New Features for Oracle BI Metadata Repository Builders

This section describes changes to metadata repository features for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g Release 1 (11.1.1). If you are upgrading to Oracle Business Intelligence from a previous release, read the following information carefully, because there are significant differences in features, tools, and procedures.

This preface contains the following topics:

New Features

New metadata repository features in Oracle Business Intelligence include:

New SampleApp.rpd Demonstration Repository

A new demonstration repository called SampleApp.rpd is available for this release of Oracle Business Intelligence. This repository provides best practice information about modeling many different types of objects.

A basic version of SampleApp.rpd, called SampleAppLite.rpd, is automatically installed as the default repository when you choose the Simple Install option. The full version of SampleApp.rpd, which contains many additional examples and features, is available on the Oracle Technology Network. See "About the SampleApp.rpd Demonstration Repository" for more information.

Hierarchy Objects in the Presentation Layer

You can now define presentation hierarchies and presentation levels in the Presentation layer. These objects provide an explicit way to expose the multidimensional model in Oracle BI Answers and enables users to create hierarchy-based queries. Presentation hierarchies expose analytic functionality such as member selection, custom member groups, and asymmetric queries. See "Working with Presentation Hierarchies and Levels" for more information.

Support for Unbalanced (Ragged) and Skip-Level Hierarchies

Oracle Business Intelligence now supports unbalanced and skip-level hierarchies. An unbalanced (or ragged) hierarchy is a hierarchy where the leaves (members with no children) do not necessarily have the same depth. A skip-level hierarchy is a hierarchy where there are members that do not have a value for a particular ancestor level. See "About Level-Based Hierarchies" for more information.

Support for Parent-Child Hierarchies

Oracle Business Intelligence now supports parent-child hierarchies. Parent-child hierarchies (also called value hierarchies) contain members that all have the same type. For example, an organizational chart has a distinct parent-child hierarchy, but all members are employees. See "Creating and Managing Dimensions with Parent-Child Hierarchies" for more information.

Creating Subject Areas for Logical Stars and Snowflakes

You can automatically create one subject area (formerly called presentation catalog) for each logical star or logical snowflake in your business model. See "Automatically Creating Subject Areas Based on Logical Stars and Snowflakes" for more information.

Multicurrency Support

You can configure logical columns so that Oracle Business Intelligence users can select the currency in which they prefer to view currency columns in analyses and dashboards. See "Configuring Logical Columns for Multicurrency Support" for more information.

Generating and Applying XML Patch Files

You can now generate an XML patch file that contains only the changes made to a repository. This patch can be then applied to the old (original) version of the repository to create the new version. This is very useful for development-to-production scenarios, and can also be used for Oracle BI Applications customers to upgrade their repository. See "Performing Patch Merges" for more information.

You can also use the Oracle BI Server XML utilities to create a generic, XML-based representation of the Oracle Business Intelligence repository metadata, on any supported Oracle BI Server operating system. See "About the Oracle BI Server XML API" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Integrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for more information.

Enhancements for Multiuser Development and Repository Lifecycle Management

The following list summarizes improvements and new features for multiuser development and repository lifecycle management:

Metadata Repository File Encryption

Repositories now have a repository password that encrypts the repository contents using a strong encryption algorithm. This feature ensures that repository metadata is secure, including data source credentials in connection pool objects. See "Changing the Repository Password" for more information.

Metadata Repository File Compression

To reduce storage needs, repositories are now stored in a compressed format. Because of this, you may notice that the size of an RPD file opened and saved in this release is significantly smaller than the size of RPD files from previous releases. See "About the Multiuser Development Environment" for more information about using and storing multiple repositories.

Embedded Database Functions

Users and administrators can create requests by directly calling database functions from either Oracle BI Answers, or by using a Logical column (in the Logical Table source) within the metadata repository. These functions provide the ability to access custom written functions or procedures on the underlying database. Supported functions include EVALUATE, EVALUATE_AGGR, and EVALUATE_PREDICATE. See "Database Functions" for more information.

In addition, Evaluate functions can be leveraged significantly for Essbase users. See "Examples Using EVALUATE_AGGREGATE and EVALUATE to Leverage Unique Essbase Functions" for more information.

SQL Functions for Time Series Calculations and Level-Based Measures

The following new and revised SQL functions enable users to create time series calculations and level-based measures:

See "Aggregate Functions" for more information about these functions. See also "Modeling Time Series Data" for information about using the time series functions AGO, TODATE, and PERIODROLLING.


SELECT_PHYSICAL statements provide the functionality to directly query objects in the Physical layer of the metadata repository, and to nest such a statement within a query against the Business Model and Mapping layer or the Presentation layer. See "Syntax and Usage Notes for SELECT_PHYSICAL" for more information.

Support for Calculated Members

Calculated members are user-defined dimension members whose measure values are calculated at run time. You can define a calculated member within a dimension through a formula that references other members of the same dimension. See "Calculated Members" for more information.

Access to Essbase Data Sources

Oracle Business Intelligence now supports Essbase as a data source. See "Working with Essbase Data Sources" for more information.

Access to Hyperion Financial Management Data Sources

Oracle Business Intelligence now supports Hyperion Financial Management as a data source. See "Working with Hyperion Financial Management Data Sources" for more information.

Access to ADF Business Component Data Sources

Oracle Business Intelligence now supports using ADF Business Components as data sources. With this feature, users can integrate operational reporting with any application that is built on top of the ADF Framework. See "Working with ADF Business Component Data Sources" for more information.

Access to Oracle RPAS Data Store Through ODBC

The Oracle BI Server can now access Oracle Retail Predictive Application Server (RPAS) data stores using the RPAS ODBC driver. See "Setting Up Oracle RPAS Data Sources" for more information.

Ability to Connect to Oracle Database Through OCI

Administrators can now use the native Oracle Call Interface (OCI) when importing physical objects from an Oracle Database. Because using OCI is faster than using an ODBC connection, administrators should always use OCI when importing from or setting up connections to an Oracle Database. See "Setting Up Oracle Database Data Sources" for more information.

Support for Dragging and Dropping XMLA Objects

You can now drag and drop XMLA objects (whole XMLA database or cube tables, at the same time or one by one) into the logical layer to automatically create a consistent business model. See "Creating the Business Model and Mapping Layer" and "Automatically Creating Business Model Objects for Multidimensional Data Sources" for more information.

Support for Using a Standby Database with Oracle Business Intelligence

You can now use a standby database with Oracle Business Intelligence. A standby database is used mainly for its high availability and failover functions as a backup for the primary database. See "Using a Standby Database with Oracle Business Intelligence" for more information.

Aggregate Persistence Auto-Indexing

For greater performance, Oracle Business Intelligence now creates indexes and statistics on relational tables when aggregates are persisted. See Chapter 12 for more information about aggregate persistence.

Pruning Utility to Delete Unwanted Repository Objects

Oracle Business Intelligence now includes a pruning utility to remove unwanted objects from your repository. This utility is especially useful for Oracle BI Applications customers who only need to use a subset of the objects included in the shipped Oracle BI Applications repository. See Appendix E, "Deleting Unwanted Objects from the Repository" for more information.

Ability to Defer Execution of Session Variable Initialization Blocks

To improve session logon time and save resources, administrators can defer execution of selected session variable initialization blocks until the associated session variables are actually used within the session. See "Creating Initialization Blocks" for more information.

Improved Usability in the Administration Tool

Many Administration Tool screens, wizards, and other parts of the user interface were updated and streamlined for this release of Oracle Business Intelligence. Updated wizards include the Create New Repository Wizard, Aggregate Persistence Wizard, and Merge Wizard. Expression Builder and the Consistency Checker also contain usability enhancements in this release.

Additional changes include updated and improved icons, a simpler process flow to create joins, improvements to the Query Repository feature, and a simplified way to add some repository objects. Also, shortcuts were added to enable keyboard access to menu options, dialog navigation, and navigation in the Physical and Business Model Diagrams.

Upgrade Considerations

Be aware of the following upgrade considerations:

For more information about upgrading to Oracle Business Intelligence 11g, see Oracle Fusion Middleware Upgrade Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence.