An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

  • July 28, 2006

Templates with Looks & Feelings

I have just finished a set of template standards for the templates shipping in R12 for EBS ... its been a slog, getting consensus and then getting it out to teams ... we have well over 150 teams in the EBS all busily generating templates and even a project to move all templates and extracts from ORacle Reports based concurrent programs to the XMLP platform.

All this effort on ORacle's part and the first thing you guys are going to want to do is 'customize' the look and feel of the templates, you at least will want your logo on them and even maybe change the colors. If you could update one style template to affect the rest it would be great;  alas, right now XMLP does not have a concept of CSS for Templates ... its being looked at. But you can help yourselves for your templates, there are a couple of approaches that will help you as your library of templates grows and possible changes to the look and feel have to be implemented ...

1. Sub Templates

I have touched on these in a previous posts, here and here, they really are a fantastic way to modularize your templates. I covered the simplest case in the first article on storing headers and footers in a separate sub-template and then referencing them from all of your other template - new report header required? No problem, update your sub template et voila! You're happy and your boss is even happier.
Of course you could extend sub templating even further, how about if you are a multi-national that needs address formats to be different depending on the locale in which  the report is being run?  No problem, create a sub-template with all the address formats you might need and add a parameter to each, maybe 'locale'. At runtime, call the sub template from your main template and pass the locale parameter, it can then pull back the correct address format for you.

2. MSWord Templates

Using the pwer of styles in MSword can help when you're creating your templates. Just create a Word template (.dot) file and create the appropriate styles you need inside your XMLP templates. In later versions of Word this is not limited to just text, you can create whole table styles that can be applied to your document. Now if you ensure everyone uses the new Word template when creating XMLP templates and the styles therein, then when it comes to updates, all you need do is change the Word template styles, load the XMLP template and get word to update your content to latest styles. Its a template by template process but its easier than opening each template and manually updating every single template item.

Happy Templating!


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