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About Actuate Design Files

An ROD file is a report design file. It defines the layout, structure, and behavior of a report. The ROD files for the standard Siebel reports are provided with Siebel Tools. A design file is modified in the main window of the Actuate e.Report Designer Professional software, called the Design Editor window. The design file for the Opportunity Summary report (opsum.rod) as it appears in the Design Editor is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3.  Report Design for a Siebel Report in the Design Editor
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The Design Editor window consists of a structure tree on the left and a layout grid on the right. The structure tree is populated with components. The slots (also called nodes) that hold these components can be of various types according to their use and behavior in the report. Specialized icons identify the types of their corresponding components. Of particular interest are the following node types in the structure:

  • Report slot. Identifies the current report. This is the top-level component (OPSUM in Figure 3).
  • Content slots. Identifies where the content is coming from in some portion of the report and how it is laid out. A content node often contains page header, before, content, after, and page footer nodes, which correspond to frames (rectangular report areas) in which visual report elements can be laid out.
  • Datastream slots. Identifies the source of data. In reports for Siebel applications, this is a set of rows corresponding to a current view; its columns are from one or more business components. The datastream node in the structure actually points to an external library file, which is generated from Siebel Tools based on the contents of report (and child) object definitions in Siebel Tools.
  • Pagelist slots. Holds general page layout information for the report and generally is also obtained from an external library file that is common to all the reports.

Recall that Actuate is an object-oriented software product. Each of the icons in the structure tree represents an object, which can have child objects (as illustrated in the tree) and which has a properties list that you can edit. You may note the similarity to Siebel Object Explorer.

The class assigned to an object in Actuate determines its behavior. When new objects are created, or moved from one location to another, you need to be careful not to alter the relationship between an object and its current class, except when you are explicitly told to do so. The following three concepts are related to changing the relationship between an object and its class:

  • Subclassing. Subclassing an object results in the creation of its own class. This class is based on and linked to the class of the original object. All updates to the original object are inherited by your new object, except for updates to the parts you have changed in the subclass. This technique is commonly used in Siebel reports so that your reports inherit new behavior as Siebel products are upgraded.
  • Referencing. Referencing means referring to an existing component rather than creating a new component. You use a reference when an existing component meets your needs and you want to use it exactly as it is, no matter how it might change in the future.
  • Copying. You can copy a component from one part of a report design to another. After you copy a component, it has no relationship to the component from which it was copied.

See the information on concepts in Developing Advanced e.Reports in the Actuate e.Report Designer Professional documentation for a review of Actuate concepts.

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