Oracle Reports Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)/ Oracle Reports Interview Questions
Oracle Reports Frequently Asked Questions
Oracle Reports Interview Questions
Oracle Reports FAQ
What is a Lexical Parameter?
Lexical parameters are used to substitute multiple values at runtime and are identified by a preceding '&'. Lexicals can consist of as little a one line where clause to an entire select statement
Lexical Parameters are used to execute query dynamically.
Example: An example of a lexical parameter usage in a select statement is as follows
Select * from emp, deptno &where
In the properties of the 'where' user parameter, make sure that the data type of the 'where' user parameter is set as character. If you know the maximum length that your where clause is going be, you can set the width of the where parameter to be slightly greater than that number. Otherwise, set it to some number like 100.
If your lexical parameter ('where') width is not enough to hold the where condition assigned to it, you will receive one of the following errors depending on your Reports version.
REP-0450 - Unhandled exception,
and ORA-6502- PL/SQL numeric or value error.
REP-1401 - Fatal PL/SQL error in afterptrigger
and ORA-6502-PL/SQL numeric or value error.
What is a Bind Variable?
Bind parameters are used to substitute single value at runtime for evaluation and are identified by a preceding ':'. An example of a bind parameter in a select statement is provided below, where :P_EMP is the bind parameter reference.
These are used as tokens while registering concurrent program.
Difference between lexical and bind variable?
Bind references are used to replace a single value in SQL or PL/SQL. Specifically, bind references may be used to replace expressions in SELECT, WHERE, GROUP BY, ORDER BY, HAVING,CONNECT BY, and START WITH clauses of queries. Binds may not be referenced in the FROM clause. An example is:
SELECT ORDID, TOTAL
WHERE CUSTID =:CUST
Lexical references are placeholders for text that you embed in a SELECT statement. You can use lexical references to replace the clauses appearing after SELECT, FROM, WHERE, GROUP BY , ORDER BY , HAVING, CONNECT BY, and START WITH. You cannot make lexical references in PL/SQL. Before you reference a lexical parameter in a query you must have predefined the parameter and given it an initial value. An example is:
SELECT ORDID, TOTAL
How many types of Triggers are there and what are they? Tell their sequence of execution.
Report triggers execute PL/SQL functions at specific times during the execution and formatting of your report. Using the conditional processing capabilities of PL/SQL for these triggers, you can do things such as customize the formatting of your report, perform initialization tasks, and access the database. To create or modify a report trigger, use Report Triggers in the Object Navigator. Report triggers must explicitly return TRUE or FALSE. Report Builder has five global report triggers (you cannot create new global report triggers):
- Before Parameter Form trigger
- After Parameter Form trigger
- Before Report trigger
- Between Pages trigger
After Report trigger
Before Report trigger and After Report trigger should be declared compulsory. In the Before Report trigger we declare the srw.user_exit('FND SRWINIT'); user exist and in the After Report trigger srw.user_exit('FND SRWEXIT');
- The sequence/order of events when a report is executed is as follows:
Before Parameter Form trigger is fired.
1 Runtime Parameter Form appears (if not suppressed).
- After Parameter Form trigger is fired (unless the user cancels from the Runtime Parameter Form).
- Report is "compiled."
- Queries are parsed.
- Before Report trigger is fired.
- SET TRANSACTION READONLY is executed (if specified via the READONLY argument or setting).
- The report is executed and the Between Pages trigger fires for each page except the last one. (Note that data can be fetched at any time while the report is being formatted.) COMMITs can occur during this time due to any of the following--user exit with DDL, SRW.DO_SQL with DDL, or if ONFAILURE=COMMIT, and the report fails.
- COMMIT is executed (if READONLY is specified) to end the transaction.
- After Report trigger is fired.
- COMMIT/ROLLBACK/NOACTION is executed based on what was specified via the ONSUCCESS argument or setting.
- The sequence/order of events when a report is executed is as follows:
1. In steps 4 through 9, avoid DDL statements that would modify the tables on which the report is based. Step 3 takes a snapshot of the tables and the snapshot must remain valid throughout the execution of the report. In steps 7 through 9, avoid DML statements that would modify the contents of the tables on which the report is based. Queries may be executed in any order, which makes DML statements unreliable (unless performed on tables not used by the report).
2. If you specify READONLY, you should avoid DDL altogether. When you execute a DDL statement (e.g., via SRW.DO_SQL or a user exit), a COMMIT is automatically issued. If you are using READONLY, this will prematurely end the transaction begun by SET TRANSACTION READONLY.
Report trigger restrictions
1. If you are sending your report output to the Runtime Previewer or Live Previewer, you should note that some or all of the report triggers may be fired before you see the report output. For example, suppose that you use SRW.MESSAGE to issue a message in the Between Pages trigger when a condition is met. If there are forward references in the report (e.g., a total number of pages displayed before the last page), Report Builder may have to format ahead to compute the forward references. Hence, even though you have not yet seen a page, it may already have been formatted and the trigger fired.
2. In report triggers, you can use the values of report-level columns and parameters. For example, you might need to use the value of a parameter called COUNT1 in a condition
(e.g., IF :COUNT1 = 10). Note, though, that you cannot reference any page-dependent columns (i.e., a column with a Reset At of Page) or columns that rely on page-dependent columns.
3. In the Before and After Parameter Form, and Before and After Report triggers, you can set the values of parameters (e.g., give them a value in an assignment statement, :COUNT1 = 15). In the Before and After Report triggers, you can also set the values of report-level, placeholder columns.
4. In the Between Pages trigger, you cannot set the values of any data model objects. Note also that the use of PL/SQL global variables to indirectly set the values of columns or parameters is not recommended. If you do this, you may get unpredictable results.
5. If you run a report from Report Builder Runtime (i.e., not the command line or SRW.RUN_REPORT), you should commit database changes you make in the Before Parameter Form, After Parameter Form, and Validation triggers before the report runs. When running in this way, these triggers will share the parent process' database connection. When the report is actually executed, however, it will establish its own database connection.
6. A lexical reference cannot be used to create additional bind variables after the After Parameter Form trigger fires. For example, suppose you have a query like the following
(note that the WHERE clause is replaced by a lexical reference):
SELECT ENAME, SAL
If the value of the WHERE_CLAUSE parameter contains a reference to a bind variable, you must specify the value in the After Parameter Form trigger or earlier. You would get an error if you supplied the following value for the parameter in the Before Report trigger. If you supplied this same value in the After Parameter Form trigger, the report would run.
WHERE SAL =:new_bind
What is a Format Trigger?
Format triggers are PL/SQL functions executed before the object is formatted. The trigger can be used to dynamically change the formatting attributes of the object. The function must return a Boolean value (TRUE or FALSE). Depending on whether the function returns TRUE or FALSE, the current instance of the object is included or excluded from the report output. You can access format triggers from the Object Navigator, the Property Palette, or the PL/SQL Editor.
A format trigger is a PL/SQL function executed before an object is formatted. A trigger can be used to dynamically change the formatting attributes of the object.
What is Anchoring?
It is a feature thru which we can control the position of the boiler plate or data fields in layout.
Anchors are used to determine the vertical and horizontal positioning of a child object relative to its parent. The end of the anchor with a symbol is attached to the parent object.
When you create a default layout, Reports will create some of its own implicit anchors. These are not visible. There may be occasions when you want to create your own explicit anchors to force objects to be positioned together or to conditionally specify when the object prints.
You create an explicit anchor as follows:
1. Select the Anchor tool in the Layout Tool Palette.
2. Click on an edge of the Child object.
3. Move the cursor to the edge of the Parent object and double click to fix the anchor.
You can position the anchor at any distance down the edge of the object. The distance is a percentage of the total length of the edge. You can adjust this position in the anchor property sheet.
Examples of using explicit anchors:
ANCHORING BOILERPLATE TO A FRAME
You may want to display some boiler plate to the right of, and half way down a vertical list of records.
In this case, you would create an anchor from the child boilerplate to the parent, group or repeating frame. Ensure the parent end point is 50% down the right edge of the frame.
ANCHORING CONDITIONAL OBJECTS
To adjust the position of a layout object if the anchoring parent does not display, you can define your explicit anchor as collapsible either horizontally or vertically. The child layout object then collapses, to suppress additional spacing, if the parent object does not print.
An example of where you might use this would be on Mailing Labels.
Mailing Labels often include optional fields to allow variable number of lines in an address. You may want to suppress the fields that are null, so that the address in the labels does not have gaps between the lines.
where f_address2 is an optional field.
- Select f_address2 in the layout editor and go into the property sheet.
- In Reports V2.5, under the general layout tab, click on the Format Trigger
Edit button to create the following format trigger.
In other versions of Reports, under advanced layout, click on the Format
Trigger to create the following format trigger.
FUNCTION f_address2 RETURN BOOLEAN
IF :address2 IS NULL THEN
- Then create an anchor from f_address3 (the field below) upto to f_address2 (the optional field). In the anchor properties place a check in the collapse vertically check box.
- Create another anchor, this time from f_address4 to f_address3, again setting it to collapse vertically. This process needs to be done for all the fields below the optional field to avoid any unwanted spaces.
What is Frame and Repeating Frame?
Frames are used to surround other objects and protect them from being overwritten or pushed by other objects. For example, a frame might be used to surround all objects owned by a group, to surround column headings, or to surround summaries.
Repeating frames are place holders for records. Repeating frames print once for each record of a group and control record-level formatting. Reports will generate one repeating frame for each group when you create a default layout.
Reports will place containers of columns inside of the frames. Each repeating frame retrieves only one row in its fetch cycle for any one repetition. Until it is constrained by another frame, it will repeat itself until the while loop condition can no longer be satisfied.
We give group in data model as source to repeating frame.
What are Confined Mode and Flex Mode?
Confined mode allows objects to be locked into the place in the layout. Objects are maintained within their containers.
CONFINE mode is not for a specific object, but applies to all objects on the layout when it is enabled (locked).When it is turned off (unlocked), you are allowed to move an object outside its surrounding frame. When it is turned on (locked), you are unable to move an object outside its surrounding frame. This is to prevent unnecessary 'Frequency Errors'.
Flex mode preserves the layout structure while allowing expanding and shrinking of the layout.
FLEX mode, when enabled, allows surrounding frames to grow as an object is resized or moved. Only one object at a time can be moved either vertically or horizontally, not diagonally.
What are User Exits?
You build user exits when you want to pass control from Report Builder to a program you have written, which performs some function, and then returns control to Report Builder.
You can write the following types of user exits:
* ORACLE Precompiler user exits
* OCI (ORACLE Call Interface) user exits
* Non-ORACLE user exits.
User exits can perform the following tasks:
* Perform complex data manipulation
* Pass data to Report Builder from operating system text files
* Manipulate LONG RAW data
* Support PL/SQL blocks
* Control real time devices, such as a printer or a robot
You can use user exits for other tasks, such as mathematical processing.
However, it is recommended that you perform such tasks with PL/SQL within Report Builder itself.
Ex: FNDSRWINIT, FNDSRWEXIT.
How do I Register a Custom Report?
Step 1: Register a concurrent program executable
Navigate to the Define Executable form (AOL Reference manual pg 9-84)
This determines the type of program being run,ie an Oracle Report. Fill in the executable name, application and execution method. For the Execution File, fill in just the filename. The concurrent manager will look in the appropriate directory under the application's top directory.
For spawned programs, the file must be in the bin directory, for Oracle Reports the rdf file must be in the srw directory.
For PLSQL concurrent programs, put the name of the stored procedure.
Step 2: Define the concurrent program
Navigate to the Define Concurrent Program form (AOL Reference manual pg 9-87)
This form links a concurrent program to the executable you just defined, as well as defines the programs parameters, incompatibilities, and other options.
Enter the concurrent program name, application, short name and description. Check Standard Submission if you want to be able to submit this program from the Standard Report Submission form.
Enter the name of the executable you defined and any report information if necessary. Also define any parameters your program needs here and any incompatibilities.
Step 3: Add the concurrent program to a Report Group
First you will need to find the name of the Report Group to use.
Go to Security->Responsibility and query the responsibility you want to run the program with.
It should show a Report Group name. Query this name in Security->Responsibility->Report
Add your new program to the list of available programs. Now when you go to submit a request with this responsibility, you will be able to submit your custom program.
What is a Token?
Token is used to attach a bind variable to a report parameter while registering the report as concurrent program.
What is the use of 'Send to Back' and 'Bring to Front'?
They are used to change the order in which objects are layered on top of each other.
Send to Back is used to move the object behind all other objects.
Bring to Front is used to move the object in front of all other objects.
If 2nd parameter value is based on 1st parameter then how do u declare it?
Let v2 be the value set definition of 2nd parameter and v1 be the value set definition for the first parameter then
In the value set definition of v2 = value $FLEX$.v1
What are Summary Column, Place holder Column, and Formula Column?
Summary Column: A summary column performs a computation on another column's data. Using the Report Wizard or Data Wizard, you can create the following summaries: sum, average, count, minimum, maximum, % total. You can also create a summary column manually in the Data Model view, and use the Property Palette to create the following additional summaries: first, last, standard deviation, variance.
Placeholder Column: A placeholder is a column for which you set the data type and value in PL/SQL that you define. You can set the value of a placeholder column in the following places. A place holder column stores a value which we can refer in the layout.
Formula Column: A formula column performs a user-defined computation on another column(s) data, including placeholder columns. Formula columns should not be used to set values for parameters.
How do u hide fields in a Report?
Ans: Using the Format Trigger we can hide the fields.
/* Suppose that you are building a master/detail report
** and, if no detail records are retrieved for a master
** record, you do not want the boilerplate labels to
** appear. To do this, you first create a summary
** column called MYCOUNT with a Function of Count in
** the source group of the master repeating frame.
** In the format trigger for the group frame that
** surrounds the detail repeating frame and its labels,
** you enter the following: */
FUNCTION my_formtrig RETURN BOOLEAN
IF :mycount = 0 THEN
What kinds of reports u have worked on?
Name Custom Reports that you worked on and explain in brief…
How many types of Report formats we have?
Custom Reports and Standard reports
What is the minimum number of groups required for a Matrix type report?
To create a matrix report, you need at least four groups: one group must be a cross-product group, two of the groups must be within the cross-product group to furnish the "labels," and at least one group must provide the information to fill the cells. The groups can belong to a single query or to multiple queries.
A matrix (cross tab) report contains one row of labels, one column of labels, and information in a grid format that is related to the row and column labels. A distinguishing feature of matrix reports is that the number of columns is not known until the data is fetched from the database.
What is the difference between Bitmap and Character based reports? Explain in detail.
Bitmap vs. Character-Mode Report Design
Here is an example to help explain how Oracle Reports are designed and printed in both the bitmap and character-mode environments.
Assume you wish to print "Cc" where "C" is a different font and a larger point size than "c" and is in boldface type (where "c" is not).
In Oracle Reports Designer, bitmap mode, you can make "C" bold and in a different font and point size than "c". This is because you are generating postscript output. Postscript is a universal printer language and any postscript printer is able to interpret your different design instructions.
In Oracle Reports Designer, character mode, the APPLICATIONS STANDARDS EQUIRE the report to be designed in ONE FONT/ ONE CHARACTER SIZE. Character mode reports generate ASCII output. In ASCII you cannot dynamically change the font and character size. The standard is in effect so a report prints as identically as possible from both conventional and postscript printers.
Bitmap vs. Character-Mode Report Printing
These sequences contrast the two printing environments. In postscript, "C" can be in a different font and point size than "c". Both or either could also be bold, for example.
In ASCII, "C" must be in the same font and character size as "c". Both or either could also be bold, for example.
| |----- ar20runb ------ Postscript ---- Postscript
| | executable language printer output
|----- ar20run ----*-- ASCII
--------- Printer ------ "cc"
executable | characters output
(for bold, underline,
page break escape sequences)
What Printer Styles are used for? Did you develop any printer styles?
How do you fix a performance problem in a Report?
Check Report main query and fine tune it.
Create indexes on columns used in where condition (eliminate full table scan)
Enable Trace(set trace on in before report and set trace off in after report)
srw.do_sql('alter session set sql_trace=true');
srw.do_sql('alter session set sql_trace=false');
Trace file will be generated at location:
select value from v$parameter
where name = 'user_dump_dest';
To better see execution plans in a trace file, you need to format the
generated trace file with tkprof statement.
What is the significance of p_conc_request_id?
P_conc_request_id is declared as the user parameter for reports which will get org specific data. P_conc_request_id datatype is character and length is 15.
How to call a stored procedure in the report? What is the use of that?
The differences between forms 10G and forms 6i?
How do you set ORG_ID in a SQL*Plus session?
Call the Below Anonymous pl/sql block.
The differences between reports 10G and 6i?
While registering a report and a pl/sql block we pass some parameters, for any pl/sql block we pass two additional parameters. Can u list them?
p_errorcode and p_errorbuffer as out parameters in main procedure.
It requires 2 IN parameters for a PL/SQL procedure that's registered as a concurrent program in Apps. They are
1. errcode IN VARCHAR2
2. errbuff IN VARCHAR2
Calling a Form from another Form: FND_EXECUTE(…);
NOTE: The calling and called Forms must be registered with Applications.
Calling a Report from a Form: FND_REQUEST.SUBMIT_REQUEST(…);
NOTE: This method can be used to call any concurrent program.
What are logical page and physical page?
In the Runtime Previewer, you can scroll though a single page of report output, page through the entire report, and split the screen to view different sections of the same report concurrently.
A physical page (or panel) is the size of a page that will be output by your printer. A logical page is the size of one page of your actual report (it can be any number of physical pages wide or long). The Runtime Previewer displays the logical pages of your report output, one at a time.
Why is ref cursor is used in the reports?
How do u use dynamic sql in reports?
Using Lexical Parameters.
How can you show logo in the report?
Using Link File
How can you change the text color of the item at run time?
How can you use DDL statement in report?
When we create a report we use the tables, there is some difference when we use the multi-org tables and ordinary tables, can u tell the difference?
Set p_conc_request_id for org specific tables.
What is a template and what is its use. We have predefined template and we can define user-defined template. Can u tell why we use the user-defined template?
I moved this field into that repeating frame, but I'm still getting a" frequency below its group" error?
I must put a repeating frame around these fields. How do I do this easily?
I switched the page size to 11 x 8.5, but the printer still prints in Portrait?
We have 2 different databases, and each system has 2 tables. Know there is a link provided between them. The client wants a report to be developed based on the 4 tables that r there in the 2 different databases. The solution must be efficient?
Use database links
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