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Tips and Tricks for Modifying Reports for Oracle FinancialsBy Jeannie Dobney ASSIST Pty Ltd This paper attempts to list some of the things that I wish I had known when I started using Reports 2.5 in the Oracle Financials environment It was in response to perceived lack of information in this area amongst the user community. The author has attempted to collate wisdom gleaned from many sources. For much of the information in this paper I have to thank colleagues as well as friends I have yet to meet but feel I know through the OAUG email forum. This paper focuses on the use of Oracle Reports 2.5 and all references to Reports imply Oracle Reports 2.5. Much of what is said here is equally applicable to Reports 2.0 The substantial differences between Reports 2.0 and 2.5 are: Reports 2.5 uses a hierarchical navigator which makes identifying objects and viewing their properties easier than it was in Reports 2.0 Reports 2.5 includes a Confine Mode toggle which makes working with report layers much easier in version 2.5. These layers are not very well documented and are a major trap for new users of version 2.0 (where Confine Mode doesnt exist).
This paper also assumes users are running version 10.7 SC, however much of what is included is applicable for NCA and Release 11.0 (not 11i).
Tip One: Dont Use Reports Unless You Have To!The complications of using Reports in the Financials environment mean that the cost of writing the same report as a SQL*Plus script is many times less expensive. If you are modifying an existing report or wish to include bitmapped logos etc, you will have no choice, however, if you are starting from scratch, consider using a SQL*Plus script. The output will look just as nice when it appears in a spreadsheet! SQL*Plus reporting is almost a lost art. For information and examples refer to a copy of Kochs Oracle8 The Complete Reference. The other reason you may not wish to use Reports is when your site does not have a PC copy of Reports 2.5 developer licence. If this is the case, you can strip the SQL out of your report using the conversion utility r25convm to create an ASCII format .rex file (syntax later in the paper). You can then use the SQL as a basis for your SQLPlus script. You should note, however, that some Reports data models appear to be unnecessarily complex because they have been written to be as generic as possible.
Tip Two: Dont Forget to Register your ReportYou will typically be developing your report on a PC so when it is ready to test in the Financials environment, you must: 1. FTP a copy of your .rdf file to the server box ensuring that you FTP in binary mode. No amount of grief is caused by inadvertently FTPing in ASCII mode, the most common symptom is that your report will fail with a Signal 10 error. 2. Place the copy of your .rdf file it in the correct directory. Each product (eg GL, AP etc) will have a directory structure and you will need to place your report in the srw sub-directory of the appropriate product. Note that it is common practice to have separate directory structures for modified reports and forms, this protects them from being deleted during an upgrade. Typically these directory structures will have names like GL_MOD_TOP and are relatively easy to identify. You should always place your custom reports in mod directories.
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$APPL_TOP Oracle Applications top directory
Ensure your report has the appropriate file permissions which allow the Oracle concurrent manager to execute it (using chmod etc). Register Your Report within Oracle Applications. This is frequently overlooked and is an essential step. Registration tells Oracle Financials that your report exists and where it can be found. There are several steps and these are outlined in the following section. 4.1 Identify the report to the AOL layer. Using the Application Developer Responsibility, Menu Path: Concurrent ~ Executable
The Execution File Name is the operating system file name (without the extension) and you must type this accurately including the correct case! The Application field tells the AOL layer where to look for this file. Applications are also registered which links the descriptive name seen here to an OS environment variable which in turn identifies the specific OS path to use to find your report. It is therefore important that when you place your report in a mod directory, you also select the appropriate application name here. Otherwise Oracle will not be able to find your report. ASSIST Pty Ltd 1999 Page 2
4.2 Define Concurrent Manager Submission Information Using the Application Developer Responsibility, Menu Path: Concurrent ~ Program
This step sets up the report so it can be submitted by the concurrent manager, identifying parameters which must be passed etc. The Executable Name field is the link to the previous step. The Program name field and Description will appear in the List of Values users see, so they should be functionally descriptive. Use the Parameters button to open the window shown below and define the parameters that the report should prompt the user for.
Notice that the Token field links the parameters you list here to the parameters which your report is expecting. It is not case sensitive.
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If your report should not be run at the same time as any other report or process (perhaps even itself) the use the Incompatibilities button to open the window shown below and identify them.
Further information about specific fields shown here and the registration process can be found in Oracle Applications System Administration Reference Manual.
5. Add your Report to the Appropriate Request Groups.This is usually performed by the (functional) system administrator however you may need to do it in the test environment at least. Reports are made available to users by adding them to the Request Group assigned to a Responsibility which in turn is assigned to users. If you are relatively new to Oracle Financials, it may be helpful to think of a Responsibility as the equivalent of a database role and Request Groups as grants on reports to that role. In this step you are adding your report to such a Request Group. This effectively makes your report appear in the List of Values which the user sees in the Standard Report Submission screen. Using the System Administrator Responsibility, Menu Path: Security ~ Responsibility ~ Request
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In the top half of the screen above, query back the Request Group to which you wish to add your report and then in the lower half of the screen create a new record, select your report name and save.
Tip Three: Beware of Traps When Modifying Existing Reports!If you are modifying an existing report, you begin by FTPing it up to your PC and opening it in the Reports Designer there. Very often the report will give you error messages about missing packages. The messages should give you the name of the packages and you will be able to find them in the plsql subdirectory of the application to which the report belongs on the server side. (Note that you may also have the .pll file on the client side depending on how the client install was done and you may be able to simply reattach it there.) If you cant find the .pll file it is also possible that when the Applications install was done, the module was installed as shared. Unfortunately there is no quick fix for this one and your DBA will have to be reinstall. You sometimes also discover this problem without trying to copy anything onto the client, simply because of persistent messages about uncompiled program units. Your first response to messages about uncompiled program units should obviously be to recompile, however, if after having done that, you still get these messages, check the Applications install information). If you are really unlucky you will be working at a site which still uses Windows 3.1 and you will find the package is in fact too large for the client side Operating System This is a Catch 22 situation and the only solution we have found is to find another environment to work in. For example in our case, to take the report back to our office, modify it there and then take it back to the client site this is very laborious as you can often only test on site
Tip Four: Dont Use Reports Features which the Financials Environment wont Support!Basically try and keep your report as simple as possible. Its nice to be able to use bitmapped logos but remember that with every piece of complexity you add, you are increasing your debugging effort For example, it is now possible to add a list of values to a Reports 2.5 report parameter and whilst this seems like a good idea, it simply replicates the functionality available within Oracle Applications. Notice that in the parameter registration screen shown earlier in this paper the parameter displayed is using a SQL statement. This SQL populates the List of Values which the user sees within Standard Report Submission. For more information on Standard Report Submission parameter options, see the Flexfields manual (yes really: because Financials views the parameters as descriptive flexfield segments!)
Tip Five: Beware of Traps with Character / Bitmapped Reports.Reports 2.5 is basically oriented towards bitmapped output although it can produce both types of output. Many Financials reports are still character mode and character mode reports run faster so there are a series of things which you need to be aware when designing character mode reports. In the reports Global Properties (Tools ~ Properties) review the settin