IBM Cognos and Motio Best Practices Blog

Version Control in Cognos Report Studio

Posted by Dan Sellari on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

One of the central capabilities of MotioCI is automated version control for all Cognos objects. While many of MotioCI's version control capabilities are transparent to BI Developers, key workflows around version control for certain types of objects are surfaced into the Cognos authoring studios.

In today's example, we'll walk through a typical scenario for a report author and examine some of the version control capabilities which are surfaced within Cognos Report Studio. In this example, suppose Adam (a report author) has been tasked with fixing a defect on one of the Cognos Reports ("Actual sales against Target sales"). The defect is tracked in JIRA as ticket ID #5. 

Adam browses to the report in Cognos Connection, and opens the report in Report Studio. Once Report Studio fully opens, we'll start to see the first signs of MotioCI's studio integration.

We'll notice that there are a few changes to the Report Studio toolbar. First, the normal "save" button is gone. To the right of where the save button is normally shown, we see two new buttons: a checkout button (the lock icon), and a show revision history button.

Checkout & Revision History icons
Click to enlarge

Now Adam clicks on the "checkout" button to begin editing this report.

This action "locks" the report so that only Adam may edit it

After checking out the report, we'll notice that the Report Studio toolbar buttons change once again.
  • The "checkout" button disappears.
  • The default Cognos "save" button re-appears.
  • A new button which allows Adam to "save with comments" appears.
  • A button to "undo" the checkout appears.

Now that Adam has the report checked out, he begins working on fixing the defect identified by JIRA ticket #5 in this report. Its going to take Adam a few hours to complete his modifications to this report.

Save, checkin, & undo checkout icons
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Meanwhile, suppose Andrea (another Report Author) is assigned JIRA ticket #12, which also pertains to the Actual Sales against Target Sales report. She doesn't realize that Adam is in the middle of modifying this report, so she opens it in Report Studio, intent on making her changes.

Instead of allowing two authors to potentially step on one another, MotioCI will notify Andrea that the report is currently locked by Adam, as shown below.

Locked Cognos report message
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Now, back in Adam's point of view, after several hours of work (and several intermediate saves), Adam has completed work on the Actual Sales against Target Sales report, and is ready to check the report back in.

Adam simply clicks the "save with comments" icon (shown below).

Checkin Cognos report
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This action pops up a small dialog, which allows Adam to describe the changes he's about to commit and checkin the report.

Adam describes his changes in the comment, and includes the phrase: "Fixes #5." This phrase tells MotioCI that Adam is trying to associate this latest commit with JIRA ticket #5 (note - MotioCI supports integration with a wide variety of defect tracking systems, not just JIRA).

After describing his changes, Adam clicks the checkin button.

Write a revision comment
Click to enlarge

This releases Adam's lock on the report, and puts his instance of Report Studio back into its starting state (no save button, checkout button re-appears).

Behind the scenes, MotioCI captures Adam's latest save action, records this modification as the newest revision in version control (revision 7), complete with Adam's checkin comment. MotioCI's revision history screen for this report is shown below:   

Checkin captured in MotioCI Revision History
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MotioCI also recognizes the special ticket defect integration syntax in Adam's comment ("fixes #5"). Upon seeing this in a checkin comment, MotioCI will automatically close ticket #5 in the associated JIRA instance. MotioCI also turns the phrase in the comment into a hyperlink which points at the associated defect in JIRA.
 
Fix Link
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Clicking on this "#5" hyperlink takes you to the defect in JIRA
 
JIRA
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In summary, MotioCI surfaces key version control and defect tracking related workflows directly into Cognos Report Studio. It prevents Report Authors from accidentally stepping on one another's work, and allows authors to specify descriptive changes when checking in their changes. Behind the scenes, MotioCI versions all of this, making it easy for the BI team to see the entire revision history of each report.

Watch the Video

Tags: cognos change management, Cognos report studio, motioci, Cognos version control