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17 December 2011

Stupid Programming Tricks #9

Keeping it G-Rated

I have a focus problem – no, that’s not the part that is G-Rated.  My focus problem is that I jump around so many technologies I sometimes tie myself into knots trying to figure what should be, and maybe are, simple things.  No, that’s not bragging, more like an expression of frustration.  But it’s all fun, right?  Right?  My hat is off to those who find this stuff easy, ‘cause that for sure ain’t yr. obdnt. srvnt.

So with the warning to myself to keep both the whinging and the cursing to a minimum, let us proceed with an ODI Stupid Trick.

Going faster miles an hour    

Oh dear, that version is NSFW.  But you have to give the Pistols artistic license.  And it’s a fairly good comment on how much this issue frosted my cookies.

So I am working on my Essbase Special Project using ODI 11.1.1.5 and all is going swimmingly, sort of.  I’m even doing it all in the Cloud.  So what?

I had a Procedure that logs process status to a table (too many steps for emails).  I wanted one of the fields to be appname.dbname with those values passed by #VAR_AppName and #VAR_DbName.  I had these defined as Alphanumeric variables, No History, with a default value initially of ASOSamp and Sample; I subsequently set these to blank because I wanted to assign them via a Load Plan.  In any case, these were set to Declare Variables in my Package and off I went.

The problem
Except that some of the Procedures that used these variables didn't change their value.  Odd.  I deleted the variables from the Package and readded them and regenerated the Scenario(s).  Nope, still stuck, actually, no, only one of them.  Huh?

The Stupid ODI Trick, and yes, it was just luck that I found it
After a lot of experimentation which I believe included scratching my head and rubbing my belly while typing (that's hard to  do with one’s nose but I managed it), I was just about ready to delete the silly things (this would  NOT have been a trivial exercise as they are used through the Project) when I came across this (unanswered) post on OTN’s ODI forum by Steve Truesdale:
https://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=9973095&#9973095
Which then led me to these two (instructive) links:
http://public.sttruesdale.fastmail.fm/ODI%20Variables%20-%20with%20History%20-%20Prompt%20at%20Runtime.png
http://public.sttruesdale.fastmail.fm/ODI%20Variables%20-%20No%20History.png

Simple, right?  :)  Just like everything else in ODI.
Nuke the entire site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure
Channeling my inner Ripley, looking at the diagrams made me think -- I can't get that !@#$ing variable (whoops, so much for the G-rating) to change its value -- what if I changed its type from Alphanumeric to Numeric or Date or Text?  One of those ought to be an illegal type conversion and make the value GO AWAY. 

And so it was.

Sigh. 

At least the variables value now in the Load Plan, just the way they ought to.  That was NOT intuitive, but at least it worked.


07 December 2011

Two (no three) tips from Oracle Support

Introduction or who am I, anyway?

I like things that come in threes.  Perhaps my OTN handle should be “RD” instead of “CL”.

By the way, Rene Descartes had three dreams that drove him to pursue science.  FWIW, I had dreams (all too real) of working in a mainframe Adabas shop (that was subsequently off-shored) forever – I ran to the tender embrace of OLAP just as fast as I could.  I wasn’t always an idiot as a recent college graduate – just mostly.  As for what I am now I leave it for you to decide.  Good grief, what a digression that was.  Okay, the rest of this post is actually useful stuff.

Information Center

Would you like to have all of your EPM (and related BI) Support goodness wrapped into one package so you didn’t have to chase hither and yon, looking for specific articles?  How about a single location that’s even more consolidated than the Master Note Indexes and Oracle Advisors? What, you like searching through Support?  Uh-huh, you were only joshing me.  

There is now one single place to get:

And there’s more than the above, a lot more.  I think I could easily spend a month (or maybe more like a quarter) exploring all of the goodies on this page.

Pretty nifty, eh?  And how do you find this treasure trove, that is, by the by, updated every quarter?

Go right here to find out more:     
EPM and BI Support Newsletter Current Edition - Volume 2 : December 2011 (Doc ID 1347131.1)

ODI is left out, but there’s still great stuff for it

I’m working on a Special Project using ODI right now and it has been an interesting experience.  I’m pretty sure productivity in ODI = being beaten down by the product’s obtuseness, arbitrary nature, and just plain weirdness and then getting built back up by its awesomeness.  I guess it’s sort of like the Army’s BCT except we ODI developers don’t run around to a cadence march or yell Hooah!  I digress yet again. Regardless, ODI really is very powerful but anyone who doesn’t use it as part of his "normal" (can normal be used with me?) job can use all the help available.

ODI isn’t part of the EPM and BI newsletter, but here are three articles for you to obsess about.  What, you don’t do that when I post this stuff?  For shame.

There is a lot of good information in these notes – I wish I had known about them before I began my Journey of Pain that is ODI 11.1.1.5.

HTML rules, Flash, not so much

Oracle Support has this whiz-bang, super-duper web site full of all kinds of nifty interface functionality.  This is good.

If you are on a slow PC or a slow internet connection, it is S-L-O-W.  This is bad.  Do it on a laptop tethered to your mobile phone as an internet gateway and it is beyond slow.  Pouring molasses on a cold New England’s winter morn comes time mind as a barely-adequate analogy.

There is another way to get into Oracle Support’s web page and if you clicked on the above link, you’ve already experienced it – it is https://supporthtml.oracle.com.  All of the same great content, 100x (it is possible I am employing hyperbole to make the point, but it is fast) the UI speed.  What’s not to like?

And that’s it, for now

Yet again, Oracle Support does their very best to make our lives a little bit easier.  I for one am thrilled that this kind of consolidated information is making its way to us.  These products are complicated sophisticated and poor old implementation consultants like me need all the help they can get.  

I don’t know who in Support is responsible for supporthtml.oracle.com, but whoever that is – thanks, you are a life saver.