IBM Content Manager OnDemand: Report Definition Made Easy

The report wizard in Content Manager OnDemand makes it easy for you to define reports for your end users to retrieve printed output, on demand!

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Debbie Wagner, Software Engineer, IBM Content Manager OnDemand Development

Debbie Wagner is a Software Engineer for IBM's Content Manager OnDemand.



09 January 2003

© 2003 International Business Machines Corporation. All rights reserved.

Introduction

IBM® Content Manager OnDemand is an automated archival and retrieval system that stores printed output such as reports, statements, invoices, and image documents. The printed output is processed and stored onto various types of storage media including hard disks, optical platters, and tapes. Index values are extracted from the printed output and stored in a relational database, such as DB2® Universal DatabaseTM. After the printed output and index values are stored, you can use any of the OnDemand client programs to query and retrieve documents.

OnDemand provides an Administrative client that performs system administrative tasks, such as defining users and reports to the OnDemand system. It runs under Windows NT® 4.0 with SP5 or later, Windows 2000®, Windows XP®, and Windows 98®. In this article I describe how to define reports to OnDemand using the Report Wizard function of the Administrative client.


What is a report?

A report is the data that is being stored in OnDemand. Report data for a particular report can consist of statements, invoices, monthly reports, and so on. To index, store, and retrieve the report data, you must provide information to OnDemand that describes what the data looks like, how long to keep the data, and how to query the data after the data has been loaded. You do this by defining an application, application group, and folder, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Defining report data to OnDemand
Defining report data to OnDemand

There are two ways to define a report to OnDemand:

  • Adding a separate application group, application, and folder
  • Using the Report Wizard

Although the Report Wizard function is not new to OnDemand, you may not know about it if you are new to OnDemand or if you have not yet discovered the Report Wizard toolbar button on the main window of the Administrative client. The purpose of this article is to describe how to use the Report Wizard so that you can quickly and easily define reports. If you've been defining reports without using the Report Wizard and have often wondered, "There must be an easier way," you'll want to read this article for the answer.

Defining the report

The Report Wizard defines a report to OnDemand by combining the tasks of adding an application group, an application, and a folder into one task. Information for the application, application group, and folder is gathered by answering a series of questions on various screens and by using the graphical indexer to define the indexing parameters, the database fields, and the folder fields. Start the Report Wizard by clicking the Report Wizard toolbar button located on the main window of the Adminstrative client, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Location of the Report Wizard toolbar button
Location of the Report Wizard toolbar button

Now that you know how to start the Report Wizard, let's step through the process of defining a report:

  1. Click the Report Wizard toolbar button to bring up the first page of the wizard, as shown in Figure 3. From the available choices, identify the type of data you will be loading into OnDemand.

    Tip: If you select AFP, this indicates that the report data is line data but that you want it converted to AFP before it is loaded into OnDemand. If the report data is already AFP, the Report Wizard cannot be used to define the report to OnDemand.

    OS/400® specifics:

    • The SCS and SCS-Extended are only available when defining reports on an OS/400 server.
    • If you choose AFP, the AFP sample data is converted to line data before being transferred to your PC so that indexing parameters can be defined using the graphical indexer.
    Figure 3. Identifying the data type in the Report Wizard
    Identifying the data type in the Report Wizard
  2. After you choose the data type, click Select Sample Data. . . to select and open a file that contains a sample of the data you are going to load (Figure 4). The sample file should either be the actual input file you are going to load, or the first few pages from the input file so that the locations of the index values can be determined correctly. For data types other than PDF, you will see the sample data using a line data viewer, and the indexer parameters will be written using the ACIF parameter syntax. For PDF data, you will see the data using one of the Adobe products you've already installed on your PC; Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Approval, and the indexer parameters will be generated using the PDF indexer syntax.
    Figure 4. Open file dialog box
    Open file dialog boxOS/400 specifics: If you are logged on to an OS/400 server, the dialog box that is displayed is a Select File dialog box that allows you to search for files on the OS/400 server, transfer one of the files to the PC, and then open the file. For more information, see Selecting sample data from an OS/400 server.
  3. Choose a file and click Open, which brings up the Indexer Properties dialog. The dialog box contains settings for the physical characteristics of the data such as carriage control, record format, and record length. Other tabs on the dialog box let you set other indexer parameters such as AFP resource information, user exits, and index file characteristics. At the bottom of the Data Format tab, you can select how many pages of the file will be viewed in the graphical indexer. If the file is very large, you'll want to limit the number of pages so that opening and viewing the file can be done quickly and efficiently. Make any changes necessary and click OK to display the sample data and bring up the graphical indexer. OS/400 specifics: The Indexer Properties tabbed dialog box is not displayed when you are logged on to an OS/400 server.
  4. The graphical indexer enables you to identify one or more places in the document where index data is located so that it can be extracted and saved in the database. The indexing parameters that are used to define the index values are the TRIGGER, FIELD, and INDEX parameters:
    • One or more TRIGGER parameters are used to uniquely identify the start of each document within the report data.
    • The FIELD parameter contains the location information where the index value can be extracted from the data.
    • The INDEX parameter identifies which database field should receive the index value that was identified by the FIELD parameter.

    Normally, when a FIELD parameter is added using the graphical indexer, only the FIELD parameter is added. However, when a FIELD parameter is added from within the Report Wizard, the Add a Field dialog box is extended so that an application group database field and folder field can be defined at the same time. In addition, an INDEX parameter is automatically generated for the FIELD parameter. Figure 5 is an example of the Add a Field dialog box that is used with the Report Wizard.

    Figure 5. Add a Field dialog box
    Add a Field dialog box

    In the example shown in Figure 5, the name "John Smith" and several blank spaces have been selected. The location and offset information is automatically calculated from the selected text and appears in the Field Information tab. The number of characters that have been selected, including the blank spaces, is displayed in the Length field on the Database Field Attributes tab.

  5. Enter the database field name, folder field name, and field characteristics, then click OK, then close the sample data window and save the changes.

    Tip: When you are adding the FIELD parameters, be aware that the order in which you define the fields is the order used for queries and for hit lists for the folder fields. If later on you decide you want to change the order, you can always go back and update the folder and change the hit list or query order of the fields.

  6. Click Next to go to the next page of the Report Wizard as shown in Figure 6. You will need to answer two questions:
    • Is Large Object support required? Your answer determines whether the data will be divided and stored as separate objects. Select Yes when you have a report that contains thousands of pages of data that logically belong together as one group but must be divided into segments so that the report can be retrieved more quickly, one segment at a time.
    • Do you want to keep the location of annotations in the document database table? Your answer determines whether a column will be added to the database to indicate whether the document has annotations.
    Figure 6. Large Object page of the Report Wizard dialog
    Large Object page of the Report Wizard dialog
  7. After you answer these two questions, click Next. On this page (Figure 7), identify which storage set will be used to load the data and how the data will be expired.

    Choose the storage set based on how long you need to retain the report. For example, you might need to store some reports for seven years and other reports for 180 days. Two storage sets have been previously defined by the system administrator to support each required retention period. Select the storage set with the retention period that is required for this report.

    You can choose to have data expiration determined by load, by segment, or by document:

    • By Load Date: All of the documents that were loaded together from one input file are deleted. The expiration is determined from the latest date in the input file.
    • By Segment Date: All of the documents in a database table are deleted. The deletion occurs when the table is closed (that is, no more entries are added to the table). Expiration of the data is determined from the latest date in the table for the segment date database field.
    • By Document Date: Documents are deleted individually and are based on the date of the document that's specified by the expire date database field.
    Figure 7. Storage set page of the Report Wizard dialog
    Storage set page of the Report Wizard dialog
  8. After you make your selections, click Next, which brings up the page shown in Figure 8. This page gives you the opportunity to set up the application group so that multiple applications can be added to the application group you are creating with the Report Wizard. The first application is added to the application group by the Report Wizard. You can add additional applications later by either using the "add" function of the Administrative client or by using the Report Wizard to add another application to the application group. Later in the article, I describe how to add an application to an existing application group using the Report Wizard.

    If you know that more than one application will be needed for this application group, select the Yes radio button and fill in the remaining information on the page to define a database field and a folder field for the Application Identifier field. You will also need to provide an application identifier value for this application. The identifier is included in the database row for each document that is loaded into OnDemand for the report and is used to identify the documents that belong to the application.

    Tip: Because the identifier is added to every row, it is important to consider the number of characters used for the identifier to minimize the amount of space required in the database.

    Figure 8. Application Identifier page of the Report Wizard dialog
    Application Identifier page of the Report Wizard
  9. Click Next to bring up the page shown in Figure 9, in which you name the application, application group, and folder. As you begin typing the name of the application, the same name is added for you for both the application group and folder. If you want to use different names for the application group and folder, you can change the names that were automatically added, or before entering the application name, uncheck the check boxes that indicate the same names will be used. You can also choose to provide descriptive information about the report you are creating. The same description will be used for the application, application group, and folder.
    Figure 9. Names page of the Report Wizard dialog
    Names page of the Report Wizard dialog
  10. Click Next to continue to the next page, which is the last page of the Report Wizard and is shown in Figure 10. From here you can choose to view a report that shows all of the parameter values for the application, application group, and folder you have created. If you see something you want to change, simply click Back through the wizard and make the change. You can even go back to the very beginning and start all over again or change any values you've defined using the graphical indexer.
  11. When you are satisfied with the values, click Finish. With one click of the Finish button, you've just added an application, application group, and folder!
    Figure 10. Finish page of the Report Wizard dialog
    Finish page of the Report Wizard dialogSelecting sample data from an OS/400 server When you are defining a report on an OS/400 server, you can transfer the sample data from the server. Use the Select File dialog box to choose the file from an output queue and then transfer it to your PC. You can also search for files, either by the userid that created the file (See Figure 11) or by the output queue where the file is located. Select the file you want to transfer. After the file has been transferred, the data is displayed and is available for defining indexer parameters, database fields, and folder fields using the graphical indexer.
    If you've already transferred a file to your PC or the sample file was transferred to your PC using another method, you can select the PC File option on the Select File dialog box to skip the file transfer step and go directly to opening a file on your PC. The Open file dialog box will be displayed so that you can identify which PC file to display in the graphical indexer.
    Figure 11. Select File dialog
    Select File dialog

Adding an application to an existing application group

You can use the Report Wizard to add an application to an existing application group. To add multiple applications to an application group, an application identifier database field must be present in the application group, and there must be an available application identifier for the new application. If the application group was originally added using the Report Wizard, update the application group so that additional application identifiers can be added for each new application.

Adding an application using the Report Wizard is similar to defining a report, with a few exceptions.

  1. Before invoking the Report Wizard, make sure that the right pane of the Administrative client contains a list of application groups, and that you have selected the application group to which the application is being added (Figure 12).
    Figure 12. Selected application group where application will be added
    Selected application group where application will be added
  2. Click the Report Wizard button to bring up the wizard.
  3. Select the data type for this application and then click Sample Data. . . to open a sample data file and to display the file using the graphical indexer. Because you are only adding an application, the graphical indexer is used only to define the indexer parameters, not the application group database fields and folder fields. For this reason, the Database Field Attributes page of the Add a Field dialog box is not used when an index field is added.
  4. Define the indexer parameters, then close the sample data window and save the changes.
  5. Click Next. On this page, indicate whether you need large object support.
  6. Click Next to bring up the page shown in Figure 13. Here, choose the application name, description and the application identifier.
    Figure 13. Application name page
    Application name page
  7. Click Next to reach the last page and then click Finish. You have just added an application to an existing application group using the Report Wizard!

    Note: If an application cannot be added to the application group that is selected, the Report Wizard will define a report to OnDemand (application, application group, and folder) rather than just an application.


Summary

As you have seen, defining a report to OnDemand using the Report Wizard is as simple as answering a few questions and visually identifying the locations of the index values in the sample report data. The number of questions you must answer have been kept to a minimum and are related to the values that cannot be changed after the report has been defined. For any values that aren't assigned based on the answers to the questions or by using the graphical indexer, default values are used and can be changed later by updating the application, application group, or folder.

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