OBIEE – Column vs. Variable Prompts


When using dashboard prompts in OBIEE Analytics, you are given access to a few different types of prompts to choose from. Two of these variations will be the focus of this discussion, column and variable. If you have never used both types, it’s difficult to understand the key difference, and why one prompt type may be more useful than the other in certain situations.

Column Prompt

The column prompt is the more basic of the two being discussed today. This type of prompt holds a value of a chosen field from a specific view that will be passed to the filter inside of an analysis. If the user wished, they would be allowed to use presentation variables which will store the chosen value to be used throughout the analysis.

“Prompt for Column” specifies the view and column that is being called in this column prompt


Variable Prompt

Variable prompts are quite useful in a specific scenario. This prompt will store a value that the user has chosen or defined. That value can then be passed as a presentation variable which can be used for any analysis that is linked to the dashboard prompt. The stored value isn’t restricted to any view, it simply holds the value and compares it to the value within a field. When setting up a variable prompt, you can decide what the data-type will be.

Creation of a variable prompt that can be done in a dashboard prompt. Customization can be applied to what is actually prompted, the type of prompt for user input, and the data type of the stored variable.

Benefits of a Variable Prompt

This kind of prompt allows a user to use one dashboard prompt to control two analyses as long as they both have common filters. These filters can be created from the same column even when they are located in different views. This is possible since the variable prompt doesn’t check to see what field belongs in which view. In a column prompt, you will prompt a field and it will link to the view it belongs to.

Example of two similar columns from different views

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