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Art of BI: Action Framework – Location Aliases

Christian Screen | | December 31, 2010

One of my favorite aspects of OBIEE 11g is the Action Framework and how it opens up new navigational features that its predecessor lacked in a big way.  This is my first post on the new OBI 11g Action Framework and I am sure there will be several more though I haven’t planned out a series yet.  In this post I highlight Location Aliases which is both fundamental in guiding report developers to using a standard/base set of URLs from which to create navigation links, etc. and allowing those action links to “automagically” migrate smoothly into another environment without continued maintenance.

The first thing I have to say about configuring Location Aliases is that the Oracle documentation is not complete regarding how to set the location aliases up properly.  The Oracle documentation fails to include that in the actionframeworkconfig.xml file that the location alias elements are housed under the “aliases” parent element.  Without the SampleApp example from Oracle on this topic this information would have been difficult to get one’s hands on.

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So, the concept is really quite simple:

  1. Layout which base URL, WSDLs, etc. are import for users to point to when creating reports and actionable intelligence links.
  2. Have your OBI 11g administrator configure the ActionFrameworkConfig.xml file on each server environment.
  3. Update the config file with the appropriate aliases on environment based on the resulting environment’s details.  For example, if your development OBI 11g environment should point to a internal portal, determine if it when someone is in the development OBI environment should they hit development version of that portal or the production version of the portal. Configure the links accordingly.
  4. Save the config file
  5. Restart OBI Server

Two thinks happen when aliases are created:

  • The aliased URLs are available when creating an action link so that your developers don’t have to type a URL in each time (Fat-fingering is a plague among us).
  • When an alias (seen as @[aliasname]) is selected, when the web catalog / report is migrated to another environment, like dev to prod, the alias will get translated in the value under the context of the current environment.

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This is one of those ancillary type features that will make life easier for many developers and administrators as we move forward with OBI 11g.  Just think about how much of a non-centralized headache that using the 10g “Navigate to” option was. Or, how painful it was om 10g to add parameters to a navigate link (HTML hacking, remember) with values based on the columns.  Those days are behind you with the Action Framework.

Stay actionable my friends!

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