Report Builder

I got assigned a trouble ticket that stated the values in a report were wrong. At first another developer thought there was something wrong with my application. I tested it out and found it writing correct values to the database. Being a thorough guy, I decided to dig into what the report was doing. We have a full time reports person here on staff. However she was nowhere to be found when I got to this problem.

To make things run fast, I always develop on a virtual machine these days. Unfortunately I still do not have all my tools installed on that machine. So I decided to install Oracle Report Builder on it. This is an old version (6i). I did not even bother to apply any patches. I found the installation process to be very painful. I was using a remote connection to the virtual desktop. The screen kept spending a lot of time repainting. It is slow because I am remotely accessing the machine. I guess they did not take that into account way back when they were writing this Oracle installer.

Here is a funny thing I did see once the screen stopped repainting. There was a lot of Oracle propaganda that I had to endure during the install process. I saw a message that I was going to be experiencing “High Quality Reports”. That’s a good thing. My customers don’t like low quality reports. Then I read that I would able to explore all my data. I certainly hope that would be the case. I was also informed that I was embarking upon a solution with “Unlimited Data Formatting”.

Things got even more crazy the further I got into the install process. I got one message that just said “Oracle Reports!” Apparently you cannot emphasize this product enough. Then I got to the last straw that said this product was “integrated with Oracle’s spectrum of business intelligence tools”. Ok. If they have to go this far to promote the product, I am starting to worry that this is going to turn out to be a total dud of a product.

Luckily I have worked with this version of Oracle Report Builder before. And it has some issues. Some of them get fixed with one of the patches for the product. I found it to be better than some of the early Oracle 10g report products that seemed to be rushed out the door with a lot of bugs. After I finally installed the program, I was able to determine what the problem was. The report was looking at the wrong field from the data. This is a simple enough fix.