I have been asked the following related questions a few times in the past months and I thought it would be a good idea to post a public answer to them. First the questions:
- Is there any way to get a list of reports that are using a specific universe?
- If I change this universe which reports will be affected?
The Answer – Yes, Definitely, Using Query Builder
The short answer to these questions is “Yes, you can”. The slightly longer answer is, “Yes, this can be done through Query Builder, the BO Auditing data*, or through the Business Objects SDK.” For the purposes of this article, I will confine my further comments to the Query Builder and BO Auditing data solutions; the BO SDK solution requires a set of skills and even licenses that many BO Developers and Administrators do not possess.
I haven’t been keeping track, but I expect that those who have emailed me this question have not studied The Best Query Builder Guide Ever Written. I just wanted to point out that our Query Builder Guide answers these questions, and provides so much more.
The Resolution using Query Builder
For those of you familiar with SQL or just the concept of tables you might think that all you have to do is join up the record of the specific universe with all of the records of the reports where it is used. Well, this is partially true. Firstly, if you know something about query builder you know that reports and universes are stored in separate logical tables and you know that you can’t really join two tables together. The solution here is two part: (1) query the record for the specific universe retrieving all associated report IDs and then (2) query for for each of those report IDs to get the reports’ identifying information.
Query the Universe’s Reports
This is a straightforward query, but be careful if you do not have the universe’s object ID, because it is possible to have two universes with the same name and you wouldn’t want to get wrong data from the start. Here is the SQL statement you need to put in Query Builder:
si_name = 'UNIVERSE_NAME' AND
si_kind = 'Universe'
From this you will get some additional universe info and a list of all reports that are bound to this universe. Copy that list of report object IDs to a text editor and proceed.
Query the Report’s Identifying Information
Take that list of report object IDs from the previous step and parse the list so that each ID is separated by a comma. Then substitute that list for the string “
111111,222222,33333 below in the SQL:
si_id IN (111111,222222,33333) AND
si_kind = 'WebI' AND
si_instance = 0
The output should be your desired list of reports. Now that you see the “
si_universe" property you might ask yourself why I don’t query the report table for my universe’s object ID. Good idea, but Business Objects’ Query Builder query language doesn’t yet support filtering on “property bags”, and si_universe, just like “si_webi” are property bags. They hold multiple values in a single property.
The Resolution using BusinessObjects Auditing Data
If you have enabled auditing on your environment’s report servers then you can look to your Auditing data for an answer to this question. However, auditing data is not meta data; it’s records are created as the objects are used. Therefore if a report is never used then it will not be present in this data set. If this is not a concern, or if you would like to know which reports have been used belong to a certain universe, then querying the auditing data is an option for you.
Querying the Auditing Records
There are many ways to mine this data source for the data you need. For most folks the best, easiest method is to use the “Activity” universe. Here you will find the objects you need. A tutorial on this universe and the auditing data is out of scope here, but I’d like to put together a guide on the topic if I hear of any interest. Another way to mine your data is directly against the database tables (these tables are not encrypted like the Business Objects XI CMS Infostore. This certainly allows for better query tuning, but it will increase the complexity for you. You could even use the SQL of a report created against the “Activity” universe as a starting point, but be careful as that universe is full of derived tables.
Both of these steps might seem difficult at first, but with a little practice you will find that you can whip out answers to these kinds of questions rather quickly. In fact, now you have the tools to answer the reverse as well: “How can I get a list of universe using a specific set of reports?”. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.