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5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

By Meri Grieve | Small Business

Sometimes when you’re looking for a report in the Documents List on InfoView in SAP BusinessObjects 3.x, the creation and/or modified dates of the report are really what you need to see to find the right report. Let’s look at some solutions for getting to these BusinessObjects Report Dates – including using the little known Query Builder.

The problem is that the Documents List in SAP BusinessObjects 3.x displays five fields:

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsDocumentList5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

Since the creation and modified dates aren’t displayed, you’ll need to look at a report’s properties to see this date information with a Right-click>>Properties. However, this has to be done one report at a time, which still doesn’t give you a list of reports with dates.

Even going to Preferences on InfoView, your choices are limited to displaying these four fields:

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsDocumentProperties5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

No worries, here are some alternatives for obtaining a report list with creation and modified dates:

1. Look at the Audit reports

Business Objects comes with canned audit reports. These reports present data captured when Auditing is set up.

If Auditing has not been set up on your Business Objects installation, then this is not a viable option.

2. Break out the SDK Custom Development

Business Objects comes with a Software Development Kit (SDK). If you have the time and expertise, you could use the SDK to customize the Document List on InfoView to display these two date fields.

Obviously, this custom software development option is not available to the typical organization using Business Objects…although Mantis would be happy to help!

3. Add Dates to Reports during Development

Require your report developers to add creation and last modified dates to the description of each report. The description field will display below the report title in InfoView.

Maintenance effort increases but may outweigh the extra time that it takes now to find these dates one report at a time.

4. Get Dates from Central Management Console

You can get the modified dates from the Business Objects Central Management Console (CMC). You’ll need the proper permissions, and your BusinessObjects system admin may not want to give them to you. If you do have permissions, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Log onto the CMC
  2. Navigate to Folders then sub-folders to find the reports you are trying to locate.
  3. The CMC displays 1 of the 2 fields ‘Date Modified’. Below is what it looks like in one of our environments.

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsCMCDocumentList5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

This isn’t a complete solution, plus users would need permissions to the CMC, but this might be enough info for what you need.

5. Use the Business Objects Query Builder

Admit it – you probably skipped down to this section! Let’s talk about the useful, but often-overlooked, Query Builder. It has a few more steps (not exactly user-friendly), but you can get this kind of elusive “report properties” data in a list. Here are some prerequisites and helpful steps.

  1. You will still need permissions to use Query Builder, but your BusinessObjects system admin will probably approve of Query Builder access before CMC access.
  2. You will need knowledge of both SQL and what is available in the CMS to identify column names; however, using the script presented below will get you the creation and modified dates for each report.
  3. To get to Query Builder use this generic URL and fill in the specifics for Server and Port that is unique to your Business Objects environment: http://Server:Port/AdminTools
  4. A logon screen will ask for the usual BusinessObjects information:
    • System (server)
    • User Name
    • Password
    • Authentication

Here’s how it might look in a BusinessObjects environment:

http://boe.mantis:8080/AdminTools

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsQueryBuilderLogin5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

  1. Once logged on there’s a text box to enter the SQL to return information on reports and their creation and modified dates. The fields have cryptic name but I’ve determined these return the proper data.

SQL from the screenshot below:

SELECT SI_ID, SI_CUID, SI_NAME, SI_CREATION_TIME, SI_UPDATE_TS, SI_KIND, SI_AUTHOR, SI_OWNER

FROM CI_INFOOBJECTS

WHERE SI_KIND = ‘Webi’

AND SI_AUTHOR=’Administrator’

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsQueryBuilder15 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

The results are straightforward, not particularly attractive, plus you can’t save the query to use later – but it does return the required data!

5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder image BusinessObjectsQueryBuilderResults5 Tips to Display Business Objects Report Dates and Use Query Builder

  1. Alternatively, Query Builder offers a step by step method to building a query. You can try it out on your own, or give Mantis a call – we’d love to help!

So, have you taken advantage of the Query Builder functionality within BusinessObjects? How has it helped you?

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