How to conditionally set Interaction (Action Links) on a column in OBIEE 11g

This post shows an example of how to conditionally set Interaction (Action Links) on a column.

Most times, when you set “Interaction” on a column, you set it for the column under all conditions – this is the default.  However, it is possible to conditionally set “Interaction” on a column – so that the Interaction link is conditionally available.

Let’s look at an example …

You have a pivot table displaying Values by day range as shown below.  Interaction is set on the measure value, and therefore, a user can click on any of the measure values (in any column and any row) to drill/navigate to a more detailed report for example. 

(Note that all the measure values are “blue” indicating that they are hyperlinks allowing navigation to some other BI content).

Let’s now assume that you only want to make the Interaction available for the measure values associated with “Value A”.  Therefore, the row in your pivot table associated with “Value A” will have measure values that are clickable (hyperlinks), while the “Value B” row values will not.  In other words, you only want to allow drill down/navigation on “Value A” data.

To do this, from your analysis, edit the column properties, and go to the Interaction tab, and Edit the relevant Action Link.


Change the “Show Link” property from “Always” to “Conditionally”.


Then enter the condition(s) in the Conditions box. Such as in our example, we want to show/activate the action link only for “Value A” values.  So, choose the column, and then select “Value A” (and of course, do not select “Value B”).


Now when you go back to your report, action links will only be available on the measure values for “Value A” row.

(Note that only the measure values associated with “Value A” are “blue” indicating that they are hyperlinks allowing navigation to some other BI content; while “Value B” values are black indicating that they are not clickable.)

You can add more conditions and more complex conditions as necessary. One thought that came to mind … I could even see this being used to conditionally set Action Links based on users – allowing some users to be able to click the action links while others just see the data without being able to click and navigate to other detail.


Changing the maximum number of values in a drop down list in OBIEE 11g – MaxDropDownValues

When you create a prompt that uses a drop down list in OBIEE, the drop down list is limited to 256 values by default.  If your list contains more values and you would like to see more values without having to click the “More” button, or if you would like to show less values, there is a configuration parameter that you can change to increase the number of values shown up to 1000.  You can set it to any value up to 1000, including values less than the default of 256.

To do this, edit the instanceconfig.xml file.  This file is located at …

Add the MaxDropDownValues parameter to the file.  If you do not already have a Prompts section, add it, and then add MaxDropDownValues between the Prompts tags.  And make sure that all this is between the ServerInstance tags which will already be there in the file.

Your config file will look something like this …





After making these changes, you will need to restart BI Presentation Services for them to take effect. Then your drop down list will show up to 1000 (or less) values by default…


Note: The numbers shown in the screenshot have no meaning whatsoever; they are just randomly generated sample data for example purposes. So, any similarity that they may have to any other number is strictly coincidental.

OBIEE data source types and data retrieval methods

OBIEE is capable of connecting to and retrieving data from a variety of data sources.  The type of data sources that OBIEE can connect to are OLTP, OLAP, Data Warehouses (ROLAP), and Files.

  • OLTP databases – these include the normalized-design databases including ERP, CRM and other LOB systems.
    – The relational databases supported are: Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, and Teradata Warehouse.
    – And the ERP/CRM sources supported are: Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Peoplesoft, Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle JD Edwards, and SAP.  Note: any ERP/CRM system running on one the databases mentioned above can be supported, but those mentioned here are special ERP/CRM sources.
  • OLAP databases – these include dimensional-databases including applications based on dimensional databses.
    – The OLAP datases supported are: Oracle Essbase, Oracle OLAP, Microsoft Analysis Services, and SAP Netweaver BI.
    – And the OLAP applications sources supported are: Oracle Hyperion Planning and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management.
  • Dimensionally-modeled data warehouses – these are relational databases designed with a star-schema / dimensional model, on one of the 4 supported relational databases mentioned above.
  • Files – Microsoft Excel, XML files, Flat files.

The data retrieval methods used to connect to these sources are:

  • OLTP – SQL
  • OLAP – MDX
  • Data Warehouse – SQL
  • Files – ODBC

OBIEE has the ability to connect to multiple of these data sources at the same time, and the data sources can be of the same or different types.  So, for example, an OBIEE Server can source data from an Oracle 11g Data Warehouse, and from an Oracle Essbase 11g OLAP cube at the same time, and join the data together for user consumption.
Similarly, file datasources can also be added to provide additional information, for example from an external source, and joined to data from the other sources mentioned above.  This “joining” of data is handled by the OBIEE BI Repository and BI Server.

To the end user accessing the data from a front-end tool (Analysis Editor / Answers), it seems like a single data source. That is one of the features that makes OBIEE such a great tool particularly for heterogeneous database environments.