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Happy Blog Birthday! Win Brent’s Ticket to Collaborate 2011

Posted on by Brent Lowe

I’m a no go to OAUG Collaborate 2011 this upcoming year as my wife is expecting and due the first week of April! Because of that and the one-year birthday of this blog we both win! We’re holding a contest and the prize is pretty good: my ticket to Collaborate 2011 in sunny Orlando, FL April 10th-14th. Entering is simple; all you have to do is add a comment to this post answering the following question:

What are the biggest challenges you have faced (or are currently facing) when working with BI Publisher in relation to Oracle EBS or the Standalone/Enterprise version?

The contest will run between now and midnight on November 22nd, 2010. The winner will be drawn at random and odds of winning will depend on the total number of comments received.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the challenges you are facing and hopefully will be able to address some of them here on The Lowe Down in the near future.

Good luck!

Note if you work for a company that will not allow you to accept a prize such as this, I would still be interested in learning about your challenges. Please feel free to comment.

<Read this part really fast to get the full effect>
Contest prize is one conference registration to OAUG Collaborate 2011 scheduled for April 10-14, 2011. Transportation and lodging are NOT included. Contest winner will be notified via email after drawing has taken place. This will be really sad if no-one posts any comments. Valid entries will need to include a valid email address and a valid challenge to be considered. Only one entry per person. In the event the contest winner is unable to attend the conference, no monetary equivalent will be awarded and the runner-up will be notified.

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25 Responses to Happy Blog Birthday! Win Brent’s Ticket to Collaborate 2011

  1. Mark Wood says:


    My biggest issue is using the ebs bi developer engine from outside EBS. I hava another application that I would like to publish bi reports from, but am not willing to buy the enterpirse BI publisher engine to make it work. Hopefully there is a way to use the EBS version instead.

  2. Gertjan van het Hof says:

    My biggerst challange was using BI Publisher to create a PDF report showing Oracle Time and Labor rows shorted in different ways and using summaries.

  3. Husain D says:

    One of my biggest BIP challenges (best achievement) was in creating a framework for users to create and select their own templates and then creating dynamic data templates for each of the RTF templates that user creates.
    The solution used ADF 11g and BI Publisher standalone. Part 1 of the solution was to make BIP work with ADF. Heres the solution
    Part 2 was to create a table structure and UI that would enable users to copy existing RTF templates, modify and store them in their own DB. They could also assign categories to the templates. They could choose data elements from a given set of data templates. Users could also choose recipients, o/p format and delivery service.
    Part 3 was to create a scheduling solution that would choose the right template for a transaction and merge the data and send it for approval. Once approved scheduler would either send reports to recipients in desired format.

  4. Martin says:

    On the standalone version, I’m unable to Edit scheduled reports.

    Create, Read and Delete = No problem.
    Update = Forget it.

    Have to Delete and Create and hope I get everything right. This lack of functionality is REALLY painful.

    Web service doesn’t seem to have anything helpful either.

  5. John Bray says:

    BI Publisher is an excellent tool. My biggest challenge has been finding adequate documentation on Data Templates. It has been well worth the time to get these working. However I have yet to see a detailed reference manual.

  6. Jacques Brunet says:

    My biggest challenges to use Bi publisher:
    Not being a programmer
    -learning curve, took me a while to get accouinted with the tool, the fabrication of templates, the programming in the table space area.
    -publishing to excel with it’s limitations

  7. Darren says:

    As one of our companies continuous improvement initiatives, all of our documents need to print duplex, resulting in a large cost savings in paper purchases. With many of our Oracle reports developed with BI Publisher, we have yet to figure out how to get the PDF reports to print duplex. We accomplish this with traditional Oracle reports (RDF) with the driver. We have had little luck finding documentation describing how to do this. IT is on the hook to resolve this issue as soon as possible so we continue to research.

  8. Sue Lefebure says:

    My biggest source of frustration is the lack of comprehensive documentation. I’ve started keeping my own library of ‘tips and tricks’ that I find when searching through the blogs and forums because they aren’t documented in any manual that I can refer to.

  9. BI Publisher is a very cool concept from Oracle. There are a few challenges i am facing to make it work with our business needs.

    1. Archiving some of the customer facing documents like invoices, purchase orders and retrieval for a later time.It would nice to see a standard integration between Oracle and UCM.
    2. Developing labels like UCC.
    3. Developing reports to control printing on pre-printed stationary.

  10. Shuai Wang says:

    The biggest challenge for me, when working with BI Publisher in relation to Oracle EBS, is to convert oracle RDF reports to BIP reports. It is such a painful process to debug over and over again on the auto-generated data templates, trigger procedures and formula procedures.

  11. BIP Fan says:

    Biggest challenge I had was doing multi-column layouts and then building document indexes in BIP. We had to revert to creating columns data in program that generates the xml file and then do a second pass over the xml data to paginate the number of characters in each column node, compute page numbers, assign page numbers to columns and then generate a second xml file to be consumed by the template.

    Yes the documentation is somewhat challenging.

  12. J Devore says:

    Our biggest issue is trying to understand where and how all the data definitions are generated/stored. We’re at the start of upgrading to R12.1.3. Many of the payment and invoice processing have changed to use BI. Once we figure out which concurrent programs generates the report, only to find there are several ways the DD are referenced. Some are xml (and we can find the source on unix), some are java class package generated (found the java class, but still missing pieces on where the xml tags are generated), some are MSL function… are there more? Having a hard time finding all those DDs.

  13. Andrew says:

    We are currently implementing BI Publisher across many ORGs and the biggest issue so far is our item master. The item master was set up differently across our ORGs and now we are faced with an additional project of creating a consistent item master. This is putting our timeline for BI Applications on hold.

  14. Shyam V Nath says:

    In the standalone BIP, the rtf template only allow 60 fields, when we needed to replicate a legacy report with 108 columns that was being used by the business users for ~20 yrs, it was quite challenging… additionally when you point BIP to OBIEE RPD as source of data from multiple fact tables, it is fairly challenging. Then lastly, my biggest challenge is to batch a number of BIP reports to publish periodically based on a criteria.

  15. The most challenging situation we have faced was the following:
    accessing custom developed BIP reports having a datasource = OBIEE Server, in a BIA environment where authentication was done against EBS. There was no easy way of letting BI Server know what was the user trying to access the data. The changes we done were at RPD level, in the Authentication and Authorization variables, to read from some EBS tables holding the user/password info, based on :USER logged on.
    Absolutelly zero documentation on this on Metalink or whatsoever.

  16. Sunder Iyer says:

    I can’t rank my issues as “biggest” or “lowest priority”, but here they are:

    1) Data templates and bursting control files have to be manually created. While this is not a difficult task, it is error prone and you don’t know that you have an error until you run the report or bursting program.

    2) When bursting to email, the send-to/cc email addresses are either defined in the XML data or within the data template. There is no easy way to set an overriding email address (similar to Oracle Worflow Notification Mailer) that can be used during development/ testing.

    3) The development cycle in eBS is (1) Verify SQL or PL/SQL programs/scripts that will generate XML (2) Create data template / SQL / PLSQL programs to generate XML (3) Create concurrent program with XML output (4) Create Data Definition as XML Publisher Administrator (5) Run concurrent program to create sample XML (6) Use sample XML with BI Publisher plugin for MS Word to create RTF template (7) Create Template as XML Publisher Administrator (8) Run concurrent program to view formatted output.
    The sample XML isn’t available until after step 5. The workaround used is to have a dummy concurrent program for each type of executable, unless there is an existing Oracle Reports concurrent program.

    4) The data source is limited to the eBS database. While most operational reports only need to access data within eBS, some analytical reports need to access external data sources.

    BIP Enterprise Edition 11g:
    1) There is no provision to reuse List of Values when multiple data models use the same set of parameters. LOVs are attached to data models and have to be recreated each and every time.

    2) The details on migrating reports from a development server to QA or Production are not clearly specified in the documentation, unless I am missing something.

    I am still working out what I don’t like about BIP EE, but so far I haven’t found too much NOT to like!


  17. Glen Ryen says:

    For the EBS version, I’d add some small points:

    1) Template version control during development. It would be helpful if the seeded XML Publisher Administrator pages would display the file size, last updated date, and/or version number of the RTF or eText template that you uploaded. Had to work around with scripts.

    2) Ability to generate PCL from the template, for printer tray control, duplex printing, etc. This would also eliminate the need for a third-party bolt-on to get a true hardware secured digital signature on AP checks. The workaround of mapping a specific drive letter to a plugged-in USB drive on the AP clerk’s PC is difficult to achieve when the apps and/or network infrastructure is hosted by a third party.

    3) Reports development on pre-printed stationary. The examples you can find on the web work well, but the process is a lot more complex than it needs to be.

  18. Sunder Iyer says:

    @Sunder Iyer
    For eBS, my 2nd point should be
    2) When bursting to email, the send-to/cc email addresses are either defined in the XML data or within the bursting control file

    instead of

    2) When bursting to email, the send-to/cc email addresses are either defined in the XML data or within the data template.

  19. Sidh says:


    Working with BI Publisher Enterprise Edition is fun. I got to learn something new whenever I develop new reports.

    My biggest challeges in BI Pub so far are

    A hyperlink opening in a new window.

    Clob column in excel sheet


  20. Robert Wegner says:

    We have two main issues using BIP in conjunction with the 11i Oracle E-Biz suite. The first is the conversion of 6i reports to BIP and the second is user adoption. It has been a real struggle to adjust the user from the straight forward method of delivery using Oracle Reports to the options provided through BIP.

    Thanks, Rob

  21. Grant Newcomer says:

    @J Devore
    For payments much of the XML data sorce is views. Do a catalog search on IBY_XML%.
    Purchasing does the same for the PO.

  22. Grant Newcomer says:

    My bigest issue is the data templates. They are not difficult but it would be nice to have a tool that could take in an SQL statement and produce a data template.

    The next biggest issues is the email. We would like to have a solution similar to workflow where a test email address could be used to send the test runs to a test email box. Also to see what was sent or to blind copy an email box so that later someone can view what was sent to an outside recipiant.


    The Biggest challenge i faced was generating a PO which is (FIXED ROW format i.e a Fixed number of Lines per page) and the Issue was that . i have to make the PO Look like the one which is Printed on a PRE-Printed stationary only 10 lines per page(that if a PO has 2 lines the other 8 lines should be auto filled with spaces) and the footer section of the PO is always at the End of the PAGE.
    So the issue is caused when there is PO whose Lines(Item Description is Bigger) i.e the Item Description of the line fits into two or More Lines which means . Now i have to Only iterate Nine or Less PO Lines in the Page

  24. Mahesh trivedi says:

    The biggest challange while developing report from BIP desktop was developmnet of cross tab report with
    If we create cross with multiple level of column using wizard, the layout doesn’t render correct data.

  25. Sandeep says:

    The Biggest Achievement or challenge was Building Invoices by using Oracle application BI Publisher tool with first two pages in Portrait(Invoice Description) and rest in Landscape(Original Invoice).
    It can only be possible by using stylesheet i.e XSL-FO.

    it was a very nice experience.

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