Report Builder Evaluation 1

Report Builder Evaluation 1

By Vikas Jain



Report Builder is the Point and Click (or better known as Drag n Drop) report designer provided by OpenLink. This tool boasts of rapid development of Custom Reports and modifying the trend of reports via scripting (AVS/JVS) to more of configuration activity. It has the ability of accessing Endur Data Model directly and just not that; it can access simulations, external files (CSV, XML) and also Plugins to apply additional customization over them. To understand more on how Report Builder works, we need to understand three aspect of it:

  1. Input: Input forms the base of Report Builder, over which the processing/customization is done.

 Though its driven by menu item that says Query Type, it has wide range of objects which can be accepted as input. Major categories of objects which can be passed as input to Report Builder are:

  • Query: It accepts saved queries as input to the report. These can be saved queries from different managers of Endur. For e.g. Trading Manager, Market Manager, Personnel etc.
  • Database Table: Report Builder can also directly access any database table as input. For e.g. ab_tran, idx_def etc.
  • Data Source: Data Sources are the objects which can be invoked to access data which is not part of Endur Data Model. For e.g. Simulations, CSV file, XML, Plugin etc. These can be created within Report Builder module.

To input additional information in form of variables or to give user the flexibility of being able to select more filters/additional information in runtime mode, separate sub module ( under Advanced tab) is defined called as “Parameters”.

Through Parameters windows, additional data can be passed to the Report Builder along with the input which can then be used in business logic of the report.

  1. Processing: The second step is to apply Business Logic over input data to create the desired output. It can be as simple as enriching the input with some additional information to complex operation of running simulations over input. It consists of all the business logic that needs to be applied to the report. The main sub-module where the business logic sits is “Data Selection”:


    This section is further divided in to three sub-sections:

    1. Available Data Sources: This section is complete list of Data Sources which can be used to build the report. As shown in the above figure the data sources can be Database Tables, Files (CSV, XML), Simulations, Plugins etc.
    2. Selected Data Source: This section is the subset of “Available Data Sources” as it consists of the Data Source which has been selected by the user to build the report.
    3. Report Output Fields: Report Output Fields are the fields selected from “Selected Data Sources“. In simple terms these are the columns of the reports which form the report output.


    The second sub-module which controls the business logic of the report is Data Joins (under Advanced tab) . Report Builder need to understand the relation between the “Selected Data Sources“. Hence this section provides the logic of how the data sources which are selected for building the report, are related to each other. These are SQL joins and all the SQL functions are recognized here.


  2. Output: Output is generated from the fields defined in the section “Report Output Fields” as per the configuration defined under “Reporting

Report Builder supports variety of formats in which output can be generated, for e.g. Excel, XML, CSV, Screen etc. Also Report Builder output can be a plugin, which further takes it as an input and can apply additional logic over that.


Now as we understand the basics of how Report Builder works, let’s discuss the good and not so good things about it:

    Strong Points:

  • Report Builder is indeed what it is designed for, a rapid tool for development of custom reports. Reports which were earlier only possible via custom scripting can be designed in Report Builder in much less time.
  • Reports build via Report Builder are lot more flexible and extensible. Moving columns around, or applying custom formatting on columns becomes a mere configuration job instead of scripting work.
  • Response time to business requests is much quicker in case of Reports which can be designed via Report Builder.
  • Reports can be called from different modules with in Endur. These can be scheduled in workflow or can be configured in Desktops making them much more powerful and useful.
  • Capability of Report Builder to build its own Data Source extends the usability of it. Report Builder can invoke data which sits out of Endur Data Model (like simulation results) or even the data which sits outside of Endur itself (like CSV, XML).
  • Even though the basic principle of Report Builder is to move away from scripting reports, but it doesn’t let down the programmers completely. Programmers can call report builder reports from the scripts and can apply additional business logic on the output.


Weak Links:

  • Though Report builder doesn’t necessarily require coding/scripting skills but it’s still a very technical tool and not something which the Business Users can use on their own.

    The main reason is that knowledge of Endur Data Model becomes the basic necessity to be able to build reports via Report Builder.

  • Data Joins are still not very powerful in Report Builder. For e.g. a table cannot be joined to more than one table.
  • Cannot split the extraction on the Grid using just Report Builder. There are alternatives to using a scripted solution calling Report Builder’s API. But no report builder standalone Grid enabled extraction for ETL. ( This is based on the Endur version v12.1 and not sure if newer version has any more attractive grid enabled extraction features)
  • Performance issues when there are large number of portfolio with huge data if running without grid.
  • Can fail with memory issues, as it first gather the data, and then try to produce the output ( csv, table). If the data accumulated is huge, it will cause failure due to engine crashing.


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