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Q&A – Boost your Oracle Reports2Jasper Reports [webcast]

“For us Jasper Reports is the ideal technology to replace Oracle Reports. PITSS helped us with the technology selection and guided us through the migration project. ” (Customer)

“With more than 15 million downloads, it is the reporting engine that takes raw data and turns it into beautifully rendered reports and data visualizations. (TIBCO Jaspersoft)

The high interest in last week’s #LiveMigration Oracle Reports to Jasper Reports confirmed the significance of the topic. About #100 attendees and their interesting questions about the expiration of Oracle Reports support and the great future of Jasper Reports inspired this event.
See some FAQs from this webcast, which will help you on the way to your migration project of Oracle Reports.

Your most important questions about an Oracle Reports to JasperReports migration
Why JasperReports?
JasperReports is one of the most popular and best open source reporting tools
and all requirements that you could implement with Oracle Reports are already covered by the community edition of JasperReports.

The IDE is very familiar for all Java Developers and the concepts of bands, lists, subreports and scriptlets are in straight line. The learning of this framework is smooth and fast. With the Oracle Data Connector and the possibilities to consume Reports via URL and web services allows JasperReports to easily integrate into a classical Forms & Reports landscape.

Can we integrate JasperReports with Oracle Forms?
𝐘𝐞𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞. In general there are three different layers, on which you can communicate to the JasperReports Server. The easiest one is to build an URL and call the Report via WEB.SHOW_DOCUMENT from the Forms module. The second approach allows more options for treating the output. You could consume the REST-API (described in our BLOG: https://lnkd.in/gKCx-qFj) inside any PL/SQL Package.

If you need to run the Reports asynchronous in the background, JasperServer provides a CLI, which you could integrate via DBMS_SCHEDULAR as a one-time job or on a regular base.

How does the cost of JasperReports compare to the cost of a BI Publisher license?
𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐎𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐬 𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭, 𝐁𝐈 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫 (𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫) 𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐬/𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐬 𝐅𝐌𝐖 𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞.

If you like to use them outside the Forms ecosystem, you have to purchase a license via BI Suite or as a standalone component.
JasperReports is basically an open source tool without any license fees. You can purchase a support contract for error handling and maintenance.

Beside BI Publisher, JasperReports provides different editions with diverse functionalities. Out of our experience the Community Edition (open source) of JasperReports covers all functionalities you got with Oracle Reports as well. The most complex edition (TIBCO Jaspersoft) is a full BI Solution comparable to Oracle´s BI Suite.

Does JasperReports have any limitations that BI Publisher does not have?
The functionality of the Community Edition covers the possibilities of Oracle Reports, but has less functionalities than the Oracle BI Publisher. Oracle BI Publisher provides features like self-service portals, reusable data models, multiple delivery channels, etc. If you need those functionalities you can consider the commercial version of JasperReports that has more features and is similar to BI Publisher. If you need more information, request our whitepaper “JasperReports vs Oracle BI Publisher” at customerservice@pitss.com
What´s the difference between JasperReports and Oracle Reports?
When you run the JasperServer you will see a similar concept. You need a WebServer that can be a lightweight one (TomCat), define some data connections and manage a repository, where you deploy your Reports in. If you like to leave Oracle Forms as well, JasperReports provides an alternative infrastructure with the server as a JAR-Library that you could deploy next to your application code.
What is the most important thing to validate before the change or migration?
Three things to keep in mind:

  • Migration is a project and you should treat it seriously. It’s not only a click on a button and runs next to the daily work
  • Take the chance to improve your reporting landscape. JasperReports provides concepts of reusability that aren’t available for Oracle Reports. Harmonizing the layout, consolidating queries and functions increases the maintainability afterwards
  • Destress yourself and run a fine grained stage approach. You can migrate and deploy one Report after the other, because the customer cannot figure out if the PDF comes from JasperReports or Oracle Reports.
Is the Reports2Jasper Modeler an automated tool with minimum interaction from a developer?
Yes, that is our “WHY”, so the reason why we do it.

Our product addresses the three most important issues during a migration:

1.) #SimplifyComplexity: Finding patterns in 1000 of Reports, proof assumptions of all code fragments before deciding on a new direction, show and follow global dependencies that aren’t calculatable for a developer

2.) #LegacyCodeMatters: If you start to develop from scratch, you may miss requirements, fail during implementation of complex queries and functions and face a huge test effort. Taking care of the existing code base as a baseline or springboard, reduces the risk and effort.

3.) #DontRepeateYourself: However, you develop and will reach a point where you step into repeatable actions. That is a point where our product supports generation capabilities that could be highly customized.

How long to convert per Report?
That depends on the complexity of the existing Report. We saw implementations with dozens of queries, nearly infinite loops of repeating frames and thousands of LOC inside functions.

In some cases, not only the amount of objects derives the effort of finalizing the Report. The question is if the existing code (and requirements) addresses an existing solution in Jasper or not. As an example – DML inside a format trigger is easy in Oracle Reports, but it’s not a good idea in JasperReports.

Before you even calculate your project, our product can easily calculate the effort and obstacles of the migration, based exactly on your sources. Check it out!

Does JasperReports use the existing FMW Weblogic infrastructure?

Theoretically speaking yes – you could also deploy Jasper Server on WLS, but I haven’t seen any customer doing it yet. With a lightweight WebServer, the administration overhead is even smaller than with a WLS instance. Besides starting and stopping the managed server there aren’t any benefits for this infrastructure, isn’t it?

What about our Oracle Reports that we are executing in batch files? Do we have the same functionality with Jasper Reports?

Yes – you could run Jasper also from command line

What are the componants required to convert from oracle to Jasper? (server, license, cost, integration time frame, etc....)?
The typical starting point is: Tomcat with Jasper Server, Jasper Server in open-source community edition, integrate via WebService. Time Frame depends on the complexity of your reports
Could you connect more than one database to one report?
How does Jasper handle dashboards?

From the JasperReports Server User Guide: „A Jaspersoft Dashboard displays several reports in a single, integrated view. A dashboard can include other dashboards, input controls for choosing the data displayed in one or more frames, and custom frames that point to URLs for other content. By combining different types of related content, you can create appealing, data-rich dashboards that quickly convey trends.“

How long does it take for an Reports developer to become competent with Jasper?

I take a 5 day training and I’m able to migrate the simple reports. My colleague, which are more familiar, have a very cool learning curve and after 2-3 month they are ready to take the biggest one. It’s importent to train on the job and start with the easy once.

How to connect with oracle database before migration?

Use setup database connections via JDBC inside the IDE. The report reference to the name of the db-connection, which could differ from IDE to test and production environment. 

Are there any Oracle Reports features that the conversion tool has difficulty converting? Such as conditional formatting, Graphs, etc?

We don’t cover matrix reports by now (matter of not realy used by the customers so far) and we advise to redo graphics, because they are cool in Jasper and fast to setup.

Is it possible to send a Jasper report directly to a specified printer ?
That is typically a task for a java post processing implementation. There is no out-of-the box solution in the jasper server, but this could be easily enhanced.
We call and use a lot of database functions, can they be called and used in Jasper?
Yes – in the Query and within the scriplets.
Does Oracle Apex have a report development tool? Can it create complicated reports like Oracle Reports and Jasper?
There is no APEX internal reporting tool available. You could use the export functionalities of Interactive Grids. Oracle tend to integrate AOP – we are also work on migration to this approach.
Is the development tool for the Pro and Community versions the same? Does it have the same functionality?
If you cover the functionalities from Oracle Reports the „basics“ in Community and Pro are enough and the same. There are some addons in the Pro, which enhance the functionality (e.g. customizable Dashboards, etc.) but we do not rely on this in the migration. Most of our customer use the community edition
Can Jasper reports be called from Oracle Forms? We need to embed Jasper or whatever reporting tool we use into our application.

Yes – you could integrate this via WebServices and Web.Show_Document features in Oracle Forms. 

Does BI Publisher have a true development tool like Jasper and Oracle Reports?

BI Publisher provide three different ways to create a layout for a designed data model:
1.) There is a webbased online design tool for simple reports. It’s easy to use but with limited functionalities. 
2.) Microsoft Word. With this you create a RTF Template in the way you create classic form letters in Word. 
3.) Direct writing of XSL without an IDE. 
From the developer point of view, none of them is an IDE like Oracle Reports developer or Eclipse. 

Beside Oracle Application server also a Jasper Server is needed?

You could integrate Jasper as a Java-class in your application or you could use the jasper server. This is usualy deployed on a lightweight server like tomcat or in Forms environment also on a WLS.

You said that Jasper reports is open source but on jaspersoft.com I see only a "Try Jaspersoft Free for 30 Days". It's open source or not?

There are different downloads on the Jasper WebSite. There is a community edition and a pro edition available.

How the reports can be integrated into our current Banner CIS system and how we can create a Jaspersoft Dashboard to run the reports

Jasperreports typically provide two different ways of integration. On one hand you can use the Jasperreports Javaclasses and embedding them into a Javabased application. With the API you could run the reports. On the other hand you could use the Jasperreports Server and communicate with them via webservices. 
Jasper Reports Dashboards are a functionality of the Server and you could configer them directly in the WebUI of the server. 

Is Character based printing (invoices, pay checks) possible?

Yes, you could also create reports like invoices, pay checks, etc. with Jasper. 

Is there a way of automatic conversion?

Yes, try our Reports Replacer Kit!

What about licensing to jasper reports? What about BI publisher/OAC and another open source reports options?

Jasper provide different Versions (community, professional, etc.) which have different licence costs. The community edition is the only free version of those you mentioned. BI Publisher and OAC are not free and need a licence of the Server or the cloud offerings. If you like to discuss other reports solution (BIRT, AOP, PLPDF, etc.) or if you are interested in any kind of licence, please get in contact with sales@pitss.com

The next recommended step is to take the Free Migration Quickcheck to see your Oracle Reports being migrated to Jasper Reports.

Any question left?

Could you find all the answers to your questions on this page? If not, we will be happy to be there for you personally and clarify all open points. Just fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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