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Oracle Reports [message #367355] Fri, 25 August 2000 08:03
jim
Messages: 74
Registered: July 2000
Member
I have recently read a review of Oracle Reports by a unknown source. Can anyone read over this review and let me know if author's gripes are valid or invalid? Either way can you tell me what Oracle Reports is good for?

Thanks,
Jim
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Introduction

Oracle Reports is the reporting piece of the Oracle Developer Series. It is also marketed along with Oracle Express and Oracle Discover as one of Oracleís Business Intelligence Tools. However, after exploring the functionality of this tool one will notice that aside from creating a simple report using a wizard, this method of reporting should be left to the experts.

Simple Reporting

Oracle Reports is ideal for small simple reports that query data from an RDBMS or MDBMS. These reports consist of a few rows with group totals, report totals and are easily created using the Report Wizard Tool. The end results are canned and do not allow user analysis past what is displayed on the screen. The only opportunity to change any information on the report is to develop a parameter form screen that is displayed at runtime. This only allows a limited amount of information to be changed on the report and it would have to be rerun each time.

Multidimensional reporting is available when using a matrix format and although the information can be presented in an indented hierarchy, any drilling or ad hoc analysis is not supported

Ease of Use

Oracle Reports is not an intuitive tool and it is imperative to have a knowledge of RDBMS or MDBMS for a user to create a report. The report wizard is a good starting point but if one wants to enhance the layout or add objects at a later time there are various issues that may arise.

Issues

Although the Report Wizard Tool is helpful in creating simple reports, it is very difficult to add or alter objects once the Wizard has generated the report. This is due to the complex layering of the layout model and the inability of the Report Wizard to remember any changes. Dissecting the layers is tedious because there are multiple frames stacked on top of one another with little distinction on where one ends and another begins. The Wizardís lack of memory can be a hassle if one has already generated a report using the Wizard and made various cosmetic changes such as altering column width, field position, font color, or font size. Re-generating the report with the Wizard will result in a complete reformatting of the cosmetics. All changes must be made after the Wizard has completed.

Report sizing in Oracle Reports is another cosmetic change that is not easily accomplished. Once a report is generated using the Report Wizard one cannot make it larger or smaller without a significant amount of work. There is not an option to make the entire report size change with one click. Each object must be individually altered to fit the userís desired size requirements.

Another frustrating feature of Oracle Reports is choosing the page orientation. This decision must be made at the initial design stage. In the Report Wizard, a template must be selected to determine whether the report will be either landscape or portrait. Once you have selected a template and generated a report using the Report Wizard, Oracle Reports does not allow you to change this option in any other location.

Final Point

As mentioned above Oracle Reports is a good tool for simple reporting. Aside from its ease of use issues, Oracle Reports does not provide the intense analytical functionality that is needed in applications for this particular industry. Therefore, a company who specializes in Decision Support and Business Intelligence, would probably not want to utilize it.
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