An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

  • RTF
    September 24, 2007

MSOffice Dependency?

I have had a few enquiries recently asking why there is a dependency on MSOffice to create templates for publisher - actually there is no dependency. Yes, we have invested in Office by producing a plugin to MSWord to help you build templates, but there is nothing to stop you using an alternative editor to build templates. That said we have not certified on the alternatives but some early testing has shown some promise, there are some issues but we have pinned some of these down to the RTF version that we certify on not being supported in the alternative application.

The biggest difference is that the alternatives either do not have formfields or they have their own versions of them that are not compatible with MSWord's versions. Open Office is a prime example - they do have formfields but they do not have a 'help' tab in which to embed the code for the template thus you end up needing to write the command directly into the document. This leads to a very busy template but it will work. 

Of course, there are alternatives,

  • PDF templates - these lack the conditional logic available in RTF templates but are great for static documents.

  • Flex templates - a new and exciting template type - not great for paper but for building interactive reports its great.

  • XSL-FO templates - under the publisher covers lies an XSLFO engine that conforms to the W3C standard.
You therefore have further application choices in which to build your templates.

There is another alternative on the horizon - the Online Template builder - not a greatly imaginative name at the moment but this is going to be an all singing, all dancing DHTML/JScript application that allows you to build templates. It's not yet production and its not quite to the level of the RTF template sophistication but the gap is closing fast. Its a drag and drop environment with Office 07-like toolbars - very friendly and we hope pretty intuitive - currently going through user testing as I write.  I think Im allowed to at least provide a couple of screen shots:


Based in the browser, first thing you'll get are some default layouts to work with.


Now, you can create objects - charts, tables, sub totals, etc - with the drag of a mouse. Notcie the ribbon tool bars and the property palettes for minute control.

You're gonna have to wait a little while longer for this ... it'll be worth it I promise.

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Basarat Sunday, May 10, 2009
    Wow! Any idea when it will become available. Two years waiting already!
  • Adrien Tuesday, June 9, 2009
    Still nothing ? Is this extension dead ? It's seems to be promising !
  • Yesh Thursday, July 2, 2009
    We have been waiting also for 2 years .....any status update on this product ?
  • Tim Dexter Thursday, July 2, 2009
    Its coming folks, gonna be with 11g now :0( Can not give you a date on that at the moment thou.
  • Yesh Friday, April 23, 2010
    Tim - Any more status updates on the template builder .... we are on 11g database ... Yesh
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