Business analysts often want to pose their own “what-if” questions, such as:
What sales volume occurred in the Midwest subregions in 2004?
How did sales compare to 2003?
To answer such questions, analysts need ad hoc query tools that can slice and dice the data, pivot the data, and drill down to the detailed level. Initially developed as client-server tools, tools of this kind are now mostly browser-based (though they provide similar functionality to the earlier versions). Because ease of use is very important to most business analysts, these tools are designed in such a way that queries are typically posed by selecting from lists of available data (tables and contents) and analysis selections or icons. Users need to know where their data is stored and what it represents. SQL is generated behind the scenes.
Oracle’s tool for query and analysis is OracleAS Discoverer, which supports several different client interfaces for different architectures:
This interface is the oldest of the three. It is a client-server version and isn’t part of Oracle Application Server.
This interface is browser-based and is part of Oracle Application Server. It is deployed via a Java applet.
This more limited interface is an HTML browser client that is also part of Oracle Application Server.
Discoverer Plus and Discoverer Viewer are much more popular than Discoverer Desktop and are the focus of this chapter.
Each Discoverer ...