An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

  • March 7, 2007

The Future is ... well flexible

This is something for the future, the not too distant future and in BIP terms thats not long ... this week I have been taking a look at Adobe Flex 2.0. Its a very rich interface to build data enabled templates. The BIP server will support them in a coming release allowing you to build very rich interactive interfaces for your reports, schedule and deliver them to your users as complete self contained reports.

Click me to enlarge

I have to admit, I got extrememly frustrated initially, the development environment looks very friendly on the surface but wiring up data and presentation layers is a little tedious and takes some time to get your head around ... I of course jumped in at the deep end wanting to build an all singling all dancing dashboard interface ... after a week or so getting back to the basics in spare hours here or there I think I can now build that all singling all dancing template.

Here's the report above (you might need to rigt click and 'Save As') you'll also need FlashPlayer 9 - if you're interested the full annotated source code is here. Its simple but already showing potential when it comes to interaction. Just try clicking on a pie slice, the other chart and table will update,  you can expand and contract the right hand chart. 

Its a great testament to Adobe's tool, its a mixture of XML declaration (that alot of the visual interface generates for you) and ActionScript (kinda java like but I found simpler) Its not the best tool in the world, little things like adding gradient fills to a bar chart, adding a hyperlink to data are not as simple as they should be. The components are not easily wired up to their datasources and do not have all the functionality I qould have expected. However, its a very rich programming interface that lets you do almost anything, to get around the limitations in functionality of the components Adobe allows you to extend said components or create your own. The next release of the tool promises improvements in all areas. I must add, its not an end user tool by ant stretch of the imagination but those end users can now let their imaginations stretch with possibilities.

Documentation is pretty good and the web is full of 'Flexers' doing some amazing things with it ... not really related to reporting, but this book is awesome.

So another template type is coming, giving you another option for your users. Im hooked completely, we are looking to provide as much bacckend support for this as possible. Early builds of BIP Enterprise support real time execution, scheduling and delivery. If you want to try it you can download a trial version of flex from the Adobe website: http://www.adobe.com/flex

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Comments ( 4 )
  • Tim Dexter Thursday, March 8, 2007

    Hi Manish
    Dont you worry, that was for starters ... the back end support is there, its a case of how good are you with building Flex ... after a week or so, Im getting there ... watch this space. Tim

  • Manish Thursday, March 8, 2007
    It's about time Oracle started to look into Flex as one of the presentation layers. I recently saw some demo's of Microstratagy Dashboard 8.1 which provides Flex and AJAX based Dashboards and was mind blowing.
    Tell you what, your demo on the blog today almost makes them seem ... not that far ahead.
    Great work!
  • James Ward Wednesday, April 25, 2007
    Cool stuff Tim! Glad that you are enjoying Flex once you got over the initial hump. I'm looking forward to seeing more!
  • Roboksoz Tuesday, February 17, 2009
    precarious supremacyment. All ddraw frommaximumy mammoth features. There are a few thoughts that I’ve registered at in depiecementalize to inspect, but they are few and far between.
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