XML Publisher: the new standard for e-Business Suite reports
Publish quickly in XML
Everyone working with Oracle e-Business Suite has to deal with documents for external people, like invoices for customers and purchase orders for suppliers. Documents preferably having a company style layout, and therefore as a rule different from the standard reports Oracle supplies. That is why Oracle developed a new reporting tool: XML Publisher. This brings the layout part of Oracle Reports to a user-friendly word processor, considerably simplifying building and adapting of reports.
The XML Publisher architecture is depicted in the figure. The basis of the concept is that Oracle Reports builds the data model – called ‘Query’ – and that the template is designed in a word processor. The only condition is that the word processor can save documents in Rich Text Format (RTF). OpenOffice and MS Word are perfectly suitable for the job. To design documents with logos, tables, fonts, text color and other layout features, the user has the ease of use of the familiar word processor.
Figure: XML Publisher Architecture showing how Applications and XML Publisher are connected
A report designed by XML Publisher is handled in Oracle e-Business Suite in the same way as a traditional report. In the output options you only have to specify spooling to XML instead of Text, PDF or PostScript. You then use XML Publisher Administrator to link the Concurrent Program with the RTF template. Finally you specify in XML Publisher how you want to present the report in final (file) format, Excel and RTF being two varieties which were previously not available in e-Business Suite.
Once a report has been designed, building or changing the layout in XML Publisher takes much less time than Oracle Reports. The layout is also so easy to adapt that any user, both functional and technical, can work it out easily. As a result no developer is needed anymore for changes, and no DBA is necessary to put the template on the server. Another advantage of XML Publisher is that it is possible to link multiple templates to the same Concurrent Program, which makes it easy to generate reports in different languages or in different types (summary or detailed).
Development of XML Publisher
XML Publisher is a new tool and is still being developed further. Oracle regularly releases new versions of XML Publisher, which can be installed with patches. These versions contain solutions for bugs and also new functionality. Delivery Manager is a good example, it makes it possible to determine which channel is used to deliver a particular document to the customer, e.g. e-mail, printer, fax, WebDAV, FTP or HTTP. Another new addition is the Template Builder, an add-on fully integrated with MS Word. Template Builder makes it possible to select all available XML elements from a list (drag & drop), making template building even easier.
Standard in custom reports
With the arrival of XML Publisher it is fair to say that Oracle has expanded its range of reporting tools considerably. Layouts can be created faster and developers are not absolutely necessary for immediate changes. In addition XML Publisher is fully integrated in version 11.5.10 and higher of Oracle e-Business Suite, which means the user cannot see the difference between running a traditional report and an XML Publisher report. Driven by the continuous wish to reduce report maintenance costs, it is to be expected that XML Publisher becomes thé standard for generating all e-Business Suite reports.
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