Introduction. Overview of the Financial Statement Generator (FSG) About BI Publisher. Brief History of BI (formerly XML) Publisher

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1 Introduction Overview of the Financial Statement Generator (FSG) The Financial Statement Generator enables you to build your own custom reports without programming. You can define reports with complete control over the rows, columns, contents, and calculations in your report. With FSG, you can: Generate financial reports, such as income statements and balance sheets, based upon data in your general ledger. Define segment value security rules to restrict financial information contained in FSG report output generated by specific users and responsibilities. Define your reports with reusable report objects, making it easy to create new reports from the components of reports you ve already defined. Design custom financial reports to meet specific business needs. Print as many reports as you need, simultaneously. Print the same report for multiple companies, cost centers, departments, or any other segment of your account structure, in the same report request. Schedule reports to run automatically. Produce ad hoc reports whenever you need them. Print reports to tab-delimited files for easy import into client-based spreadsheet programs Generate presentation quality financial reports with XML Publisher so you have more control with report formatting options, including changing font characteristics, inserting graphical images or logos, and adding color. About BI Publisher Oracle BI Publisher (formerly XML Publisher) reduces the high costs associated with the development, customization and maintenance of business documents; while increasing the efficiency of reports management. Utilizing a set of familiar desktop tools users can create and maintain their own report formats based on data extracts from diverse sources. BI Publisher can accept and format any well-formed XML data, as well as generate the data. It can therefore be integrated with any database, application, or process that can generate XML, whether that be a database, an ERP application, or a Web service to format output and deliver to consumers. BI Publisher also allows you to bring data in from multiple data sources into a single output document. BI Publisher is based on the W3C XSL-FO standard and it is the fastest, most scalable implementation in the world today. It can handle very large data inputs and generate output in less time, using very low levels of CPU time and memory. BI Publisher is built on open standard technologies. It is a J2EE application that can be deployed to any J2EE container. Data is handled as XML and the layout templates created in the desktop applications are internally converted to XSL-FO, another W3C standard. Outputs generated by the application are also industry standards such as PDF, RTF, and HTML. The delivery protocols are Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), WebDAV, FTP, AS2. Brief History of BI (formerly XML) Publisher Prior to release , any modification to the formatting of standard reports within Oracle required technical assistance from a developer, with additional cost and time implications. These modified reports were still hindered by Oracle s inherent restrictions on output, and could not be easily distributed or analyzed. For many 3 rd party documents (such as Purchase Orders, AR Invoices, AP Checks), companies were often forced to rely on pre-printed stationery. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 1

2 Oracle BI Publisher was originally developed to solve these reporting problems. It was first released with Oracle E- Business Suite towards the end of The original release was called XML Publisher 5.5 and consisted of 2 products Oracle XML Publisher (Desktop) and Oracle BI Publisher (Server). Oracle BI Publisher Desktop was a Microsoft Word Add-in that provided the ability to import an BI or SQL data source, lay out a report template using standard Microsoft Word tables and formatting, and then run the report from within Microsoft Word. This initial release lacked several key features that stopped it being a complete end-to-end solution; as previously mentioned the server element was more of a toolkit and you had to build the actual application yourself, and you still had to define some parts of the report the report definition file with an.xdo suffix, that brought together the dataset, the template and details of any report parameters by hand. Following the initial success of Publisher 5.5, an updated client version (XML Publisher 5.6) was released in April The client-side install consists of an updated Template Builder for Microsoft Word, with a new BI Publisher Report Definition Wizard. This latest version of Oracle BI Publisher brings the Desktop and Server versions of the product into a new release called Oracle BI Publisher Enterprise, and support is now extended to Oracle PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. The Oracle BI Publisher Enterprise server elements are available as an out of the box install using the Oracle Universal Installer, and is available for download from The client-side install consists of an updated Template Builder for Microsoft Word, with a new BI Publisher Report Definition Wizard. A plug-in for Microsoft Excel was expected to be provided, to allow report analysis via this spreadsheet tool, but has been delayed until Release 6.0 BI Publisher Enterprise is a complete web-based reporting application that allows users to: Manage reports in a folder directory Create reports combining multiple databases as well as web services Define the Report Layout in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Extract and translate the boilerplate text in reports Schedule and deliver reports via a variety of methods ( , fax or print) Generate volumes of reports with minimal loading on the database engine. Figure 1 - BI Publisher Enterprise Capabilities Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 2

3 Figure 1 presents a snapshot of the capabilities of BI Publisher. The tool can take data from multiple sources and combine them into a single report. It can access databases (using SQL) or can take data from web sources or websites that provide XML output. The report output can be formatted as PDF for printing, Microsoft Word readable RTF files for modifiable documents (contracts, marketing letter ), Microsoft Excel readable files (financial reports) as well as HTML that can be delivered by or published to a website. Oracle BI Publisher can also generate machine readable output formats such as BI, EFT or EDI. The data can be formatted with end user layout tools or using XSL-FO stylesheets an open W3C standard supported by many third party tools. Layouts may contain any kind of fonts including MICR fonts for check printing or bar code fonts for label printing, as well as producing watermarks and generating official Government forms. These output files can be delivered by , fax or print. They can also be stored in an external archive or document management system. All these capabilities are provided by a single system. BI Publisher is also a high volume performance engine a recent BI Publisher implementation (not connected with the author) reports producing over 10,000 documents an hour with minimal load on the database engine. End User Tools Oracle BI Publisher allows functional users to design report or document layouts in familiar desktop applications. Your users can choose from the following tools the one that matches the task at hand: Microsoft Word with the Oracle BI Publisher Template Builder Adobe Acrobat Each tool has its unique advantages to create specific reports. For example most end users would create customer letters such as marketing material or dunning letters in Microsoft Word, whilst governments typically provide PDF forms. Template Builder for Microsoft Word Before BI Publisher, a functional user would prototype a dunning letter in Microsoft Word, before writing a requirements document (RD.050) possibly with the help of an IT analyst. An IT developer then would have to recreate the document in a report development tool trying to match the requirements. There would be a lot of communication between these two parties trying to perfect the layout and behavior of the report before it could actually be delivered to the report consumers. With Oracle BI Publisher the functional user can provide the Microsoft Word file as the layout specification. The functional user would then need to mark up the document using the Template Builder for Word Add-In. Users are able to insert data fields into Word documents without any help from the IT department. Changes to the format such as replacing the company logo, changing column width, fonts or boilerplate text can be performed solely in Microsoft Word requiring no additional training. The template builder add-in allows end users to mark up word documents easily with charts, data tables and calculations. In addition, the IT department can hide standard XSL code in word documents - invisible to the functional users that may perform sophisticated functions such as conditional execution, data transformations and complex calculations. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 3

4 Installing BI Publisher Template Builder Patch provides the latest version of BI Publisher, and is applied to the application server. After the application of the patch and pre-requisites,pdf Printing needs to be enabled in the instance. The PDF Publisher print style and PASTA_PDF print driver provide the capability to print PDF files. The Pasta Universal Printer type is associated with the style and driver. Additionally, Patch should be applied to the template designer s client computer. This patch contains the Template Builder and the Template Viewer, two desktop tools that will increase your productivity using XML Publisher. The Template Builder is an extension to Microsoft Word that simplifies the development of RTF templates. It automates many of the manual steps that would otherwise be required. The Template Viewer is a Java application that facilitates the rapid development of templates by providing advanced preview capabilities. See the patch readme and help files for user documentation and desktop system requirements. Once installed, start up Microsoft Word. A new toolbar and menu will be available: Figure 2 - Microsoft Word with BI Publisher Template Builder installed Patch provides a Template Builder Tutorial, together with example BI output and templates. It also provides the latest BI Publisher User s Guide Oracle Application Desktop Integrator (ADI) and Web ADI Oracle Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI) is an integral part of Oracle Applications. ADI is a spreadsheet-based extension of General Ledger and Oracle Assets that offers full-cycle accounting and asset management within the comfort and familiarity of a spreadsheet. Oracle ADI is a spreadsheet-based extension to Oracle Applications that offers full cycle accounting within the comfort and familiarity of a spreadsheet. Oracle ADI combines a spreadsheet s ease of use with the power of Oracle Applications, to provide true desktop integration during every phase of your accounting cycle. You can create budgets, record transactions, and run financial statements and inventory reports all without leaving your spreadsheet. Oracle ADI was initially released as a stand-alone application, giving you the ability to revise budgets, create journal entries, and define financial reports from any location, without being connected to your server. You only need to connect when you want to transfer data to or from Oracle Applications. One of the major benefits of Oracle ADI is the Analysis Wizard. The Analysis Wizard helps you to drill down to relevant financial information within Oracle Applications to analyze spreadsheet-based FSG reports in detail and perform multidimensional data analysis. While drilling down, you can use drag-and-drop capabilities to pivot accounting dimensions and quickly reorganize financial data to perform what-if and what-happened analysis of both summary and detailed financial information. The Analysis Wizard helps you quickly detect trends and exceptions in the financial data that underlies your reported amount. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 4

5 The wizard provides access to the complete range of accounts that support a particular reported amount. You can select an individual account and drill down to its summary balances, detail balances, journal lines, and down to the subledger details. You can view journal entries including translated transaction details created by the Global Accounting Engine and associated details that originate from Oracle subledgers, including Payables, Receivables, Assets, Projects, Purchasing, Inventory, WIP, and AX. From Release , Oracle began to migrate to Web ADI. Web ADI uses Internet computing architecture to lower the total cost of ownership by having the product centrally installed and maintained. No installation is required on client machines; you need only Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Excel. This architecture also provides superior performance over a WAN or dialup connection, since the exchange between client and server is simplified through the use of HTML. Within the General Ledger, Web ADI was initially a Journals (Actuals and Budgets) only solution but contained some features that did not exist in ADI such as Currency Rates Upload in and Report Manager. With Report Manager patchset FRM.G (web based like WebADI) functionality for Report submission and formatting was included. This will be discussed later Release 12 Client ADI is out, and BI Publisher is here to stay In April 2007, note on Metalink advised that Client/Server ADI is not supported within Release 12. Moreover, with Release 12, more standard reporting across all Oracle Applications is being moved to BI Publisher. Oracle is currently migrating all R12 reports to BI Publisher, and later this year, more than 2000 templates will be available. Page 6-1 of the Oracle General Ledger User Guide states that With FSG, you can Generate presentation quality financial reports with XML Publisher so you have more control with report formatting options, including changing font characteristics, inserting graphical images or logos, and adding color. BI Publisher Basic Report Template General Ledger provides a basic report template, FSG: Basic Template, for you to use for your FSG reports. You may use the formatting provided in this report template for your FSG reports or you can modify the template and save it as a new template or create a completely new one. The FSG: Basic Template is formatted for a dynamic number of columns, since the number of columns will vary for every FSG report. Note: The FSG: Basic Template uses the Arial font. If your FSG reports use the Arial font and they use row orders or the display types of Expand or Both, the row descriptions may be misaligned. To avoid misalignment, create a template that uses a fixed width font, such as Courier. The figure below shows an example of an XML output file that is created when you generate an FSG report with the XML output option. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 5

6 Figure 3 - Example of XML Output that is used by XML Publisher XML output files are composed of elements. Each tag set is an element. For example, in the figure above, <fsg:sobname></fsg:sobname> is the Set of Books Name element. The data between the brackets is the value of the element. In the figure above, the value for the Set of Books Name element is Replaced Set of Books Name. When a report template is designed, you define placeholders for the elements. The placeholder maps the data field to an element in the XML output file. The figure below shows the layout of the FSG: Basic Template that General Ledger provides for a FSG report. Figure 4 - Layout of the FSG: Basic Template Placeholder Syntaxes Provided in FSG: Basic Template The table below lists the placeholder syntaxes provided in the FSG: Basic Template. Placeholder Syntax Meaning FSG Namespace <?namespace:fsg= Identifies the elements associated with the FSG. This placeholder does not display anything on the published report FSG Report Name <?fsg:reportname?> Inserts the FSG Report Name Set of Books Name <?fsg:sobname?> Inserts the set of books name Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 6

7 Report Period <?concat(masterreport/fsg:periodlabel, ' ')?><?fsg:repcurperiod?> Inserts the Current Period label and the period Date: <?MasterReport/fsg:DateLabel?> Inserts the Date Label DD-MMM-YYYY hh:mm:ss <?MasterReport/fsg:RepSysDate?> Inserts the system date and time when the report was created Page: <?MasterReport/fsg:PageLabel?> Inserts the Page label Body Start <?start:body?> Indicates the beginning of the body area of your report. Anything before this tag is considered the header and is repeated on every page <?for-each:fsg:rptdef?> Loops through the elements of the RptDef group, which is a group of elements in the XML output file representing report data. Currency Label <?/MasterReport/fsg:CurrencyLabel?> Inserts the Currency label Currency <?/MasterReport/fsg:ReportCurr?> Inserts the currency code of the report Segment Value Overrides Inserts the specified segment value overrides (segment name, value and description). RptDetName is an attribute of the RptDef group. Column Wrapping <?horizontal-break-table:1?> Indicates that if the number of columns exceeds the page width, repeat the next column on the next page. This enables the template to handle a dynamic number of columns, since the number of columns can vary between reports. Column Headers and Widths Report Alignment <?split-column-header://fsg:colcontext?><?splitcolumn-width:fsg:colwidth?><?split-columnwidth-unit:number(6)?> Determines the column headers and the width of each column Aligns the report based on the language. For example, English reports read left to right, while Arabic reports read from right to left. Column Heading Line 1 <?value-of:fsg:colheadline1?> Inserts column heading line 1 Column Heading Line 2 <?value-of:fsg:colheadline2?> Inserts column heading line 2 Column Heading Line 3 <?value-of:fsg:colheadline3?> Inserts column heading line 3 Report Data Page Break; <xsl:if test="position()=1" xdofo:ctx="inblock"><xsl:attribute name="textalign">start</xsl:attribute></xsl:if> <?for-each:fsg:rptline?><?split-columndata:fsg:rptcell[3]?><?value-of:.?> <xsl:if xdofo:ctx="inblock" test="position()<count(//fsg:rptdef)"><xsl:attribute name="break-before">page</xsl:attribute></xsl:if> Inserts report data Inserts a page break Body End <?end for-each?><?end body?> Indicates the end of the body area of the report. Anything below this tag is considered the footer, and is repeated on every page. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 7

8 In addition to the seeded BI Publisher template, Oracle has provided a new Concurrent Request to generate the FSG with a template as a one-step process Program - Publish FSG Report. Figure 5 - Parameters for Standard Program "Program - Publish FSG Report" The seeded template does not provide an easy method of formatting columns. Using the seeded template, a 2 column report will have the same formatting as a 3 column report. In order to meet the requirements of most companies, additional templates will be required. Use of tables within BI Publisher Introducing tables into the template allows you to control the formatting for each column. An example is provided below. Figure 6 - Use of tables within BI Publisher This example provides for a report with upto 4 columns of data. The shading of the columns alternates between columns, leading to a clearer representation of the report. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 8

9 Number formatting The XML data that the FSG report generates transmits row amounts as a text field revenue of $76k will be transmitted as 76,000 with the comma included. Since this information is a text field, number formatting previously available to you is now gone. In order to regain the number formatting functionality, the text data can be converted into a number using the command to_number(field), where field is the fieldname to be converted. For example, inserting the command <?xdofx:to_number(fsg:rptcell[2])?> into your report will convert the text contained in fieldname RptCell[2] into a number. Once the field has been converted into a number, you can use the Text Form Field properties to amend the number format. Figure 7 Text Formatting Figure 8 - Number Formatting Changing the field type from Regular text to Number allows you to specify whether your currency symbol is displayed on the report, and also how negative numbers are displayed. Reordering Columns I frequently have clients who required line items in the middle of a page. With ADI, you were restricted to having the line item column as the first column. BI Publisher allows you to format the data to your requirements. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 9

10 Figure 9 - Reordering Columns of the FSG In the example above, the fields for Column 1 have been inserted between columns 3 and 4. To ease readability, the background has also been changed. Figure 10 - FSG with Columns Reordered Conditional Font Colors When FSG reports were generated through Microsoft Excel, users could make use of formatting that is not available in Microsoft Word. This is especially true for showing positive numbers in one color, negative numbers in another. With some additional knowledge of XML processing, the same result can be achieved using BI Publisher. Figure 11 - Building Conditional Font Coloring In this cell, I have two form fields one in red font, and one in black font. The code associated with the red font is as follows: Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 10

11 Figure 12 - Determing if a text field is negative This code is using a simple IF THEN statement to determine if the first character of the field RptCell[2] is -. If it is, it will display the contents of cell RptCell[2]. Since the font of the form field is colored red, this field will display red if the condition is met. The code associated with the black font is as follows: Figure 13 - Determing if a text field is greater than or equal to zero This code is using a simple IF THEN statement to determine if the first character of the field RptCell[2] is not -. If it is anything other than -, it will display the contents of cell RptCell[2]. Since the font of the form field is colored black, this field will display black if the condition is met. Applying these changes to the remaining columns will provide a result as follows: Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 11

12 Figure 14 - FSG with conditional font coloring FSGs, BI Publisher and Oracle Report Manager Oracle Report Manager is an online reposistory for storing and viewing reports. It provides a secure and convenient location to access point-in-time reports published or uploaded to the database. Report Manager users can either be report producers or report consumers. Report producers can submit, publish and set security for reports. Report consumers can view, download and approve reports. Reports can be published and presented to certain responsibilities without additional security or a variety of security models can be applied, allowing only authorized users to view entire reports or parts of reports. Overview of Financial Report Publishing You can submit any FSG report available to your responsibility. The publishing parameters determine the template to be applied to format the report, the security to restrict access to the report, and when the report becomes available. These templates are XSL:FO based, so any text editor can be used to create them. Templates can be created as RTF files using BI Publisher. More importantly, Microsoft Excel templates are provided in Oracle Report Manager. You can create or edit FSG templates using Microsoft Excel. These templates are stored in the database as Excel files for editing and as an extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects (XSL:FO) document. The style information from the XSL-FO template is applied to the data in the report and controls the formatting of the data. When you create a new template for a specific report, the template editor retrieves the structure of the chosen report and provides standard static data at the top of the report template in Excel, as well as row and column details. The template that is generated in Excel is fully functional. It can be uploaded immediately to the template manager using the Oracle menu and used to format output for the report for which the template was created. Select the menu item Financial Report Template Editor to build a new template. A new template is fully formatted and ready to work with. When creating a new template, or editing an existing template, you can make the following changes: Add and remove report elements Change the location of report elements on the page Modify row and column sizes Use standard Excel formatting, such as bold and italics Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 12

13 Insert static text Add images (supported image files are png, gif, jpg, and bmp) Add background watermark images Include hyperlinks Move columns Insert blank rows Figure 15 - Creating a new Financial Report Template in Excel Figure 16 - Editing the Financial Report Template Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 13

14 Figure 17 - Enabling Drill Down for this Financial Report Template Figure 18 - Running the FSG through Report Manager (with Drilldown) Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 14

15 Other Uses for BI Publisher The obvious use for BI Publisher is External-facing Output: PO Purchase Orders PO Requests for Quotation AP Checks AR Statements AR Dunning Letters OM Shipping Documentation Additional reports can be formatted to save analysts efforts in exporting data to Excel, such as Sales Reports: Figure 19 - Sales Report Chart (by business area) using BI Publisher Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 15

16 Release 12 BI Publisher is here to stay With Release 12, more of the reporting is being moved to BI Publisher. Out of the box, more than 870 templates for more than 60 modules are included with baseline release 12. Oracle is currently migrating the remaining reports to BI Publisher, and later this year, more than 2000 templates will be available. Release 12 also includes a set of libraries to help move your custom Oracle reports to a data template (extract) and a layout template (RTF). These libraries are the same that are being used by Oracle to convert the canned reports. For current release 11i customers, there are rumors ( that Oracle is considering building a template bank on Metalink to allow the download of Oracle developed templates. Release of BI Publisher will also include the migration libraries. Conclusion Classic reporting approaches combine the data definition, the layout format and translation in a single source. This leads to large numbers of report files; a single data definition (query) could support several layouts but due to the nature of the report definition file the user has to create and maintain a separate report for each combination. Now add the required translation and the number of report definitions has become huge. Typically the tools used to create these reports are powerful but complex and require a high level of technical training to be used effectively. If a company takes a development delivered report and has to customize it the only option they have is to take a copy of that report definition, make the changes they require and then use it. If development upgrade the base report then any changes will need to be propagated through to the customized report. These three factors lead to an increase in maintenance and customization costs and an extremely difficult and complex upgrade. Oracle BI Publisher simplifies the whole customization process and combines this with reducing costs. The traditional approach of combining the data definition, format and translation in a single entity is thrown out in favor of breaking the three components apart. With the three pieces now separated the whole model is simplified. Data Definition - The data definition exists as a single entity, an Oracle Report, PL/SQL package, Service Bean, etc but it now just becomes an BI Data Engine that can service not only a reporting need but can fulfill other requirements e.g. B2B communication along with other reports. Report Templates The technology behind BI Publisher is a W3C standard, XSL-FO. There are many XSL editors currently in the market that can be used to create report formats. BI Publisher also allows the user to create layouts using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Adobe Acrobat, these familiar desktop tools make report template design and much simpler proposition for users and can be designed comfortably by business analysts rather than an IT specialist. Translation BI Publisher is able to extract the report boilerplate to an XLIFF format. These files can then be translated by 3rd party translation companies. At runtime the three components are brought together by BI Publisher to generate the required output. All parties win from report developers to the end user when using Oracle BI Publisher. End User The end user is presented with a richer report offering from the e-business Suite. Reports in multiple formats with multiple delivery options are now available directly from the applications suite; the language and locale options have been improved and this all comes through a consistent user interface. Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 16

17 Business Consultant traditionally the business consultant would gather the business requirements and then describe the report that was required in a document and pass this to the IT consultant for implementation. The business consultant now has a set of familiar desktop applications that can be used to design the report format itself, this will ensure the report will meet all the business requirements that are in scope and it will look exactly as the consultant has designed it. IT Consultant the IT consultant will now receive a document that is the actual report format as designed by the business consultant. The time to develop, deploy and test will be greatly reduced; the cost of on going maintenance will also be reduced. Development are now able to focus on generating BI data from the e-business Suite schema to satisfy multiple requirements, now development is free from 1 data definition : 1 report layout there is a move toward generating larger data engines that can satisfy a larger requirement set. This will provide end users with far greater choice and control over the content of the reports they want to see from the suite. Additional Resources Metalink: Subject Note ID About Oracle XML Publisher Core Rollup Patch Publishing Concurrent Requests with XML Publisher Oracle.com Oracle BI Publisher blog XML Publisher Forum XML Publisher Information Page XML Publisher User Guide Coming Shortly OAUG s XML Publisher Special Interest Group (SIG) Collaborate 09 OAUG FORUM Page 17

Figure 1 - BI Publisher Enterprise Capabilities. OAUG Forum @ Collaborate 08 Page 2 Copyright 2008 by Lee Briggs

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