Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fifth year anniversary of Armstrong-Smith Consulting and we have an offer for you

Armstrong-Smith Consulting is over 5 years old
It was five years ago, way back in 2004, that Armstrong-Smith Consulting was founded and in that time we have helped over 200 customers with Discoverer training or consulting. We are proud to have attained our five year status and as a means of saying thank you to all of our customers and friends around the world, we are making you an amazing offer on our world-class E-Learning initiative.

As you know we have developed what is arguably the best Discoverer training in the world. Mind you, you don't have to take my word on this, click here to see some of the comments we have received about our training.

We curently offer standard training for both Discoverer administrators (click here for outline) and end users (click here for end user outline).

Our E-Learning initiative was introduced during 2009 and has been very successful. This initiative provides attendees with a full video recording of our courses, with 13 modules in the administration class and 17 modules in the end user class.

If you haven't sampled any of these we have two free demos of our end user training and one free demo of our administrator training available for trial on our website at these locations:
  • For the first example end user module (Understanding Discoverer) click here
  • For the second example end user module (A First Look at Viewer) click here
  • For the administration example module (Creating the Business Area) click here
Thank You Offer
Until further notice we will let you have our E-Learning courses available for the following amazing prices:
  • Administration Class - only $99.00

  • End User Class - only $199.00

  • Buy both for only $249.00
This is the offer of the year and these prices represent a saving of 1000s of dollars over our standard price list.

We know that these courses will be of particular interest to people outside of the USA, or for people on a limited budget who cannot get to one of our fantastic instructor-led sessions in beautiful Tennessee, or for someone like you who would like to get training but your company has cut back on your training budget. Whatever the reason, you cannot afford not to take part in this offer to get a personal copy of one or both of our world-class training.

What will you get?
When you buy our E-Learning training through this offer, you get everything you need to complete our training. Here is what you get:
  1. You get the 13 Administration or 17 End User interactive video modules

  2. You get a PDF copy of the full Armstrong-Smith Consulting manual

  3. You get a copy of the Armstrong-Smith Consulting database schema along with full instructions for installing onto your database

  4. You get the full Armstrong-Smith EUL complete with test workbooks
Purchase Now
So what are you waiting for? Drop me an email or click here to get more information on make a purchase. The material will be delivered to you by CD in the mail and we ship within a couple of business days of receiving your order.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Release and patch numbers for all Discoverer versions - October 2010

Hello everyone
From time to time I publish a release guide for Oracle Discoverer. This posting contains the latest information, as of October 26, 2010. I will endeavor to update this every couple of months with the latest information, with a complete new posting every 12 months.
Best wishes, Michael
  • Discoverer 11g - release 1 of this new version was released during summer 2009. Over the years, many people have tended to stay away from first releases in production but it does depend on the size and scope of your organization or project as well your resources and further needs. Personally, I would err on the side of caution before installing this in a production environment but rather wait either for patch set 1, which I believe is now out, or for 11g release 2 which will be in 2010. Many exciting new features will be added as part of Discoverer 11g R2, including interfacing to many of the OBI EE tools.
    Note 1: Discoverer 11g will be the first version of Discoverer to be certified with the Microsoft IE 8 browser.

    Note 2: Premier Support for Discoverer 11g is scheduled to end in June 2014, with extended support available until June 2017 followed by indefinite sustaining support. Discoverer 11g is pat of Oracle Fusion Middleware. Click here for more details
  • Discoverer 10g ( - Originally known by the code name Drake, this is the current and most up-to-date release and the one you should be on if you can. Notwithstanding the fact that this is the current version it is also an excellent piece of software. It has a much improved user interface when compared to previous versions and is packed with lots of new and exciting features, and can even be interfaced to BI Publisher (part of OBI EE).

    This version has two current release levels depending upon which patch you have applied. (installed using patch 4960210) is the version number for, while (installed using patch 5983622) is the version number for Ideally you should be using

    As for Microsoft IE certification, is certified for use only with IE6, while is certified for use with both IE6 and IE7. is the recommended version that you should be on with the most recent cumulative patch applied. As of this posting the most recent cumulative patch was CP8 (patch number 9694503) which was released during October 2010. The last cumulative patch for was CP8 (patch number 7111816 for Windows and Sun Solaris x86, path 7306816 for all other platforms). For more information regarding patch levels for 10.1.2 please click here.

    Note 1 Oracle have no plans to certify 10.1.2 with IE8. The first version of Discoverer that will be certified with IE8 is the 1st patch set for Discoverer 11g which you should expect to see during 2010. For more information regarding IE8 certification please refer to My Oracle Support (formerly MetaLink) note 843865.1

    Note 2: Discoverer is covered by Oracle's Lifetime support policy and is included as part of what is now known as Oracle Fusion Middleware. Premier Support for Discoverer 10.1.2.x is scheduled to end in December 2010, with extended support available until December 2011 followed by indefinite sustaning support. Click here for more details
  • Discoverer 10g ( - The terminal release is You can upgrade to by applying the patchset which will bring you to the code level. No ECS or ES dates have been announced for Please so not use this release as it is very buggy. You need to upgrade to with the latest cumulative patch.
  • Discoverer 10g (9.0.4) - premier support ended as on December 31, 2006, with sustaining support being available only until December 31, 2009. The recommended release is and you will need to be on this release before you can migrate to 10.1.2.

    Note 1: The upgrade from 9.0.4 to 10.1.2 was a destructive upgrade. This is because, while 9.0.4 and 10.1.2 share a common EUL prefixing system, namely EUL5x, the End User Layers are different. Therefore, if you upgrade from 9.0.4 to 10.1.2 using the same schema be warned that you will not be able to use your 9.0.4 installation after the upgrade. You therefore may want to consider installing 10.1.2 into a separate schema, using Discoverer's export import mechanism to effect the EUL upgrade.
  • Discoverer 9i (9.0.2) - Error Correction Support (ECS) ended on July 1, 2005 with Extended Assistance Support (EAS) being available until July 1, 2008. When installed from CD, the release was The terminal release was Patch 3079459, for Administrator and Desktop, which upgraded the software to, was released on August 1, 2003. Various one-off patches to support Administrator and Desktop bug fixes have been released since, with the last being on December 16, 2004.

    Patch 3079487 is the one which upgrades Plus and Viewer to It was released on August 5, 2003. Oracle continued to release one-off Plus and Viewer patches until desupport with the last one, 4104258, being released on February 18, 2005.

    You are urged to upgrade to as soon as you can.

    Note 1: The upgrade from any version of 9i to 10.1.2 is a destructive upgrade. This is because, while 9i and 10.1.2 share a common EUL prefixing system, namely EUL5x, the End User Layers are different. Therefore, if you upgrade from 9i to 10.1.2 using the same schema be warned that you will not be able to use your 9i installation after the upgrade. You therefore may want to consider installing 10.1.2 into a separate schema, using Discoverer's export import mechanism to effect the EUL upgrade.

    Note 2: So long as you are running at least, the upgrade from 9i to 9.0.4 is a non-destructive upgrade. This is because the two systems share a common EUL. Therefore, if you upgrade from 9i to 9.0.4 using the same schema you will still be able to use your 9i installation after the upgrade.

    Note 3: Discoverer 9i was never certified for use against E-Business Suite.

    Note 4: Discoverer 9.0.2 is not covered by Oracle's Lifetime Support policy.
  • Discoverer 4.x (with E-Business Suite 11i) - Error Correction Support for Discoverer 4i with the E-Business Suite 11i applications stack ended on October 31, 2006. According to Oracle "since Discoverer 10g ( is fully certified with E-Business Suite 11i, we HIGHLY recommend implementing or migrating to this release". Extended Support (ES) will continue only until October 31, 2009.

    The terminal release for use with E-Business Suite was When installed from CD, the release was 4.1.37. It is interesting to note that was issued only as a one-off patch for Administrator and Desktop as 3451630 on February 18, 2004.

    This release can be applied on top of any 4.1 release from 4.1.37. However, if applied to any release prior to 4.1.46 it will upgrade the EUL. The patch for Administration and Desktop, 3201601, was released on November 25, 2003 and did an EUL upgrade. Since these major releases, Oracle has continued releasing additional one-off patches, mainly for bug fixes, to support E-Business Suite, with the most recent being 5231872 on June 8, 2006.

    Patch 3201610, for 4i Plus and Viewer, was released on November 25, 2003 and upgraded the system to The required E-Business Suite release is which was released on February 18, 2004 and is patch number 3451636. Since then, Oracle has continued to release various one-off patches, with the last one being 3759425 which was released on February 15, 2006.

    Note: Discoverer 4.x with E-Business Suite 11i is not covered by Oracle's Lifetime Support policy. See My Oracle Support note 337576.1 for obsolescence details.
  • Discoverer 4.x (stand-alone, not as part of E-Business Suite) - desupported from June 30, 2004 with Extended Support (ES) available until June 30, 2007. You should migrate to as soon as you can. The final release for 4.x not running against E-Business Suite was See above for patch numbers.

    Note 1: The upgrade from 4i to 10g is a non-destructive upgrade. This is because the two systems do not share a common EUL prefixing system. Discoverer 4i uses EUL4x while Discoverer 10g uses EUL5x. Therefore, if you upgrade from 4i to 10g using the same schema you will still be able to use your 4i installation after the upgrade. You may want to consider installing 10g into a separate schema, using Discoverer's export import mechanism to effect the EUL upgrade.

    Note 2: Discoverer 4.x (without E-Business Suite) is not covered by Oracle's Lifetime Support policy. See My Oracle Support 231072.1 for obsolescence details.
  • Discoverer 3.x - completely desupported. The terminal release was 3.1.46 for Administrator and Desktop, and 3.3.62 for Plus and Viewer. When installed from CD, the release was 3.1.36. Patch 2229365, for Administrator and Desktop was released on January 15, 2002 and upgraded 3.1.36 to 3.1.46. Patch 2240408, for Plus and Viewer, upgraded Discoverer 3i to 3.3.62 and was released on February 25, 2002. A further patch, 2675005, released on 19th November, 2003, upgraded this to the final release of

    You should migrate to as soon as you can.

    Note 1: There is no direct migration path from 3.1 to 10.1.2. This migration must be done via either or However, because 4.1 has been long desupported, from October 31, 2006, you need to do this as soon as you can.

    Note 2: Discoverer 3.x is not covered by Oracle's Lifetime Support policy. See MetaLink note 162395.1 for obsolescence details regarding 3.1 Administrator and Desktop, or note 162402.1 for obsolescence details regarding the 3.1.x and 3.3.x Plus versions., note 162405.1 for Viewer.
  • Older Discoverer Products such as Discoverer 3.0.8 or Discoverer 2000 - these products are long desupported with EAS for Discoverer 2000 ending on 30th December 2002 (see My Oracle Support note 74821.1 for more details) and EAS for Discoverer 3.0.8 ending on 30th September 2003 (see My Oracle Support note 74129.1 for more details).

    You can find a lot of information relating to their desupport notices in MetaLink by clicking on the Certify tab at the top left, followed by clicking on the Desupport Notices link at the far right and then selecting BIT Desupport Notices from the drop-down list.
Footnote 1: Click here for the definitions of Premier Support, Extended Support and Sustaining Support. For products that were deupported before September 2005 you can find more information pertaining to their on My Oracle Support in document number 187553.1

Footnote 2: According to Oracle: A Terminal Release is the latest patch level for a release once Premier Support ends. This release contains all the latest bug fixes produced before error correction support ended. If Extended Support is available, then it is important to be on the Terminal Release version. If a new bug is encountered, one-off patches are created over the latest code-line and are not feasible to backport below the terminal release. To emphasize again, no new patches or backports are accepted by Development once a product is in the Sustaining Support phase of Lifetime Support.

Have you applied any patches to Discoverer that are different to those listed above or have you applied any of the patches listed? Did they fix the problem or not? If you have any additional information, let me know and I will gladly post it here for free to help the community.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vista installer available for Discoverer 10g Administrator and Desktop

As many of you have already found out, if you attempt to install the base software for Discoverer Administrator or Desktop onto Vista the install will fail. I am pleased to let you know that there is now a patch available on Oracle Support (formerly MetaLink) that will allow the install to go ahead on Vista.

The patch number is 6153263 and obviously it is only available for the Microsoft Windows 32-bit platform.

After you have downloaded the patch make sure you unzip it into a folder where there are no spaces in the path. A folder like this will work fine: c:\downloads\oracle\vista

After you have unzipped the patch you should notice a new folder called Disk1 containing a setup.exe file.

With the new setup you can install onto Vista in one of the two following ways:

Install Method 1:
In command line mode (aka DOS) go into the folder containing the new setup.exe and launch it pointing to the products.xml file of the original install, like this:

setup.exe FROM_LOCATION=c:\downloads\oracle\10gTools\stage\products.xml

Note: if your path contains a space you must enclose the whole file location in double quotes, like this:

setup.exe FROM_LOCATION="c:\downloads\oracle\10g Tools\stage\products.xml"

Install Method 2:
  1. Within the Vista UI, use Explorer and navigate into the folder containing the new setup.exe
  2. Double-click setup.exe
  3. On the Specify File Locations screen, navigate to the products.xml file in the location where you unzipped the original Tools software

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Become a follower of my blog

If you would like to receive automatic notification of new postings in my blog why not become a follower?

All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of this page where you will see the Followers section. In there you can click the Follow button to become a follower. The system will take care of the rest.

Adjusting the Plus Font Size

There is a known Java bug that causes a worksheet's results to display in a different font in Plus and Viewer. This posting will explain how, for most instances anyway, to rectify this situation.

If you create a workbook in Plus and then open the same workbook in Viewer you may have noticed that the font size in Viewer is bigger than the one in Plus. This can be very annoying and what I have seen happening with many report writers reduce the font size in Plus to something which is very hard to read like size 9. However, when the same workbook is opened in Viewer this same workbook displays in what looks like size 12.

As I say, this is a known bug and there is a fix. Let me show you with example screenshots from my own system. First of all, here is the output from Plus without the fix:

And here is the same report in Viewer. Notice how the font in Plus is smaller?

Ok, now let's equalize the fonts so that Plus displays in the same size as Viewer. You need to edit the pref.txt in the Oracle home for your middle tier. You will find it at this location:

$ORACLE_HOME\Discoverer\util, which in my case was here: c:\oracle\bihome1\discoverer\util

With me so far? I will continue.

You edit this file and look for the entry called AdjustPlusFontSize (with the first letter of each word capitalized and no spaces between the wrods). The entry in most systems will look like this: AdjustPlusFontSize = "false" with the following additional instructions:

# false - Do not adjust the font size to workaround the java bug, 1 Adjust the font size

The instructions are wrong.

The setting you need to apply to fix this is "true" not 1. By the way, if you have my Oracle Discoverer 10g Handbook, take a look at page 791. It gives the correct entries of false (to not adjust the size) and true (to adjust the size). The entry needs to be in double quotes as shown above.

After you save the pref.txt you will need to apply your preferences by executing applyprefences.sh (if running on Linux or Unix) or running applyprefences.bat (if running on Windows). The applyprefences file can be found in the same folder where pref.txt resides. A sort of one stop shopping.

Having changed and applied your preferences you need to stop and restart the Discoverer middle tier. On my system, after I did this I reran the report and got the following output:

Take a close look at where the report ends when compared to the menu bar above and now go and compare this with the compare the output that I gave earlier in the posting. As you can see, the Plus font has indeed got bigger. In actual fact, it is now displaying the same as it does in Viewer. With this fix done, your report writers can now focus on Plus when creating reports rather than having to reduce the Plus font manually to accommodate Viewer.

Bottom line: the fault is not with Viewer but with Plus not displaying fonts correctly. Oracle have stated that this is due to a Java bug. By the way, the bug, if it actually is a bug and not just an unwanted feature, still resides in the latest Sun Java 1.6 so I advise you to make this change no matter what version of Java you are running.

By the way, unlike some preferences when this one is changed it affects all workbooks not just new ones. What it does is make them display in the correct font in Plus, the same as the way it displays in Viewer. You may have noticed that in Viewer the same workbook seems to take up more space. The reality is that in Viewer the fonts display in the right size whereas in Plus they appear smaller than in other Windows applications such as Word, Excel and so on. This fix makes Discoverer Plus right in tune with other applications.