited by the choice made for this box. Everything you get with a regular BIP parameter.

Finally, the report rendered with the parameters.

If you have a need to build a more highly formatted report on the BI Server data then this is definitely the way to go. This approach really does open up BIP reporting to business users. No need to write SQL, just pick the columns you want and format them in a simple to use interface.

Before you ask, you can not build report layouts in MSWord or Excel for this type of data source, not yet anyhoo :0)

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Comments ( 6 )
  • Edward Friday, November 8, 2013

    And how would I now call such a report by means of a URL? I suppose I can send the paraùeter as part of the URL, but I cannot get it to work

  • Thomas Friday, November 7, 2014

    Hello Tim,

    I cannot find a way to use RPD in Microsoft Word. Could you advise how to use Microsoft Word (RTF) to build the report based on RPD in OBIEE?

    Thanks a lot

  • Tim Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Hi Thomas

    Right now, there is no way to do this. The subject area data model is a black box which means there is no sample data to work with in the RTF.

    I tried to get the report to render XML as an output and then use that but BIP reports that XML is not available for this report.

    So your only path is to use a query against the BI server and get the data that way :(


  • Steve Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Hi Tim,

    It's something extremely hard to explain when desktop client (word/excel/rtf) cannot create reports through subject areas. It becomes extremely misleading and hard to segregate the difference to determine which tool should be used as an end user. Purely because desktop client cannot use Subject Areas, then it leaves users no choice but to use the limited web features. Usually with desktop clients, they should be more powerful but this isn't exactly the same case in Publisher because it just couldn't connect to a "native" connection. "Native" to users at least.

    My personal suggestion is to make the web version more powerful then work on integrating desktop client with subject areas.


  • Tim Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Hi Steve

    I agree, I know that extending SA reporting to other template formats was on developments to-do list. I will ask them


  • Vitor Moreira Thursday, December 11, 2014

    No template builder for subject area integration?? How disapointing! I hope they fix this as soon as possible, the web interface is not enough for complex reporting:(

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