If you are not yet using the OpenDocument function in your reports you might want learn a bit more about it and see if it could not meet some of your current business requirements, or better yet allow you to amaze your business partners by giving them something they didn’t yet know that they needed!
What is OpenDocument
OpenDocument is simply the ability to open a “document” (a.k.a. report, usually) directly; without having to locate the report and even without having to submit any parameters to the report (optional). A properly constructed OpenDocument URL can be placed on an page that can serve up a URL/link and then users can click on it and be taken directly to the report that the URL specifies.
Major Capabilities of OpenDocument
The OpenDocument function provides a few excellent capabilities:
- Abstraction: users don’t even need to know the report name. They could be given a URL on a web page, email, Word Document, etc. which says “Click Me to Access Your Important Report“
- Simplicity/Efficiency: users are spared navigating to a report and selecting predictable parameters each time (static or dynamic, your web coding skills are your only limits)
- Linking Reports Together: create summary and detail reports that allow for in-depth drilling on specific data or create other interesting and useful relationships between reports
Additional Information about Business Objects’ Open Document Function
BO XI introduced OpenDocument, replacing the “viewrpt.cwr” command in previous versions of the Business Objects Enterprise. OpenDoc accepts many optional parameters allowing various customizations, such as display format, parameter values, and refresh flags.
A Simple Example of an OpenDocument URL
The following is an example of a very simple OpenDocument URL using a .NET web server:
Cautionary Note #1: Please note that OpenDocument calls use URLs and therefore they are bound to the special character limitations of all URLs. That is to say that spaces and certain other characters are not permitted. Spaces can be replaced by “
%20“; however, Business Objects Web Intelligence also has a native function called “
URLEncode()” that can resolve any necessary special character formatting.
Cautionary Note #2: In Business Objects XIR2 it is entirely possible to have two documents with the same name and therefore this simple example should be received in this context. The OpenDocument function supports many parameters that will allow you to pin-point your desired document and in our next article on this topic we will show you how to do this gracefully and With maximum portability across any environment.
Cautionary Note #3:
The URL for OpenDocument varies much between XI R2, XI 3.x, and BI 4.x. This means that if you are migrating from XI 3.1 to BI 4.0 you may have to change any OpenDocument URLs embedded in reports and if you have any external OpenDocument URLs you must update those.
Basic OpenDocument URL Parameter Syntax
OpenDocument can be customized to your needs through many different parameters. It is important to learn each of these and use them precisely as documented.
When used together these parameters can help you specify a precise document using the document’s CUID. The trouble with this is that proper document promotion techniques must be used to retain CUID parity/consistency across all environments. An example of using these is as follows:
This parameter allows you to specify a single value for a single prompt. “[NAME]” is the exact text of the prompt. For example:
This parameter allows you to specify multiple values for a prompt. “[NAME]” is the exact text of the prompt. For example:
This parameter allows you to specify if the document should be forced to refresh its data from the database. Valid values for this prompt as “Y” and “N”. In order for this prompt to work all prompt parameters must have submitted values. For example:
Study the Published Documentation
Business Objects has published documentation on OpenDocument. Most of it is accurate (I think, but I recall there were some issues with the examples). I suggest looking for the document “Viewing Reports and Documents using URLs” which may carry the file name “xi3-1_url_reporting_opendocument_en.pdf”. The basic syntax is generally the same across most versions of XI and BI (as far as I have noticed).