Many Pies

Many Pies

Friday, November 02, 2007

Clunky Oracle Discover reports

I've been using Oracle's Discoverer reports for most of the morning and they are very clunky.

I always thought it looked like a desktop app that's been converted to the web and as I was searching for some sort of tutorial I got a list of the options, one of which is a desktop version so I was correct.

My gripes are:
1. If you want to fill in a value that has to come from a list you get given what looks like a free text field and a torch/flashlight (depending on which side of the Atlantic or Pacific you are).
Rather than having a dropdown arrow if you want to see which values are allowed you click on the torch/flashlight. You then get a new browser window with a list of 25 values. You then have to click "next 25" repeatedly until you find the one you want.

2. You can't delete columns from the resulting report! You can add, but not delete. The workaround I found was to restrict the number of columns on the display to 5 say, and make sure that the ones you want are the first 5 going from left to right.

3. Bloat. It seems that in order to allow some clever stuff, like being able to highlight a column and make it bold, there is a lot of HTML bloat. Here is one single cell in a report:

<td id="dv_c176_0" class="x62" style="font-family:sans-serif,Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,sans-serif;font-size:11pt;font-style:normal;font-weight:normal;text-align:left;color:#000000;background-color:#ffffff;vertical-align:top" onmousedown="_bi_handleMouseDown(event,dv_smodel,-1,0);return false;" onmouseover="_bi_handleMouseDrag(event,dv_smodel,-1,0);return true;" headers="dvc0 dvr176" nowrap><div class="x5f" style="border-top:none;border-bottom:none 1px;border-left:none;border-right:none"><span style="vertical-align:top">cell contents</span></div></td>

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