Oracle BI Publisher is a software solution designed for creation, generation and management of business documents. It supports input data coming from multiple sources as an Oracle Database or a Web Application, always in XML format. Oracle BI Publisher will merge that data to predefined templates, designed in one of these renowned tools: Word, Excel, Flex and Acrobat, for example. The merging process produces one of these output formats: PDF, HTML, XLS (Excel), PPT (Power Point), Flash, RTF, CSV, XML, EDI, EFT. Completed its generation, the document can be distributed via Web, e-mail or fax, printed or stored in a Database. Both products,DocPath and Oracle BI Publisher deal with templates, variable data, multiple output formats and document printing, distribution and management.
When selecting a solution there are a number of operational details that need to be taken into consideration:
Template design: Oracle BI Publisher, for example, allows the design of templates using day-by-day utilities such as the MS Office Pack while DocPath admits templates designed on its own Designer tool and RTF files obtained from MS Word.
Multi-language support: BI Publisher supposedly supports 185 languages (it’s not clear how automatic it is). DocPath offers multi-language support through predefined layers in its templates, dynamically switching templates based on the data provided
Document complexity: Oracle BI Publisher was designed to produce static documents. In other words, it is supposed to fill in the blanks of a template. DocPath, in its turn, can produce not only static documents but also very complex and dynamic ones, driven by the variable data received.
Input Data Formats: BI Publisher supports XML format as input data only. DocPath supports several data formats including XML, SAP-RDI, Xerox-LCDS, CSV, plaintext with FCFC, variable or fixed records in plaintexts, etc.
Output Formats: Both, Oracle BI Publisher and DocPath generate multiple output formats. In common: PCL, PS, PDF, HTML, RTF. (We believe that the Oracle solution demands system’s drivers to generate the print formats). Main differences: The first can generate MS Office Pack formats (XSL, DOC, PPT, etc). DocPath can generate ZPL/EPL, TEC, AFPDS, Matrix, PostScript and PCL (with or without system’s drivers).
Connectivity and Operating Systems: Oracle BI Publisher’s documentation is limited.. We believe that the solution offers support to Windows platforms and the best-known Web technologies as .NET and JAVA in terms of integration. There is little or no information about APIs available or its demand on development efforts to integrate user’s application to their solution. DocPath is multiplatform, running from Windows to zSeries systems including Unix, Linux and iSeries. For integration purposes, DocPath has a large set of alternatives containing high performance connectors (.NET, JAVA), integration tools to zSeries and iSeries platforms, integration to IBM MQSeries solutions and other APIs for legacy systems, etc.
Operational base: Oracle BI Publisher is prepared exclusively for a central-based operation. It doesn’t mean that it cannot produce documents to a distributed environment with remote offices however it means that the bandwidth usage may be larger than that verified in a distributed generation solution that DocPath offers. Example: Remote Office Printing Solution, DocPath for Citrix, etc).
Scalability: Oracle BI Publisher scalability is simply based upon template quantity expansion, while DocPath is totally modular. The solution can be expanded from a simple Windows printing environment to a complex enterprise solution just by acquiring and integrating new modules which always preserves the original base solution.
Licensing Rule: Oracle BI Publisher license controls the number of different static templates in its library. For DocPath, it depends on the business demands and the solution designed and implemented to accomplish those needs. DocPath designed template sections such as a header and footer can be shared by multiple documents. “Change once, use many” – meaning easy to use, easy to manage and requires less time and resources.
What is free and what is not: BI Publisher comes as a base product but extended functionality is not provided with the solution. If you need extended functionality you will need to purchase from Oracle. DocPath provides a scalable solution but ensures that all the required functionality is provided with the product.
Performance: In order to generate effective document throughput Oracle BI Publisher provides effective performance in single server situations with moderate volume. DocPath exceeds the requirements of BI Publisher where complex processing is required utilising multi threaded system resources.
Integration with non-oracle applications: Anything outside of JDEdwards can also be handled by DocPath as it is a true enterprise Document Generation solution. BI Publisher is setup only to take XML based output from Oracle solutions and does not scale well when data from other applications is required as input.
Reference available on request
TheFormsAgency Pty. Limited
253 Pacific Highway
North Sydney NSW 2060
ABN 92 151 918 599
In a nutshell
|Oracle BI Publisher||DocPath|
|Template design||MS Office Pack, Acrobat, Flash, etc.||DocPath Designer, MS Word and PDF (DocPath vs. 4.1)|
|Multi-language support||185 languages||Multilanguage support through predefined layers|
|Document complexity||Static||Static and Dynamic|
|Input Data Formats||XML only||XML, Plaintext FCFC, SAP-RDI, CSV, Tagged mode, record mode (fixed or variable), etc.|
|Output Formats||PDF, DOC, HTML, XSL, PPT, Flash, RTF, CSV, XML, EFT, EDI, etc. Printer formats through system’s drivers.||PDF, HTML, RTF, AFPDS, PCL, PostScript, ZPL/EPL, TEC, Matrix printers, other formats through system’s drivers (GDI).|
|Connectivity and Operating Systems||Oracle and Web Applications/Windows based||Multiplatform: Windows, Linux, Unix, zSeries, iSeries. JAVA and .NET Connectors and other APIs available.|
|Operational base||Central||Central, Distributed or Mixed|
|Scalability||Template library expansion||Modular, scalable solution: optional output formats, integrations, and features to reach the complete document life cycle management.|
|Licensing Rules||Templates quantity restriction||License rules in general that fit the business needs.|
|What is free and what is not||Base license then often requires additional purchases.||Known costs. Expandable within core product, total cost over time is reduced|
|Performance||Single processor||True Multi threaded enabling simultaneous processing of data|
|Integration with Non Oracle application||XML only from Oracle||Data in multiple formats from multiple sources|