iPhone and Oracle Business Indicators - First Impressions

After waiting with several million other people to update their iPhones, or iTouch in my case, I finally got the 2.0 software installed so that I could test the Oracle Business Indicators app.

The Oracle application installed easily once it was downloaded from the iTunes appstore.  There is a PDF file on the oracle site that steps thru the configuration settings for the server and the iPhone. All the information is available here. The BI Presentation server needs to be modified so that it renders the graphics as jpegs instead of using Flash.  This is because the iPhone is not currently compatible with Flash.  If this change is not made the app WILL NOT WORK!  Once this is done it is very simple to use.  It is recommended to setup a separate instance for mobile users so the other users will not have the interactive charts turned off.  A side benefit of this change is that you can now using the iPhone/iTouch safari browser to login to OBIEE and see charts and tables.  Before we could only see tables, which severly limited the functionality.  So now we can use the app to view reports/favorites/alerts and run iBots or view the OBIEE Dashboard.

Any user that has a catalog of Answer reports can login and access the report.  Charts are not interactive but the tabular reports are and drilling and paging through data is supported.   If the report has a table and a linked chart then changing the data status on the table will change the chart as well.

I did have one issue that took awhile to get around.  Since I was working with VM images with OBIEE installed using the hostname of the VM, I had problems displaying the reports.  The iPhone does not allow for modifying the hosts file so that it could see the local machine.  By simply using the machine's IP address I was able to list the reports but I was not able to display the reports.  I was faced with installing a local nameserver or making changes to the OBIEE setup.   I ended up making a couple of changes to the httpd.conf and the instanceconfig.xml files and I was up and running.   This will not be required if the iPhone can resolve the address of the servername.

I am very impressed with this little application!  I was able to see just about any reports that were setup in all of my various user accounts and catalogs.  If the chart was wide I was also able to rotate the phone and it in landscape mode.  Zooming in and out was as easy as tapping or pinching or expanding my fingers.  Creating a custom Favorites list is supported and very easy to do.   These favorites are even editable using the web interface as well!  Once connected several of my alerts showed up under the alerts tab.  I did not have to do anything the number of alerts showed up and I clicked the tab and there they were!  iBots are also supported, remember to turn on the scheduler or they will not work!

Overall, for a first attempt at an iPhone app I think this is an excellent start!  I would encourage anyone interested to give it a try.

Let us know how you do!