xplore+ CoRePublisher Review: Introduction

CoRePublisher stands for Cognos Report Publisher and is a product from xplore+. CoRePublisher is a file ETL tool that uses published reports from an IBM Cognos 8 or 10 environment and re-publishes them on another content or file management system. This is our CoRePublisher review, this post is the introduction and here you can read our hands on experiences with the tool. Or just jump to the conclusions.

The software will pick up IBM Cognos reports and their metadata for processing. The report metadata can be used to add conditional logic and add metadata to the target system. When you e.g. publish to a SharePoint Directory, you can use the metadata to determine what reports you want to pick up, but you can also use the Cognos report metadata like report owner, report name, report run time, etc, to add to your SharePoint Directory structure or create the Directory Library structure with it. CoRePorter also allows for different user groups, like departments, to be configured for different levels of report and data access.

01 xplore+ CoRePublisher Review: Introduction Target Systems

Currently CoRePublisher supports the following target systems:

  • A folder or network file share
  • Microsoft SharePoint (2007, 2010 and 2013):
    • Publish to a SharePoint Document Library
    • Publish an XML list report to a SharePoint List
  • E-Mail
  • Liferay
  • Box.net
  • Dropbox
  • FTP, SFTP, FTPS
  • HTTP Put
  • Database BLOB
  • WebDAV

Each target comes with its own plugin connector. During this review we also talked to the guys from xplore+, they told us that they can add connectors for almost any system upon request, as long as the target CMS has an API that can be properly addressed.

Who is it for?

Wen playing around with it we were wondering in what situation we could make use of this tool or for what reason we might recommend it to customers. In our opinion this tool can have added value in the following situations:

  • Cognos is not you corporate portal, but you want to make Cognos output available organization wide via the corporate portal you already have, like SharePoint.
  • In the same sense, if you already have a CMS of some kind and you don’t want to train or give access to all your people to Cognos, this tool can be used to publish it to another system with less threshold.
  • When you want people to consult reports on the go from a mobile device, but you don’t want mobile devices accessing your internal Cognos infrastructure, then you can e.g. publish to Dropbox.
  • When you want Cognos to be the single version of the truth regarding your data, but you want to be able to use that data in other systems automatically without any manual copy and pasting or export/import operations.
  • When you want to make available reports to a larger audience like e.g. via a website, or to suppliers or clients who don’t have Cognos or shouldn’t be allowed to access Cognos.
  • When for (legal) compliancy reasons you need to archive your Cognos reports together with other documents in a central repository and you need to be able to show for an audit trail (all info is stored in open formats (text/xml) and can be used as source for reporting and auditing).
  • When you are planning a migration of some sort, this might be a nice way to archive your existing reports.

The guys from xplore+ told us that they were now consulting a client who is using CoRePublisher to inject CSV reports from his Cognos environment automatically into their geospatial software as a source for interactive maps, so we might be a bit short on imagination, but hey, this is our first experience with the tool.

How does it work?

CoRePublisher itself consists of two components, CoRePublisher Monitor and CoRePublisher Configurator. Configurator is a user interface that has two parts, a monitor part and a publish part. The monitor part is used to configure different Cognos output folders that contain the reports that you want to publish to another system. In the publish part you can configure your target systems and the rules upon which you want CoRePublisher to act.

The second component, CoRePublisher Monitor, acts as a Windows service that will monitor the Cognos report output directories and will act and publish any reports if one of the rules set in Configurator is met. As this is a Windows service, CoRePublisher can run automatically and autonomously without Configurator once you have set the rules and target systems.

02 xplore+ CoRePublisher Review: Introduction Components

CoRePublisher is rather lightweight in the sense that you don’t need to install it on your Cognos or target system (it is possible), neither does it require any configuration on those systems. The service uses the Cognos report output directories without accessing Cognos, the Cognos Content Store or any other Cognos component. On the target side only API’s are used to submit the content. This has the advantage that you needn’t worry too much about system resources impact or any additional changes or configuration on source and target systems. It just needs access to the report output locations and the target API. The tool also acts only as an ETL tool, so it does not store the reports, except when something went wrong during a publish run.

The tool is also relatively open compared to other tools. For instance an interface library DLL is available to write your own custom plugins and in several steps of the tool you can add custom VBScript functionality to add custom expressions, data and rules.

Licensing

The CoRePublisher license structure is rather straightforward:

  1. CoRePublisher Monitor License per service that you want to run, including a plugin connector for folders, network shares, FTP, SFTP and FTPS.
  2. Plugin Connector Licenses per additional plugin connector like for SharePoint and Dropbox.
  3. CoRePublisher Configurator License per Configurator user.

Optionally you can order:

  1. A Maintenance & Support plan that includes new patches, new versions and software incident support. 
  2. Services and consultancy for proof of concepts, custom feature implementation, custom change requests, installation, corporate branding, end-user training, etc.

Licenses do not limit the number of source and target systems or the amount of reports processed. E.g. when you acquire a Monitor, Configurator and SharePoint plugin license, you can use multiple Cognos source systems and SharePoint target systems and publish whatever amount of reports or data you want. When you want to run e.g. a Monitor service on acceptance and on production, then you require 2 Monitor licenses.

This is more or less the introduction to CoRePublisher. Here you can read our hands on experience with publishing Cognos reports and our conclusions regarding CoRePublisher.

Read: xplore+ CoRePublisher Review: Hands On, Folder, SharePoint Directory, SharePoint List, Conclusions.

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