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Open Office Database Tutorials

Installing the Report Builder

You may find that the database being shipped with OpenOffice (ver.2 and higher) delights you as much as it has me. This page tries to help you use it.

Forget anything you may have heard about Adabas, which came with Star Office, the commercial version of Open Office 1. The current Open Office's database, "Base", aka "ooBase", is unrelated. And remember that Open Office, including ooBase, is free! But don't let that fool you. And it's not new. Big organizations, government and civilian, are adopting it as their standard office suite... and saving million$, but still Getting The Job Done.

There's more about ooBase in the main index to this material.

This page is "browser friendly". Make your browser window as wide as you want it. The text will flow nicely for you. It is easier to read in a narrow window. With most browsers, pressing plus, minus or zero while the control key (ctrl) is held down will change the texts size. (Enlarge, reduce, restore to default, respectively.) (This is more fully explained, and there's another tip, at my Power Browsing page.)

Page contents © TK Boyd, Sheepdog Software, 2/06-10/17.

Getting ready to create reports with Open Office's database, ooBase _______________

Once known as the Sun Report Builder

Update for this page, 7/15....

Ah, "When I was a boy...."

This page dates back to 2008. Open Office was a different creature back then! We've come a long way, baby!

I think that what was once the "Sun Report Builder", and was an add-on, and then became known as the Oracle Report Builder is now the "standard", "built in", "comes with" report gernerator. Hurrah! It is good, and what we had before was... umm... "a start".

So! I don't think you'll need the "install" instructions here. But, PLEASE??: Get in touch, if you find that is wrong, and you are working with a "mainstream" version (post Version 3) of Open Office or Libre Office?

(End of prefatory notes added 7/15)

I don't, in general, like extensions, add-ons, plug-ins, etc.

The Report Builder, from Oracle, previously from Sun Microsystems, for ooBase is absolutely a worthy exception to that perhaps conservative attitude.

Confession: For several years now, I have been promoting ooBase even though in some respects I have been operating on faith.

I know ooBase is a good database package... but sometimes I feel frustrated by things I can't find a way to do.

Well, in April 2008, thanks to hours of reading the oooForum posts, I knew that someday I needed to look at the Report Builder extension. Oh no, I said. One more thing to go wrong. One more layer to integrate. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Thankfully, "SlideRule" pestered me, and finally I tried the Report Builder.

Details of how to install Report Builder are provided further down this page. In between, sorry... scraps of some pages re-worked several times, and I think this page obsolete, so I hope you can forgive me not "tidying"....

As I was saying... "in between" are some notes about how I updated VERY old installations of my Open Office, and of a report builder installed back with them. Probably best if you use the link I gave you a moment ago!

Report Builder from scratch_________

I re-wrote this in November 2008 when I installed Report Builder into ooBase version 3.0.0 running on a Windows XP (SP3) machine. An earlier version of the "how to install" information is available, but it may be out of date... or just wrong! Try what follows first, but there's the other "answer" if you don't like what follows.

While what you get in different environments should be similar, what follows has been re-written again in June 09 when I updated an OO ver 2.2 installation on a Windows XP (SP3) machine, and installed the then-current Report Builder version 1.1.0 into the resulting ooBase version 3.1.0.

I took a chance, and trusted the Open Office update process.... and had no regrets. All I did was download the recommended "Install OO on your machine, with Java RTE included" file, ran that from my downloads folder.... and Open Office behaved! Cleared away the old installation just fine. (I had to remove a few shortcuts I'd set up by hand, in eccentric places.) Obviously, I hope, I had closed everything I could before starting the above. I didn't turn off my internet security package during the install, though... but all went well anyway. The system didn't even need a re-boot.

I installed the optional Windows Explorer extension, and now thumbnails give previews... not only of the obvious files (OO files), but also of JPEGs, etc. And folders have thumbnails of four of their contents on them.

The other big reason for upgrading was to be able to have graphic images from my ooBase database in Sun Report Builder reports.

Despite being listed on the Open Office website as the "US English" version, the upgrade, as with previous upgrades, also includes the ENGLISH English dictionary. You merely have to tell Open Office to use it, if that is the colour of your needs.

Installing Report Builder... the details________________

1) If they aren't already, get your basic ooOffice applications set up and running nicely. Once they are installed and stable, you can add the Report Builder extension. If you want to be extra cautious, if you at least shut down everything, or maybe even do a fresh restart before continuing through these instructions, you may save yourself grief which "shouldn't" (and might not!) arise. You need your computer connected to the internet, via broadband. You can remove the "OpenOfffice... Installation Files" folder which will probably be on your desktop.

2) Launch ooBase, or another Open Office application, if you'd rather, and click on Tools | Extension Manager. In the lower left, there's a link to "Get more extensions here". Click it. That will open the Open Office Extensions page in your internet browser. (I use Firefox.)

3) You need to drill down to the entry for Report Builder. Don't overlook the fact that there may be more than one page of applications, depending on how you call for the list. The following has been right for some time, up to 6/09.....

... yes... (strangely?) no ".htm" or similar is needed. If that page is no longer right, there are various ways to get to the Report Builder download page. One way is to use the page's search box to look for "Report Builder". It should offer you an extension titled "Sun Report Builder", but it will also offer links to discussions about Report Builder. Perhaps a more "sure fire" way to get to where you want to be is, on the main extension page, to click on "By Application", and select "Base Extensions" on the subsequent page, and then scan through what comes up. Again, you are looking for the "Sun Report Builder" extension, from Sun Microsystems.

Regardless of how you get to the reference to Report Builder, click on it, and you should arrive at a page with a "Get It" button.

4) Click on the "Get It". It consisted of about 3.2 meg when I downloaded it.

When installing software, I generally prefer to save the download to my hard drive, and then install it. However, in this instance, I felt more comfortable running the application directly from the download process, so I accepted the default "Open with...", which had "... with Open Office" pre-selected.

Somewhat annoyingly... 'though it is a small price to pay... launching either the "Open with.." or a "Save as..." once also opened a page from Sun on my machine. Happily, it was at least in a separate tab or window, and thus easily dismissed... but don't let its appearing confuse you. And on my install of 6/09, Firefox reported that it had blocked a pop-up. I didn't elect to allow it, and the install went okay anyway.

5) Between the extra window from Sun, and some other things I had been doing, my machine was, perhaps, a little confused. I hadn't followed my own advice about having nothing else running. In any case, a "You are about to install... OK?" dialog arose at this point, but was hidden under other windows. Happily, there was a button on taskbar, and when I clicked on that, it brought the dialog to the top of the mess on my desktop. And then I clicked the "OK". (And on the 6/09 install, that window wasn't even hiding.)

6) A fairly ordinary EULA (license agreement) appeared. You have to scroll down to the bottom of it before you can click on the "Accept" button. (Of course, you will read every clause, and have your lawyer check the terms, won't you?)

I then had some message about "installing", or somesuch, but it was gone by the time I looked up from typing some of the above, leaving the Extension Manager window happily showing a successful install of the Sun Report Builder.

7) At this stage, in a cautious world, I would close ooBase and reboot my Windows. In reality, I then went straight to opening a pre-existing database, and was able to start using Report Builder immediately. But I wouldn't recommend such recklessness. Close ooBase. Reboot. Have a simple life. (6-09 I actually followed my own advice.)

So! There you have it. When you next start ooBase, you should find Report Builder enabled. How you can tell was covered right at the start of this page, and up there were ways to test of your new tools. If for some reason you aren't happy with the above, you might be interested in an earlier attempt at the same material, using a different approach.

(Confession: At 6/09, the first time I tried to use my newly installed new version of Open Office and newly installed Report Builder, it didn't work perfectly on the first attempt. I tried to run a report on an unregistered database, which may have been part of the problem. And I hadn't done a reboot since the major changes to everything. Play safe... register your databases (it "costs" little... it certainly isn't "registering" your work with Big Brother, if that's what's worrying you.) And at this stage, restart your machine once, just to help it get everything "straight." Don't let that make you think Open Office is flakey. What comparable installation work would have eschewed a compulsory reboot?

Onward! USE the report builder!

Whew! After all that, you deserve some help in getting started with USING the report builder, don't you!

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