Meridianblues asked us all what the difference was between breaks and sections. I started to answer the question where it was asked, but then I thought the answer might be of value if exposed more broadly in its own article:
What are Web Intelligence Sections?
In Business Objects XI Web Intelligence sections are easily created and often even by mistake (drag a single object to the report and you will see what I mean). They can be made more complex and wider (taller) with greater scope. Sections apply to the entire horizontal area of page over which they are defined (best viewed/managed in Structure View). In other words, you can have multiple tables, graphs, cells in a section if you want. The section is also defined usually by a dimension so that each unique value of the dimension becomes an instance of the section in which all content placed in the section is repeated. All of the content in that instance is filtered to that unique dimension value.
So what are Breaks then?
A break is something that I rarely seem to get these days. No seriously, a Business Objects WebI report break has similar properties to those of a section. It is a sort of pivot around each distinct value of a dimension or formula. However, a break occurs only in a single table/block. Breaks cause the table to be broken up in instances of the break, sub-tables usually. These are easily created, usually by highlighting the desired dimension’s column and then right-clicking or section the top-menu icon.
A Distinction between the Two
Sections can be applied and formatted to function more or less like breaks; however, breaks can never function as sections do, they are limited to the scope of the block on which they are defined. I tend to prefer sections as they allow for greater flexibility and they seem to have more options. Nevertheless, breaks can be excellent for grouping relatively small amounts of data and then aggregating the measures at the bottom of the table.
Personally I would love to hear you all opinions or observations on this topic. Please share openly in the comments.