A Very Useful Tool for Cognos Admins

MotioPI is a great (free) tool for Cognos Administrators.   If you are responsible for one or more Cognos environments, I highly recommend it.     In short, its designed to provide Cognos administrators an easy way to gain insight into the content and configuration in their content store.   

For example – you can quickly Find all Schedules associated with a given area of your content store,  Batch Validate a series of Cognos Reports, or quickly snapshot your various Cognos administrative settings (dispatchers, report services, etc.).

Note – by and large, the free version of MotioPI is read-only, the one exception being the Orphaned Objects panel – which lets you re-assign Cognos  content (e.g. My Folders data) to another user.   

Motio also has a professional version which lets you do mass updates to Cognos content / configuration (e.g. search and replace across many reports, bulk management of user preferences / group memberships, replicate properties across many Cognos objects, etc.).


Confused by Cognos 8.4.1 Install Files…? This page can help.

It seems like in the last 9 months, the IBM acquisition of Cognos has really changed a lot of the way things are done for partners and customers. For example, the manner in which you get support and downloads has changed dramatically.

Maybe its just me, but finding the downloads for the Cognos product you want from the IBM support site seems much harder than it used to be, and when you do finally locate it, you now use “download director” to pull down all of the associated “assemblies”.

With Cognos 8.4.1, it seems like the actual installables have also changed quite a bit. Yesterday I pulled down 8.4.1 from the IBM support site, and once download director was done doing its thing, I was a bit taken aback by the number and names of files it pulled down (screenshot below).

At first glance, I’m guessing most will have no idea which of these files corresponds to the component, platform and version of the Cognos product they’re after. For example – its not immediately apparent that “CZA86ML.tar.gz” actually contains the install for “IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Server 32-bit 8.4.1 Windows Multilingual”.

Eventually I found this page on IBM’s site which helped clear up the confusion (partial screenshot below).

Nice Consolidated HTML Version of All Cognos 8.4 Docs…

Here’s a nice, consolidated HTML version of all of the Cognos 8.4 docs. It seems to span all of the PDFs (Installation, Administration, Authoring, Modeling, etc), has a great, navigable table of contents on the left, and is searchable :


I like this far better than hopping between 15 PDF’s.

All Cognos Docs via HTML

Launching Previously Run Webstart Apps Via The Java Control Panel

I’m a huge fan of Java WebStart.

Most people generally launch WebStart based apps by simply hitting a URL which pulls down a JNLP file. A JNLP file is simply an XML descriptor which describes the jars that make up the application, the main class, etc. Once the JNLP file is pulled in, Java takes over and will retrieve the specified jars and then launch the Java application.

To re-launch the app in the future, you can simply bookmark the original JNLP URL in your browser (note to MotioPI users – you can simply bookmark the original URL sent via email and do this with MotioPI).

But suppose you’re in disconnected mode (perhaps waiting in the airport, or on a plane). You can still launch previously executed WebStart based applications by using the Java Control Panel.

If you’re using Windows XP, you can get to this via Start | Control Panel, then double click on the “Java” icon.

Step 1 - Launch Java Control Panel

This will launch the Java Control Panel. From there, select the “View” button (bottom right).

Step 2 - Select the View Button

This will open the Java Cache Viewer. You should have an entry for each WebStart app that you’ve previously run (screenshot below):

Step 3 - Java Cache Viewer

From here, you can right click on any of the cached WebStart apps and do things such as :

  • Run the application
  • Create a shortcut on your desktop to launch the app (so it behaves like a typical client side app)
  • Show the JNLP File
  • Delete the App