A Powerful Broker
Report Broker enhances scheduled reporting, offers more output options and adds administrative features you’ll love.
Illustration by David Sather
DB2* Web Query for i provides powerful Web-based reporting and graphing capabilities that let you view data in many different, visually appealing forms. A selection of output options lets you generate reports that automatically populate a spreadsheet, create a PDF or XML file, or generate a DB2 Web Query Active Report that lets end users manipulate the data in a disconnected mode. With IBM’s July announcement of DB2 Web Query Report Broker (the product is planned for GA this month), the background reporting capabilities offer significant enhancements.
DB2 Web Query Report Broker (product code 5733-QU3) adds a new level of scheduled report distribution, enabling more report consumers to automatically receive reports in the formats they most prefer. Report Broker enhances the number of output options available when reports are run in a batch mode. The GUI-based scheduler makes it easy to automate the report execution, with many options for running recurring reports. Leveraging e-mail distribution lists, the resulting output of the scheduled report can be distributed automatically. And with intelligent bursting, Report Broker lets you run a report once but distribute portions of it to users based on a key field.
Many customers have found the Active Reports feature a great way to distribute the query result in a format that lets end users see the data in a variety of ways, including adding calculated fields; filtering the data; sorting, pivoting or rolling up the data; or even creating charts on the fly to export into a PC application. Active Reports is just one output option supported by Report Broker, but is a very powerful way to work with a snapshot of data without returning to the server every time you want to view the data from a different angle. Now, with Report Broker, the creation and distribution of Active Reports can be totally automated.
Report Broker Functions
Let’s examine how Report Broker works. To schedule a report distribution from within DB2 Web, simply right-click on the report or graph and select “Schedule.” You’ll be presented with the dialog box shown in Figure 1. From here, you can set all of the attributes that control this scheduled report.
Within Report Broker, you can distribute reports and graphs with three main methods. The first is to send them over e-mail. The second allows for direct printing to a printer. Third, reports may be generated and saved in the IFS for Web-based access (see Figure 2).
If you’re sending the report via e-mail, you can address it to one person or a distribution list (see Figure 3). The report can be embedded directly in the body of the e-mail or included as an attachment. When sending as an attachment, you can include a custom message. Report Broker also includes the capability to use ZIP compression to reduce the size of the attachments being sent. The compression is done within Report Broker without any outside tools.
The report or graph can also be sent to a line printer protocol printer. This is a printer on a TCP/IP network that the IBM i system can address. In the address bar, enter queue@printerserver, which, for example, may look like firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final method of report distribution is known as managed reporting. With this method, the report is generated and stored in the IFS on the server running i. Any end user with access to that domain can then view the generated report online, which is especially useful if you need a consistent place for users to see recurring reports. Users won’t need to wait for the report to generate. Plus, if it’s a long-running report, this is a way to do a run-once-and-view-many-times report, avoiding several users all running a resource-intensive report on the system.
Intelligent bursting is the concept of taking one report and segmenting it so individuals get only their particular data.