Derek Tomei is the Director of Professional Services for the Oracle Line of Business at Velocity. Derek has over eighteen years of experience in the PeopleSoft and the Oracle space.
 
PeopleSoft applications offer a variety of reporting capabilities. This includes delivered reports written using SQR’s, Crystal, PS/Query and Application Engine.  In addition, PeopleSoft delivers a set of reporting tools that allow both users and developers to create customized reports. One of the greatest benefits of implementing and using PeopleSoft is the ability to generate timely reports and present them to the end user in an easy to read manner.
 
XML Publisher is a template-based reporting solution that separates the data extraction process from the report layout and allows the reuse of extracted application data into multiple report layouts.  It provides a new approach to report design and publishing by integrating familiar desktop word processing tools such as Microsoft Word, and Excel with existing PeopleSoft data reporting tools such as PS/Query.
 
XML / BI Publisher allows PeopleSoft users to create customer-ready HTML and PDF documents, such as employee benefits statements, pay stubs, financial statements, marketing materials, contracts, invoices, and purchase orders utilizing colors, images, font styles, headers and footers, and many other formatting and design options using PeopleSoft Query as the data source without the need to develop using code.  In addition, you can use XML Publisher to create flat text files and XML files that you can exchange with other businesses for electronic data exchange transmissions.
 
Presently, XML Publisher merges your designed template files with the report data to create a variety of outputs to meet a variety of business needs.
 
The basic goal in creating this tool was to allow you to design and create report templates with common desktop applications such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat and render XML data based on those templates.  With a single template, it can generate reports in many formats (PDF, RTF, Excel , HTML, and so on) in many languages.  The ability to separate the data from the actual template layout is what makes this tool so powerful and flexible.
 
With the latest releases of PeopleSoft PeopleTools, Oracle’s XML Publisher stand-alone product has been integrated into and enhanced for use with PeopleTools and makes the technology natively accessible from the PeopleSoft Query tool.  In addition, XML publisher is accessible from any PeopleTools based application that can provide XML data.  For example, you can pull data into pages or rowsets using PeopleCode and utilize the XML API’s.
 
XML Publisher for PeopleSoft provides an environment for managing templates, data sources, reports, translations, and content components online through the PeopleSoft Internet Architecture much like you access any page and data within PeopleSoft.
 
Furthermore, it provides an electronic capability to produce reports according to a user-defined criteria allowing for the report to be segregated by Department, Business Unit, or any other data element available in the report.  Finally, XML Publisher reports can be easily secured using an application’s security join table.
 
In order to start designing reports, the power user will need to have security to the online pages within PeopleSoft to register report definitions and data sources.  More importantly, in order to create and design the actual report template using Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF, you will need to install the BI / XML Publisher Desktop Components onto your computer to facilitate the template development.
 
There are essentially two main components that are installed to assist you with the template development:
 
Template Builder
The Template Builder is an extension to Microsoft Word, similar to an add-on that simplifies the development of RTF templates. It automates many of the manual steps that are required.
 
Template Viewer
The Template Viewer is a Java application that facilitates the rapid development of templates by providing advanced preview capabilities for all template types right from your desktop.
 
The application requires a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) Version 1.4.2 or higher installed on your desktop. While the Word Template Builder is limited to the development of RTF templates, the Template Viewer allows you to preview:
  • RTF Templates
  • PDF forms
  • eText Templates
  • XSL-FO Stylesheets
In general, the Template Viewer is a tool for the advanced user, while the Word Template Builder provides more tools for the creation of RTF Templates and is easier to use.
 
The Template Builder is tightly integrated with Microsoft Word and allows you to perform the following functions:
  • Insert data fields into your RTF templates
  • Insert data driven tables
  • Insert data driven forms
  • Insert data driven charts
  • Preview RTF templates with sample XML data
  • Browse and update the content of form fields
  • Extract boilerplate text into an XLIFF translation file and test translations
If your organization needs a PeopleSoft reporting strategy and would like to learn how to take advantage of XML Publisher in your PeopleSoft HCM or PeopleSoft financials environments, our professional services team can help. Reach out to your Velocity Customer Program Manager or contact us here.