Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How to Design Effective Cognos Report Studio Templates

1 Context
There are many articles to address this topic. Instead of showing you the generic solution, this document is intended to provide a few tips to resolve a few practical problems, listed below
1) Separate report template from layout components
2) Define all styles in report template
3) Make title/header/footer dynamic based report description
4) Share the same report template for both excel and PDF
5) Make more detail report pages in report template with accurate size
 

2 Separate report template from layout components
The layout components mainly refers page header, page footer and page title. We want to make sure that these changes should be changed only once if needed. Therefore, we need to define layout components as many as possible, and then make report template to use these components as references. Report developers do not need to make report header and footer to point components any more.
 

3 Define all styles in report template
If we want to make report style for list and crosstab, we can change Global Class Extensions as well as define local Classes. If we change Global Class Extensions as proposed standard, then any reports applied this template will use the defined style. The problem is that we cannot change template once and reflect this change for all reports, as it doesn’t work the same way as layout component reference. The local Classes are very useful to standardize reports as well, in addition, this concept can be applied for active report development to reduce mht file size.



4 Make title/header/footer dynamic based report description
As report name appears on report for every pages including report title. However, sometimes you can not change report name once developed as the report name may be used in report schedule. The solution is to leverage report description. If report description will override report name.

Please note that report description is not saved in report specification, therefore, report description won’t be available when running report from report studio, and report name will be displayed. However, report description will be displayed for end users and scheduled output.
The script for report title for layout calculation is below
if (character_length(ReportDescription ()) = 0 ) then (ReportName ()) else (ReportDescription())



5 Share the same report template for both excel and PDF
As PDF and EXCEL output is different, using the same report footer and header is impossible. One of main problem is that the columns length is NOT based on report contents such as list and crosstab duo to the impact from report footer.  The idea is to make report header and footer to be selected based on the report output. For example, we can make footer as block as layout component reference. Two blocks within this block will be defined as EXCEL block and PDF block. Then we can use conditional rendering to proceed.
 

6 Make more detail report pages in report template with accurate size
As known, the size is very important to control, especially when charts and tables are combined on same page. We don’t want chart size to impact on table. The solution is to specify the exact size for both charts and tables, so that report will be generated as exact as expected when apply predefined template.

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