Using PowerPlay Web for Reporting and
PowerPlay Web ("PPWEB"), like PPWIN,
has two presentation modes. The purposes of PPWEB's two modes do not
directly parallel those of the PPWIN's Explorer and Reporter
components. In the case of PPWEB, the mode choices are called PowerPlay
Web Explorer and PowerPlay Web Viewer. The Explorer option
again provides a direct browse of the cube data. PowerPlay Web Viewer,
however, is different from PowerPlay for Windows Reporter, in that the Viewer
acts essentially as a simple viewer for PowerPlay .pdf reports. This
option is often adequate in cases where static reports meet the business
requirements of the organization's information consumers, and it allows for
easy deployment of the reports using a minimal overhead browser - all the real
processing occurs on the server. Access to non-local cubes (be they native
PowerCubes or non-Cognos cubes), as well as reports that do not reside on the
PC from which we are running them, is provided through PPES, as we
Let's look at using PowerPlay to
report from our Analysis Services cube. We'll examine a few of the
capabilities within PowerPlay for viewing cube data, and get a feel for the
functionality PowerPlay can provide us in reporting for Analysis Services data
sources. We have established connectivity to the Warehouse cube via Cognos
Connect in the steps above. After a brief introduction to the application,
we will initialize PowerPlay Web and begin exploring our cube.
The platform for deploying our MS
Analysis Services cube to the web is essentially the same as that which we
would use to deploy a proprietary PowerCube generated within the PowerPlay
Transformer application. PowerPlay Enterprise Server acts as the
publication / server mechanism in either case, with little difference between
the two cube types, once the Pointer cube is created.
There are two general ways of accessing
the cube from the PPES platform. One is often referred to in the
documentation, the literature on the Cognos site, and other references, as "thin
client." In the "thin-client" environment, information
consumers use PowerPlay for Windows on their PCs to access the Pointer
file, which, even in this option, is deployed via PPES. "Thin
client" operation very closely resembles standard PPWIN client operation,
only connected to a remote cube, so we won't repeat what we have already
The other option for accessing cubes
(be they native cubes or MS Analysis Services Cubes) using the PPES
platform is via Web access, wherein authorized information consumers
access the cube using a web browser ("zero-footprint" because no part
of the PowerPlay application need be installed on the client PC).
In both of the presentation options
above, the Pointer file for the Analysis Services cube must have been
inserted into PPES. We will focus on the Web option for the remainder
of the lesson Web solutions.
PowerPlay Enterprise Server for PowerPlay Reporting
Before briefly examining the reporting
functionality of PPWEB for an MS Analysis Services cube, let's take a
look at the PPES preparation process.
1. Select Start -> Programs.
2. Select Cognos EP
Series 7 -> Cognos Server Administration.
The Cognos EP Series 7 -> Cognos Server
Administration selection screen appears.
3. Select the OLAP
Cubes and Reports button to initialize PowerPlay Enterprise Server -
PowerPlay Enterprise Server - Administration initializes, with the
appearance of the Connect to Server dialog shown in Illustration 39.
Illustration 39: The
Connect to Server Dialog.
4. Type in the name of
your Server (or localhost) as appropriate. (Mine is defaulted to
my server, MOTHER.)
NOTE: If prompted here, or at any step going
forward, supply a user name and password that is valid for your
5. Click OK.
The PowerPlay Enterprise - Server Administration window
appears. Now we will insert the MS Analysis Services cube for "publication"
Select Insert -> Cube from the top menu, PPES Administration
window, as depicted in Illustration 40.
Illustration 40: The PowerPlay
Enterprise - Server Administration Window
Immediately after we click Insert -> Cube, we see the Cube
Properties dialog appear.
6. Type Warehouse
Analysis Services Cube into the Name box of the dialog.
Note that the name typed here can be essentially anything unique
that makes sense to the Administrator, and not necessarily the file name of the
cube, or any names previously associated with the cube elsewhere.
7. Type useful text into
the Description box of the dialog (I typed Sample Warehouse MS
Analysis Services Cube).
8. Click the ellipses
button (...) to the right of the Cube Source box.
The Select Source dialog appears.
9. Navigate to the
location of the Pointer file MSSQL_Warehouse.mdc, which we
created earlier in the article (mine was saved in the default location, the
Bin folder in the Cognos/cer2 directory, as depicted in Illustration
Illustration 41: The
Select Source Dialog
10. Select the MSSQL_Warehouse.mdc
11. Click OK to
apply the file selection and to close the Select Source dialog.