Catalog Surprises

It’s amazing how far you can push OBIEE. This week we saw a blog about copying a page on it’s own, no dashboard, just a page.

One of the methods I like to use is keep all the dashboard, analysis, prompts and filters for a ‘dashboard’, in a set of sub folders, in one folder.
For example, Folder A has sub folders, Analyses, Dashboard, Prompts, Filters, Lists, Summaries, etc
The problem with this approach is that Answers does not easily deal with shared Filters that are not in the ‘Subject Area Contents’ folder.

But that is easy to get around, just edit the xml on the Analyses that want to access the shared filter and add an entry to the filters section, which refers to your filter. Voila.

Other tips we picked up this week are from the many great blogs out there, such as those below. We don’t always agree with other methods, many being touted as ‘best practice’, but it is useful to see other peoples ideas.
My only pet hate is when people blog or comment on using the tmp folder in the Weblogic server – my ‘best practice’ would be to always define your own styles and skins.

blogBlogs of the week

1. Continuous Delivery of Analytics and BI: Part 1

Stewart Bryson writes, “The folks setting the pace for analytics and BI delivery need to get with the program. The landscape has shifted; we no longer live in a time when IT can say “they’ll get it when they get it””

2. ODI Lineage Reporting

Pete Bunning says, “The question of giving users access to lineage metadata has come up a couple of times recently. One solution is to use the Metadata dictionary as described by my colleague Simon here. On the other hand if you are using ODI to populate your warehouse there is another option which will give you lineage from the database column right through to the presentation columns in OBIEE.”

He writes that it’s helpful to have an overview of the process before you start.  The set up involves 3 steps which he plans to cover in separate blogs.

3. Testing Times

Pete blogs, “We all test our stuff before we put it into production, don’t we? Oh, that’s not a 100% “Yes, of course! that I hear”. I know, testing is hard, it takes time, and besides it never finds the bugs. There are so many kinds of tests that it is confusing.”

4. Adding Common Columns to Tables via Templates and Transformation Scripts

Jeff Smith writes, “In Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler, you can create a table in your relational design that stores columns that you want to be added to all of your other tables.”

Read on for more details…

5. DATAEXPORT FIX on DynamicCalc Sparse Member

Celvin writes, “You might have seen this and have a workaround for this. However it is a surprise that it cannot work.” !!

6. 2015 Buzzwords and Trends in EPM

Eric Helmer names Buzzwords and Trends include:

  • “Big Data”
  • “Internet of Things”
  • “Digital Disruption”

7. The new (and improved) EPM documentation portal

Cameron Lackpour writes, “In my experience (or at least memory, which, as you will read below, is perhaps not iron trap-like) there have been three major iterations of the EPM documentation portal under Oracle’.  Arbor and Hyperion Solutions had documentation before that, but recalling documentation portals from before 2004 (2006?) is simply beyond me.”

He looks at the new documentation and says, ” These are all incremental improvements but those improvements add up to a much easier and handier interface and thus quicker access to the information that we all need.”

8. BI Forum 2015

In this blog post, Gerd talks about how he is very pleased about getting voted from the audience to speak at the BI Forum 2015 (May 6th-8th 2015).

The topic will be “Driving OBIEE Join Semantics on Multi Star Queries as User”

The abstract:

One of the most powerful OBIEE functionality is the ability for users to query several star schemas (multi star queries). Most likely users will use non-conforming dimensions in such a case to filter specific data. Doing so since OBIEE sql generator engine changed the semantic how results are joined. This presentation gives a complete introduction of the possibilities coming along and shows how users can drive inner, left and full outer joins between multi star queries. Presentation will close with a potential bug discussion in the OBIEE sql generator engine.

9. Correct order by Month date in OBIEE

This article says, “When you add a column with MON or MONTH date format in OBIEE report its values would be sorted alphabetically, not by the month number order. This way December would come before January etc. To sort by months in their correct order we need a date in a month number format (1 for January, 2 for February etc.). There are 2 solutions for this.”

These are:

  • Change in Repository
  • Workaround in BI Answers

twitterThis week on Twitter

ODTUG tweeted Going Mobile? Where is Oracle taking you?

Rory Capon posted Why Analytics is eating the world.

UKOUG shared Oracle book reviews

LinkedinThis week on LinkedIn

Richard Chan posted Great blog on how to extract user running report when OBIEE uses single DB connection username

Simon Berglund shared Arranging Data Models

Hugo Ehrnreich posted Mobile reporting, no thanks?

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Stories from and

Videos such as Oracle Developer Cloud Service: Managing Tasks Using Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse

#Kscope14 – A Look Back


Forgot your Password?

I recently started using a password manager, due to the fact that its impossible to remember all the different ones, and it would be plain stupid to have one for all sites and systems.

The only problem is I have forgotten the master password to get into the password management system!

Trouble is, the password manager is soo secure there is no way of retrieving the master password.

This reminds me of a company I was at that installed a state of the art Wifi system, but then banned Phones from the office.

Not really great dits, but useful to point out that some technology is great, but utterly useless if implemented badly.

Reminds me of another tech – OBIEE. Please implement responsibly.

On the work front we have been using Chrome instead of IE and found it to be much quicker. There are a few bugs, you cant edit a table from the views list for example, but generally its a better experience. The styles look different using chrome, so we need to edit the style sheets, and some JavaScript customisations don’t work, so i wont be suggesting that our 200,000 users swap over just yet!

blogBlogs of the week

1. OBIEE – Migrate ATR Report File

John Lamont Watson discusses:

  • So, what is an ATR File?
  • Dissecting the ATR File
  • Is the ATR file the same for a user object?
  • And what can we do with this information?
  •  The solution

2. OBIEE Web Catalog Corruption in OBIEE 11G

Joe Ferna goes through:

Issue 1: User Lockout Issues

Issue 2: BI Publisher not accessible.

He says that the solution to the above issues is to validate the catalog.

3.  Using or runcat.cmd

Srini and Venkat go through how to use or runcat.cmd and goes through the areas CatalogManager understands commands.

4. 17.2.5 Validating the Catalog

This Oracle Document covers:

  • Section, “Process: Validating the Catalog”
  • Section, “Tasks in the Validation Process”
  • Section, “Important Guidelines for Validating the Catalog”
  • Section, “Performing a Basic Validation of the Catalog”
  • Section, “Specifying the Elements for Validating the Catalog”

5. Oracle BICS DITL Part 01

Kevin McGinley gives us a Day in the Life of BI Cloud Service. He says, “What that means is that you get to watch me figure this stuff out as I write, rather than write this perfect, everything-is-easy article that basically tells you nothing meaningful. That means you’ll see me get errors, make mistakes, make poor decisions, and even do things in a sub-optimal fashion. The goal, of course, will be to work past them and gain a better understanding of what to do next time.”

6. Oracle BICS DITL Part 02

Kevin continues with Part 2 of this series, which is entitled ‘Incremental Load’.

7. Attaching A Visual Face To Hadoop With Oracle Big Data Discovery

Mangesh Dange of KPI Partners blogs and shares this video:

8. APEX 5.0: pimping the Login page

Dimitri Gielis blogged about changing the Login page to enhance the user experience.

9. OTN Yathra Tour 2015 – Highlights

Gurcan Orhan shares his experiences of food, cars, Tata and of course, the event itself.

See also the following posts:

OTN Yathra Tour 2015 – Mumbai
OTN Yathra Tour 2015 – Pune
OTN Yathra Tour 2015 – Hyderabad
OTN Yathra Tour 2015 – Bangalore

10. OBIEE – Selecting columns dynamically – part3, better looking prompts

Boris Dahav continues this series of blog posts by writing, “In the previous post I demonstrated how to use Prompts with column names to select column dynamically. In this post I will do the same but with User Friendly values in Prompt.”

11.  Introduction to the Oracle Stream Explorer White Paper

Referring to this white paper, Ricardo Ferreira says, “In order to help first time users to work with Oracle Stream Explorer, I wrote this white paper that provides the basic information necessary to start building applications using Oracle Stream Explorer, also showing step-by-step how to develop a sample application based on the famous “Mall Scene” from the Minority Report film.” Take a look!

12. 3 way switch in OBIEE 11g

Vishal Pathak writes about a process to use conditions on sections to implement a 3 way decision rather than just a boolean (true/false) decision.

twitterThis week on Twitter

UKOUG tweeted A Day of Real World Performance 

Sarah Zumbrum posted Real Time BI with Kevin & Stewart: Ep 023

Kevin McGinley shared Oracle BICS DITL Part 01: Load, Baby, Load

This week on LinkedIn

Richard Chan shared Cloud business intelligence grows, but most BI users still grounded

Ian Bristow posted Feedback request from the Oracle BI Doc Team


Stories from and

Videos such as Customizing Explorations using Oracle Stream Explorer

and Sail Racing teams up with ORACLE TEAM USA and the America’s Cup

Webinar Anyone?

We are well into the conference season, January saw a gathering in San Francisco, Next week Ireland, May in Brighton and Atlanta, then the BIG one in Miami, and of course another San Francisco trip in September, before wrapping up the year in the UKOIG. Phew, thats a lot of airmiles.
Not everyone can get to conference, time and costs can be a barrier, unless you are lucky enough to get a speaking part, even then you have to take time off work and pay your travel and hotel.

So, if you can’t get to a conference (btw you should go to at least one!), then why not try a Webinar.

 noun: webinar; plural noun: webinars
 a seminar conducted over the Internet.
 1990s: a blend of web and seminar.

There are a large selection of ODTUG webinars which cover in depth knowledge, and the one

Even if you are a professional conference attendee, you should catch the webinars.

ODTUG Webinars
















Anyway, on with this weeks highlights for me…

blogBlogs of the week

1. EPM Maintenance Release

John Goodwin writes, “I have finally got round to putting a post together around the maintenance release, I would first like to stress this is not going to be a step by step process guide and to be honest the maintenance release is no different than applying in previous releases which I have already covered here and here.”

Read on for more.

2. The New ODTUG BI Community

Kevin McGinley blogs about the new ODTUG BI Community that himself, Mike Riley, Wayne Van Sluys, Jeremy Harms, and Stewart Bryson will be driving forward.

They will be looking to increase the Webinar presence, focus on meetups and the BI Community page.

He concludes by saying, “I look forward to leading the ODTUG BI Community and hope you’ll join me on this journey. I promise great friends, great content, and great fun if you do, and those are things we all could use in our day-to-day lives. This is a great time to be in BI and an even greater time to engage in the ODTUG BI Community!”

3. RMOUG15 Wrap-Up – Art of BI Software was There

Christian Screen sums up the Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group (RMOUG) event.  He writes of how it was the first time they had sponsored the RMOUG event. Christian said that there was a fantastic turnout with experts in all areas of Oracle technology.

4. Oracle Java Download Add Ons, My non technical rant

Debra shares this article about Oracle Java download Add Ons.

5. Finding size of database tables in Oracle

Michelle Kolbe writes, “Today I wanted to find our top 5 tables in terms of size and row count. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I was able to use data dictionary tables in Oracle to pull this.”

6. Timely Thoughts

Pete blogs, “One of the cornerstones of BI (and much of IT as well) is that things happen at points in time. We have a need to know when something happens, and also the order of events occurring (a series of points in time). Sometimes we are happy to know roughly when, other times we need to know to a precise moment (seconds, milli seconds, nano seconds, whatever). I know my birthday to the day, it doesn’t really matter if I was born at 00:01 in the morning or 15:42 in the afternoon, greater precision does not give me any useful insight into my age. For a lot of things, though, we need to know more. In Oracle we have two datatypes that give us a date-time value; DATE which gives a point in time to the nearest second and the TIMESTAMP which additionally gives us decimal fractions of a second.”

Read on for more.

7. Stupid Programming Tricks No. 22 – Making Applied OLAP’s Outline Extractor fast, fast, fast

Cameron Lackpour continues with his programming tricks – this time on how to Make Applied OLAP’s Outline Extractor fast!

8. Why SQL Part 3 – Simple optimization makes life simpler

Keith Laker says, “Now that we have examined the basics of the relational model let’s move on to how the language actually determines the best way to answer a question through the use of simplified and transparent optimizations. To understand why simplified and transparent optimization is so important it is useful to consider two of the most common programming paradigms, procedural and declarative, since they approach the issue of optimization in completely different ways.”

Read on for more.

twitterThis week on Twitter

UKOUG tweeted A Day of Real World Performance 

ODTUG shared their Upcoming Events

Andreas Nobbman posted Oracle BI Cloud Services Samples

LinkedinThis week on LinkedIn

Monica Hasebi shared Oracle

Ian Bristow posted Fusion Middleware Lifetime Support Policy – Document Update

Parveen Malhotra shared Oracle Industry Connect 2015


Stories from and

Videos such as What is Hard Coding? (HC-1)

and Making Analyses Interactive Using Oracle BI Cloud Service


Here Comes Summer

Spring is here, Have you not noticed going to work in daylight?  Of course I am referring to the Northern Hemisphere.  For those down under now is the time to pack your bags and head north to the sun.

There are many you things you can get online, soo much fun to be had coding OBIEE, playing PS4 (look out for Club OBIEE on drive club), shopping, skyping, etc BUT you can’t get Physical weather, proper contact with friends and family, risking limb skiing, the smell of the sea, and the feeling of the sun on your faces.

So, read the articles below, then go outside and live a little before it’s too late…

BTW One way to mix OBIEE and the sun is to head over to Miami for the ODTUG conference in June.  See you there..


blogBlogs of the week

1.  Simplifying ETL : Part1 – Overview

Umesh Kakkad writes, “This entry is the first installment of a series where we plan to share the ETL framework and standards, reusable utilities and general guidelines that Just Analytics has developed over multiple years of experience in executing small to large size BI/DW projects.”

He says that the next few entries will cover:

  • JBS (Job Management system)
  • Oracle to Oracle data loading utility
  • Data Quality and Reconciliation Framework
  • Post Load Processing (PLP) Engine


Mitul Patel says, “The term application deployment refers to the process of making an application or module available for processing client requests in a WebLogic Server domain. Application deployment generally involves the following tasks.”

  • Preparing Applications and Modules for Deployment
  • Configuring Applications for Production Deployment
  • Exporting an Application for Deployment to New Environments
  • Deploying Applications and Modules with weblogic.Deployer
  • Redeploying Applications in a Production Environment
  • Managing Deployed Applications

Read the full blog for more information.

3. KPI Partners Joins Oracle for Big Data Discovery Fast Track Program

“The Oracle Fast Track Partner Program for Big Data Discovery will help us enhance the value of KPI Partners consulting services for organizations who use Hadoop,” said Sid Goel, Co-Founder. “KPI offers a broad set of services that enable users transform raw data into business insight in minutes. Joining the Oracle Fast Track Partner Program for Big Data Discovery provides us with a range of technical, go-to-market, and support benefits to serve our customers.”

4. Perception of Colors of Dresses and Data Visualization

Dan Vlamis writes, “Finally, people are talking about color perception! Everybody is talking about the white/gold/blue/black dress that has gone viral as people discover that color perception is not absolute. We cover this in our recent Oracle Press book on Data Visualization for Oracle Business 11g. From page 273: ‘We the authors often show a handful of optical illusions involving color perception/misperception during our data visualization workshops to drive home the point that we humans don’t see color as much as we “experience” it as our brains attempt to construct a color model for a given situation.”


5. OBIEE Answers Another Great Print Options

Steve Yeung blogs, “Continuing from my on PDF Print with Page Breaks, I’ll expand on some other great features and a hidden command for print options.”

He looks at:

1. Creating a Sample Answer

2. Print Options

3. PDF Footer results

6. OBIEE – Selecting columns dynamically – part2, simple Prompt

Boris Dahav says, “In previous post I talked about column selectors. They are not enough in complex cases, for example:

  • Single selection of columns for several reports.
  • Using the same column selection in several columns of the same analysis.
  • Dependency between selection of columns (for example, I can select “Target Revenue” in measures only if “Year” selected in one of the dimensions.)
In this post I will create an example where selecting a column from prompt would influence 2
columns in analysis.”

7. Learning Python for BI 

Bojie He blogs, “What does Python have to do with BI report? Well maybe not much directly in enterprise environment, but python can be very useful for my garage project. I want to build a Data visualization product that shows real time update of certain market driven products and get users to subscribe to it for a monthly fee, that’s what python can be handy for my ETL process.”

8.  US President talks about Data Science

In this video, the video of US President talks about Data Science and the first Chief Data Scientist of the USA talks about his mission:


Kashinathan K says, “Oracle Flashback technology was introduced in Oracle 9i and added on to higher version. It provides a set of features using which we can view as well as recover data from Logical corruptions. Most of the Flashback technologies depend on the available UNDO data to retrieve older data. Some of the Advantages of Flashback Technology are faster database point in time recovery and less performance overhead.”

10. Part 2 – Why SQL is the natural language for data analysis

Keith Laker writes about ‘powerful framework’ in this blog post.

He looks at four basic principles:

  1. Projection
  2. Filter
  3. Join
  4. Aggregate

He says, “In my next post, which will probably appear towards the end of this week, I will explore why SQL’s transparent optimization is such a critical feature. ”

twitterThis week on Twitter

Gokhan Atil tweeted Oracle Private Database Cloud REST APIs

Boris Dahav shared OBIEE – Selecting columns dynamically – part2, simple Prompt posted Running two oracle installations from the same terminal

LinkedinThis week on LinkedIn

Ian Bristow shared Business Analytics Monthly Index – February 2015

Hemanta Banerjee posted Simplifying ETL : Part1 – Overview

Sanket Suri posted OBIEE Advance Analytics Video Tutorials

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Videos such as Understanding the Oracle Social Network Web Client

and Webinar: A Mix of Art & Science: How to Achieve High Performance Business Intelligence