Distributing Reports Using Publications

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create a publication

Distribution Basics

Publishing

Publishing is the process of making documents available for consumption. The contents of these documents can be distributed automatically through scheduling to various destinations.

Publication

A publication is a collection of documents meant for distribution to a mass audience. Before the documents are distributed, the publisher defines the publication using a collection of publishing data. The publishing data includes the publication source, its recipients, and optionally a profile for personalization.

Publications

Publications can help you send information through your organization more efficiently.

Benefits of Publications

  • Enable you to distribute information to individuals or groups of users and filter the information for each principal.

  • Delivery of targeted business information to groups or individuals through a password-protected portal.

  • Minimize database access by eliminating the need for users to send individual process requests.

Note
Publications can be based on one or more Crystal Reports or Web Intelligence documents.  You can not mix and match report types.

Usually, the publisher (the user who owns and schedules the publication) can view all publication instances for all recipients; the recipients can view their own filtered publication instances only.

Note

If you’re a publisher and want to add yourself to a publication as a recipient, use two user accounts for yourself: a Publisher account and a Recipient account. The Publisher account grants you the rights you need when you design and schedule publications, while the Recipient account grants you the rights of a typical recipient.

Publication Formats

Formats define the file types that a publication's output will be published in. A single document can be published in several formats and can be delivered to different destinations. For several document publications, you can specify a different format for each. For publications that include Web Intelligence documents, you can publish the whole document or a single report within the document to different formats.

Any format you choose for a document apply to all recipients of the publication. If you want the recipients to receive instances in both a Microsoft Excel file and a PDF format, each recipient will receive both formats.

The following link gives descriptions of each format type:

Publishing Formats

Publication Destinations

Destinations are locations that you deliver publications to. A destination can be the Default Enterprise Location, the BI Inbox, an e-mail address, an FTP server, or a directory on a file system. You can specify several destinations for a publication.

You can publish several Crystal Reports and merge them into a single PDF.

If you want to publish a publication as a single ZIP file, choose to zip the instances on a per destination basis. For example, zip the instances for e-mail recipients and leave them individually for BI Inboxes.

Publication Destinations Options

  • BI Inbox
  • Email
  • File System

Report Bursting

During publishing, the data in documents is refreshed against data sources and a personal filter is applied before the publication is delivered to recipients. This combined process is known as "report bursting." There are several report bursting methods you can choose from:

  • One database fetch for all recipients

    When you use this report bursting method, all documents in the publication are refreshed once, and then a filter is applied and delivered to each recipient. This report bursting method uses the data source logon credentials of the publisher to refresh data.

    This bursting method is used for Web Intelligence document publications. It's also the recommended option when you want to minimize the impact of Publishing on your database. This option protects data only when the documents are delivered as static documents. For example, a recipient who gets a Web Intelligence document in its original format can change the document and view the data related with other recipients. However, if the document is delivered as a PDF, the data would be protected.

    Note
    • This option protects data for most Crystal Reports.

    • The performance of this option varies depending on the number of recipients.

  • One database fetch for each batch of recipients

    When you use this report bursting method, the publication is refreshed, profiles are applied, and the documents are delivered to recipients in batches. This report bursting method uses the data source logon credentials of the publisher to refresh data. The batches are based on the personal filter values you specified for the recipients. The batch size varies depending on the personal filter value and isn’t configurable.

    This bursting method is the default option for a Crystal Reports publications. It’s also the recommended option for high-volume scenarios. With this option, you can process batches concurrently on different servers, which reduce the processing load and time needed for large publications.

    Note

    This option is unavailable for Web Intelligence documents.

  • One database fetch per recipient

    The data in a document is refreshed for every recipient. For example, if there are five recipients for a publication, the publication is refreshed five times. This report bursting method uses the data source logon credentials of the recipient to refresh data.

    This option is recommended if you want to maximize security for delivered publications.

Personalization Methods

Personalization is the process of filtering data in source documents so that only relevant data is displayed for publication recipients. Personalization changes the view of the data, but it doesn’t always change or protect the data being queried from the data source.

Profile Targets and Values

To personalize a publication with profiles, you must set profile values and profile targets.

Profile targets are data sources that give filter values for publications. The two types of profile targets are:

  • Local profile target

    A local profile target can be a variable in a Web Intelligence document or a field or parameter in a Crystal report. When you use a local profile target, the source document that includes the local profile target is filtered for the publication recipients.

  • Global profile target

    A global profile target can be a universe dimension object. This type of profile target can filter all source documents that use the universe.

Profile targets and profile values enable a profile to add a personal filter to a publication for the recipients. The principals specified for a profile receive filtered versions of the same publication that only display the data relevant to them.

Profiles in the Publishing Workflow

Profiles let you classify users and groups principals. Profiles work with publications to filter the content that users see by linking principals to profile values. These profile values are used to filter data within a report. Profiles use profile targets, which define how a profile is applied to a report. By assigning different profile values, the data within a report are filtered to specific principals.

Using a profile to apply a personal filter to a publication is a two-part process.

First, you create the profile in the Profiles area of the CMC. Creating a profile involves these tasks:

  1. Create a profile.
  2. Add users and groups to the profile.
  3. Assign profile values to each user and group for that profile.
  4. Specify a global profile target if necessary.

Second, when you create the publication:

  1. Add users and groups to a publication as recipients.
  2. Specify a local profile target for the profile to filter (for example, a field in a Crystal report).
  3. Specify the profile or profiles that will be used for personalization.

Profiles and Publications

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