Chris Slack
Chris Slack used Ask the Experts™
One of my companies just switched to a new accounting system. The data is in an oracle database. I have access to the database and I'm currently learn the file structure/layouts. The owner wants custom reports written and would like them to be on a menu driven program so the Project Managers can enter in search data and get a nice looking report. I've seen a few programs that will do this and will allow us to drill down any report if need. The cost of these programs are massive per user. I would like to know if anyone knows of a way to do something like this that's a little more cost effective?
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Geert GOracle dba
Top Expert 2009
you could write such a program if you have developping skills
off course, the program will be limiting in features to start off with

a "nice" looking report is usually not what they need, they just want the numbers in the end
the "nice" part is what yer paying for
Senior Consultant
Hello Chris,

There are many Open source oracle reporting software.
Here are some open Source alternative to Crystal Reports for Oracle.

You can take the free reporting tool from Microstrategy which is mostly used as well.

You can also check this logianalytics, it offers many features like drill-down and drill-through, charting, data grouping, sorting, paging, aggregation and other calculations, export functionality (Excel, Word, CSV, HTML and PDF among others)
- it works with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MySQL, DB2, Acces.
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Distinguished Expert 2018
To add to what Geert posted:  You are also paying for the development time of others.

You fall into the software triangle:  Good, Fast, Cheap.  Pick two.  You will NEVER get all three.

Wanted to mention Access.  You might be able to get away with linked tables and use Access reporting.

You can experiment with some open source reporting buy they are normally lacking key features or the "free" version has restrictions.

If you have development skills, I would agree with Geert that developing your own will meet 100% of Managements goals but will take the most time to implement.
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Chris SlackIT Consultant


I am a developer. The software company doesn't play well with other so I'm in the database trying to figure out tables/data layouts. My customer wants to move fast and they don't have time for me write the interface. That's why looking for something half way there to start. We looked at Crystal Report server. It nice but we are hoping to find another vendor.

Most Valuable Expert 2012
Distinguished Expert 2018

OK, in the triangle you've already selected fast.  Now pick the one other option:  Do you want cheap or good?  Remember, you can't have all three!

Oracle has OBIEE and Oracle Reports.  Neither cheap but play pretty nice with an Oracle database so it should be fast to implement.

Something to think about:  Other storage/search engines.  I recently heard about this combination.  It is open source and free.  Thus far I have only read about them but what I've read has been decent:  Elastic Search and Kibana.  I hope to play with it someday soon!

The link below talks about Oracle performance views but you should be able to integrate just about any Oracle data.

Geert GOracle dba
Top Expert 2009

now there is an idea from steve we are going into: report views

what you basically need is a program which reads data from a view and dumps it into a report
> even sqlplus can generate html reports

sample with pl/sql
albeit not very generic
a generic approach is way easier within a development environment

a html report can use css for fancy effects
you can even add interactive graphs with D3

and this only takes up "a lot of your time"

and something else ... what management always seem to forget:
having a reporting tool is just the beginning.
every report takes time to write and to maintain ... and to change upon request
the report is usually written by someone who more or less knows what's in the tables and what they mean

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