Unveil the Power of Your Business Data with Oracle Discoverer

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by Yuli Vasiliev | April 2010 | Oracle

While starting a discussion about Oracle Discoverer, it would be interesting to say that the name actually stands for more than one tool. Discoverer Plus, Discoverer Portlet Provider, Discoverer Administrator, and Discoverer Viewer – all of these belong to the Oracle Discoverer group. You might be wondering what these components have in common and what purpose they serve. The answer is, all of them are integrated to work together as a complete Business Intelligence solution.

In this article by Yuli Vasiliev, you will look at:

  • Where to get the software containing Oracle Discoverer
  • What components are included in the installation packages
  • How to install Oracle Discoverer components
  • First steps to take in exploring Oracle Discoverer

A quick guide to Oracle Discoverer packaging

Before proceeding to get the Oracle Discoverer software, it’s important to realize what you actually need and what the Oracle Discoverer packaging provides.

At the moment, there are two options when it comes to the current Oracle Discoverer software:

  • Oracle Business Intelligence suite, part of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2
  • Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite, part of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1

The first option – the Oracle Business Intelligence suite, part of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2 – includes the following components:

  • Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer
  • Oracle HTTP Server
  • Oracle Application Server Containers for J2EE (OC4J)
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Application Server Control
  • Oracle Application Server Web Cache
  • Oracle Application Server Reports Services

The first component, Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer, in the above list represents actually a group of components whose name starts with Discoverer. The package includes:

  • Discoverer Plus
  • Discoverer Viewer
  • Discoverer Services
  • Discoverer Portlet Provider

Note, however, that the above list does not include all the Discoverer components. For example, you won’t find the following Discoverer components there:

  • Discoverer Administrator
  • Discoverer Desktop

The above components are included in a complementary package called Oracle Business Intelligence Tools.

As mentioned at the beginning of this section, another option to take advantage of the Discoverer components is to install the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite, which is part of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1.

This package includes the following components:

  • HTTP Server
  • WebCache
  • Portal
  • Forms Services
  • Forms Builder
  • Reports Services
  • Report Builder/Compiler
  • Discoverer Administrator
  • Discoverer Plus
  • Discoverer Viewer
  • Discoverer Services
  • Discoverer Desktop
  • Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control

As you can see, the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite, unlike Oracle Business Intelligence suite, does include Discoverer Administrator and Discoverer Desktop. So you won’t need to install another package to obtain these components.

A major downside to choosing the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite, though, is that it requires some additional software to be installed in your system. Here is the list of the required additional software components:

  • WebLogic Server
  • Repository Creation Utility
  • Identity Management
  • SSO Metadata Repository Creation Assistant
  • Patch Scripts
  • Identity Management 10gR3
  • Oracle Database

Due to this reason – to save you the trouble of installing a lot of software – the "Installation process" section later in this article will cover the installation of Oracle Business Intelligence suite, part of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2 rather than the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1.

Getting the software

Once you have decided on the package you want to install, you can go for it to the OTN’s Software Downloads page at http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/index.html. It’s important to remember that each software component available from this page comes with a Development License, which allows for free download and unlimited evaluation time. You can look at the license at http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/popup-license/standard-license.html. Later, if you so desire, you can always buy products with full-use licenses.

So, the OTN’s Software Downloads page, go to the Middleware section and, assuming you want to download Oracle Business Intelligence suite, click the Business Intelligence SE link to proceed to the Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2 (10.1.2.0.2) page at http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/ias/htdocs/101202.html.

On this page, go down to the Business Intelligence section and find the links to the packages provided for your operating system. Each package is supposed to be copied on a separate CD. The number of CDs and the size of packages to be copied on them may vary depending on the operating system. What you need to do is download the installation packages and then copy each to a CD.

Looking through the links to the installation packages, you may notice that Tools CD – the link to the package containing the Oracle Business Intelligence Tools suite – is available only for Microsoft Windows operating system. This is because the components included in the Oracle Business Intelligence Tools suite are Windows-only applications.

If, instead of the Oracle Business Intelligence suite, you decided on the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer suite, you have to follow the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g R1 link in the Middleware section on the OTN’s Software Downloads page.

Following that link, you’ll be directed to the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11gR1 Software Downloads page at http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/middleware/htdocs/fmw_11_download.html.

On this page, go down to the Portal, Forms, Reports and Discoverer section and pick up the distribution divided into several packages. Again, the number of packages within a distribution and their size may vary depending on the operating system.

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Installation process

This section provides a quick guide to installing the Oracle Business Intelligence suite, part of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2. To obtain a comprehensive installation guide for your operating system, you can refer to the Oracle documentation available at http://www.oracle.com/technology/documentation/index.html.

Here are the steps you need to perform to install the Oracle Business Intelligence suite on Windows (on other operating system platforms, the installation process is similar to this one):

  1. Insert the CD labeled CD1 (assuming you marked disks as they were marked on the download page) into your disk drive.
  2. In the root directory of the CD, find and execute the setup.exe file. It starts the Oracle Universal Installer, checking first if the Installer requirements are met.
  3. The first screen of the Oracle Universal Installer you should see is the Welcome screen, which should look like Figure 1 shown below.


    Figure 1: The Oracle Universal Installer: Welcome screen that appears first.

  4. If you don’t want to de-install Oracle products that might be install on your machine, click the Next button on the Welcome screen to move on to the next screen of the Installer, which is called Specify File Locations.
  5. On the Specify File Locations screen, you can change the source to install the software from and/or the destination where you want to install it. It is unlikely that you will want to change the path to the source, because it’s detected automatically. However, most likely, you might want to change the destination folder.
  6. Once you set the paths on the Specify File Locations screen as needed, click Next to make the Installer analyze dependencies and continue with the installation.
  7. After analyzing dependencies, the Installer should open the Language Selection screen, where you can select languages in which the product will run. This screen is shown below:


    Figure 2: The Oracle Universal Installer: Language Selection screen that lets you select the language or languages in which the product will run.

  8. After you have selected the language or languages to be used, click Next to continue with the installation.
  9. The next screen you should see is the Specify Port Configuration Options screen in which you can specify whether you want to configure the Oracle Application Server ports manually or automatically. The default option is Automatic.
  10. The next screen is Provide Outgoing Mail Server Information. If you’re not planning to distribute reports via email, you can leave it blank and click Next.
  11. On the next screen called Specify Instance Name and ias_admin Password, you must specify the name for the Oracle Business Intelligence instance being installed, as well as the password for it.
  12. Once you’re done with setting the name and password for the Oracle Business Intelligence instance, click Next to proceed.
  13. The next screen is Summary, which summarizes the information about the current installation. In particular, it shows the languages you’ve chosen for the products being installed, global settings, space requirements, and finally the list of the products to be installed. The Summary screen might look like this:


    Figure 3: The Oracle Universal Installer: Summary screen showing all the information concerning the current installation.

  14. Having looked through the information in the Summary screen, you can come back to change the settings set at the preceding steps, by clicking the Back button. Otherwise, you can launch the installation process by clicking Install.
  15. After you click Install, the Installer will open the Install screen that will provide you with the details of the installation of an Oracle Business Intelligence instance on your machine. The Install screen should look like the figure below:


    Figure 4: The Oracle Universal Installer: Install screen that reflects the process of the installation of Oracle Business Intelligence on your machine.

  16. As you should see in the Install screen, the installation process consists of the following three phases:
    • copying files
    • setting up
    • configuration
  17. At some point, during the copying files stage, you’ll be prompted to insert Oracle BI CD2 into your disk drive.
  18. After the copying files stage has been completed successfully, the Installer will proceed to the setting up stage and ask you to insert Oracle BI CD1 again.
  19. Once the setup process is completed, the Installer proceeds to the configuration stage. The Configuration Assistants screen appears in which you can see the configuring work in progress. It’s highly recommended that all the assistants have completed successfully. The Configuration Assistants screen is shown below:


    Figure 5: The Oracle Universal Installer: Configuration Assistants screen reflecting the process of the configuration work being made by the configuration assistants.

  20. After all the assistants have completed successfully, you can click the Next button in the Configuration Assistants screen. As a result, the End of Installation screen should appear.
  21. On the End of Installation screen, look through the information provided in the Please remember... box, and click Exit to complete the installation and exit the Installer. Note that you can always to look through this information later by viewing bi_install_info.txt file, which you can found in the root directory of the installed product.
  22. After you exit the Installer, the page titled Welcome to Oracle Business Intelligence would be opened on your browser.

By now, you should have the Oracle Business Intelligence suite installed on your computer. That is not it, though. You may still need to install some additional software and perform post-installation tasks.

If you are a Windows user, it’s highly recommended that you also install the Oracle Business Intelligence Tools package. As mentioned in the "Getting the software" section earlier in this article, the Tools installation package can be found in the Business Intelligence section at the Oracle Application Server download page – just another package to download in this section, labeled as Tools CD. You won’t find a link to this package in the Business Intelligence sections other than for Windows.

Creating an EUL

Now that you have installed the Oracle Discoverer components on your machine, how can you start using them? Suppose you want to do some work in Discoverer Plus – an-easy-to-use visual tool – analyzing relational data stored in the underlying database. Before you can do that, though, you must have access to an EUL (End User Layer), which contains metadata to access the database data and is intended to isolate you from database complexity. One way to define an EUL is through the Discoverer Administrator tool, which is part of the Oracle Business Intelligence Tools suite.

If you’re not a Windows user, Discoverer Administrator is not among your options – as well as all the other tools from the Oracle Business Intelligence Tools package. In this case, you might create an EUL with the Discoverer EUL Command Line for Java, instead. This tool is part of the Oracle Business Intelligence suite.

Below are the steps of creating an EUL with Discoverer Administrator:

  1. Launch Discoverer Administrator by clicking Start->Programs->Oracle Business Intelligence Tools-BIToolsHome1->Oracle Discoverer Administrator.
  2. In the modal dialog Connect to Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Administrator, you’ll be prompted to enter a username/password couple to connect to the database, as well as the database service name you specified when created net service name configuration as described in the preceding steps.
  3. Once you specified the information required to connect to the database and clicked Connect, Discoverer Administrator will ask you to create an EUL, because you do not have access to any one. Click Yes to create one.
  4. As a result, the EUL Manager dialog looking like the figure below should appear.


    Figure 6: The EUL Manager dialog from which you can create and manage End User Layers.

  5. In the EUL Manager dialog, click the Create an EUL... button to proceed to creating a new EUL. This will launch the Create EUL Wizard.
  6. On the first step of the Create EUL Wizard, you can select a user from the list of database users. This can be done in the Select User dialog, which you can open by clicking the Select... button in the wizard screen.
  7. In the Select User dialog, click button Go to see a list of all users available. Choose one by double-clicking it. For example, you might choose the HR user as it represents a demonstration schema installed with an Oracle database by default.
  8. After a user has been selected, the Finish button in the Create EUL Wizard should become available. Click it to make Discoverer Administrator create the EUL. This process will go on behind the scenes and should take less than a minute. Once it’s completed, you should see a message informing you about it.
  9. Close the EUL Manager dialog by clicking Close.

Launching Discoverer

Now that you have defined an EUL, you can connect to Discoverer Plus. To launch Discoverer, point your browser to the URL that might be as follows: http://yourhostname:7777/discoverer/plus. This should output the login page, which, after filling in, might look like this:


Figure 7: The login page of Discoverer Plus.

The User Name and Password fields in the above login form assume you provide a database user name and its password, respectively. In the Database field, you have to specify the service name for the database as defined in the tnsnames.ora file. And in the End User Layer field, you can specify the name of the EUL you created earlier. For more detail, you can refer to the Connect to OracleBI Discoverer page help topic, which you can invoke by clicking the help link on the login page.

Conclusion

In this article, you learned about Oracle Discoverer, which stands for a group of components comprising a complete Business Intelligence solution. In particular, you looked at the Oracle Discoverer packaging, installation, getting started with it.

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About the Author :


Yuli Vasiliev

Yuli Vasiliev is a software developer, freelance author, and consultant currently specializing in open-source development, Oracle technologies, and service-oriented architecture (SOA). He has over 10 years of software development experience as well as several years of technical writing experience. He wrote a series of technical articles for Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and Oracle Magazine.

Contact Yuli Vasiliev

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