Fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC

Running 32-bit SAP BusinessObjects on 64-bit Windows OS

My current client is running Business Objects Enterprise XI 3.0 on Microsoft Windows 2003 R2 Standard 64-bit edition. This project is my first experience with a 64-bit Windows product.

Part of the project involves migrating Crystal Reports from Crystal Enterprise 10 to Business Objects Enterprise XI 3.0. Many of these reports use DataDirect ODBC drivers to the client’s Baan system. Business Objects provides free but limited versions of the DataDirect 5.3 drivers for Crystal Reports 2008, which we have installed on the Business Objects Enterprise server.

Windows 2003 Server 64-bit edition has two different ODBC data source administrators. The standard administrator via the Windows control panel only displays 64-bit system DSNs. This is not immediately obvious. Thankfully, somebody smarter than me pointed out that 32-bit system DSNs are accessed via a different version of the ODBC data source administrator.

The 32-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%WindowsSysWoW64 folder.
The 64-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%WindowsSystem32 folder.

I’m not aware of a standard shortcut to the 32-bit panel from the Windows Start menu, but of course you can easily create your own. For more information about this topic, read the Microsoft support knowledge base, article 942976.

Dallas Goes to Dallas

I’m presenting at the 2008 BusinessObjects User Conference.

I received the following e-mail today. It began,

Dear Dallas:
 
Congratulations! We are delighted to invite you to present at the 2008 Business Objects Users Conference. Having received more than 275 submissions of quality content, our selection committee feels confident that sessions such as yours will make this our strongest conference program to date.

 

This year’s conference, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, will be my fourth in attendance and the third in a row for presenting. My topic this year will focus on the Central Management Console and security.

At my very first Business Objects conference (Insight 2005 at the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando, Florida), I noticed all of the presentations from Integra Solutions. I said to myself, “that’s what I want to be when I grow up” and worked toward becoming a breakout speaker. It is going to be an awesome, yet humbling, experience to present this year wearing an Integra Solutions shirt.

This year’s conference will be the first conference without Business Objects steering the helm. But regardless of the changes, I know there are many volunteers working passionately to make the 2008 Business Objects User Conference a success.

I hope to see you there!

Customizing SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1

Learn how to customize the InfoView login screen, replace the default logo, and adjust the default paper size.

I’ve had the privilege of working with a client that is currently using Crystal Reports and Crystal Enterprise 10 but wants executive dashboards. Because of the desired feature set, the client has adopted SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.0, Xcelsius 2008, and Query as a Web Service (QaaWS). This will also be my first experience with Business Objects on 64-bit Windows (see related article on 64-bit Windows and ODBC), so I’m excited.

IMPORTANT: This article covers customizations for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 and SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1.  If you’re working with later releases, please read Customizing SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 or Customizing SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. Be aware that not every customization you can dream of is supported (see SAP KB 1218598 – Support policy on customizing SAP BusinessObjects InfoView, BI Launch Pad, and other applications).

I’m doing a bit of minor customization. I’m pleased to report that although the file locations have changed, many of the tricks used with BusinessObjects Enterprise XI Release 2 still apply.

I prefer to make a backup copy of all affected files prior to making modifications. I also encourage you to copy the modified files to a safe location unaffected by patching, as service packs and fix packs will redeploy WAR files and wipe out your customizations. If SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is part of your deployment, make sure it is installed and patched before making modifications, since the Explorer installer will also redeploy WAR files and wipe out your changes.

Changing the Default Logo
I discovered the secret location by clearing the “Display Business Objects logo” box in the CMC’s InfoView Properties, then checking the radio button for “Display custom logo”. By leaving the default value of logo.jpg, I was able to log into InfoView and display the properties of the broken image link. The default image still goes in the schema.blue folder like XI R2, but the path is now C:\Program Files\Business Objects\Tomcat55\webapps\InfoViewAppres\schema.blue.

Customizing the InfoView Login Page
The procedure for customizing the InfoView Login page is also very similar to XI Release 2, other than the web.xml file now lives at C:Program FilesBusiness ObjectsTomcat55webappsInfoViewAppWEB-INFweb.xml. As before, you’ll want to restart Apache Tomcat to see your changes in effect. Curiously, Business Objects XI 3.0 hides the CMS/cluster name and authentication type out-of-the box (frequent customization requests).

For XI Release 2, the app.name parameter controls some text on the login screen as well as the HTML <TITLE> tag throughout the user’s session. The <TITLE> tag trick is pretty cool, as the text that you choose will always be what users see when their browser window is minimized. So you may want to change the value from InfoView to CompanyName BI Portal. And the app.name.greeting, which by default is BusinessObjects, can be modified so users are greeted by Welcome to Our BI Portal instead of Welcome to BusinessObjects.

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 handles InfoView Login page customization in a slightly different way.  The app.name.short attribute is used for the “greeting” and the <TITLE> tag of the InfoView home page while app.name is used for the <TITLE> tag of all other InfoView pages.  The app.name.greeting does not appear to be used.

Changing the Default Web Intelligence Paper Size
Although the rest of the world has standardized on A4 paper, the United States uses a slightly different Letter size. When Business Objects Enterprise is initially installed, the default page size is A4. In XI R2, this situation is easily corrected by modifying the defaultconfig.xml file. The Java and .NET versions of Web Intelligence each have their own defaultconfig.xml file.

NOTE: Existing Web Intelligence documents will still have the page size set when the document was saved; however, this modification will change the default setting for all new documents.

If you are using the included Tomcat web application server, the defaultconfig.xml file for XI R2 is located at C:Program FilesBusiness ObjectsTomcatwebappsbusinessobjectsenterprise115desktoplaunchwebiAppletAppletConfig. The defaultconfig.xml file for SAP Business Objects Enterprise XI 3.0/XI 3.1 is located in a slightly different location at C:Program FilesBusiness ObjectsTomcat55webappsAnalyticalReportingwebiAppletAppletConfig.

Changing the InfoView and CMC Favicons

The InfoView favicon, InfoView.ico, is located in the Tomcat55\webapps\InfoViewApp\res\general folder and the CMC favicon, CMC.ico, is located in the Tomcat55\webapps\CmcApp\images folder.  Make backup copies of the originals, just in case, then replace with your organization’s favicon.ico.  Explorer uses the default Tomcat favicon, located in the Tomcat55\webapps\ROOT folder, so you’ll want to replace it as well. You’ll need to restart Tomcat and possibly even delete your browser’s cache before you’ll notice the new icons in your browser.

Conclusion
That’s all I have for now. There’s no customer requirement to customize the style sheet, and the client hasn’t used their new environment long enough to want any features disabled (discussions, information on demand) by tweaking additional XML files. But stay tuned…

It’s nice to know that it’s still possible to tailor the InfoView user experience. However, the drawback to the current approach is that you’re always in danger of a service pack or fix pack overwriting these files. Perhaps a future release will add common customizations as parameters that can be controlled via the application configuration in the CMC.

UPDATE (03/15/2013): Minor updates based on an experience applying SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP6 (Service Pack 6).

UPDATE (08/23/2012): I renamed this article as “Customizing SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1” instead of “XI 3.0” and added details for changing favicons.

Do you have a favorite customization for XI 3.1? Please share with the world as a comment to this post.

Queries to identify universes and their universe connections

Query Builder connections for troubleshooting universe connections.

The Query Builder can be used to analyze universe connections. I recently used the Query Builder to assist in how many universes (and which ones) were using a specific connection. Using the information, I was able to update and republish universes to use the “preferred” universe connection. Once all universes were updated, the Query Builder clearly showed that the “non preferred” universe connections were no longer in use and could be safely deleted using the Central Management Console (CMC).

First, determine the SI_ID of the connection.

SELECT SI_NAME, SI_ID, SI_DESCRIPTION, SI_CONNUNIVERSE
FROM CI_APPOBJECTS
WHERE SI_KIND=’MetaData.DataConnection’
— AND SI_NAME = ‘DW’

ORDER BY SI_NAME

Then, use the list of IDs in the SI_CONNUNIVERSE collection to build a second query to inquire about the universes that use that connection.

SELECT SI_NAME, SI_SHORTNAME, SI_DESCRIPTION, SI_ID, SI_PARENT_FOLDER, SI_OWNER, SI_CREATION_TIME
FROM CI_APPOBJECTS
WHERE SI_KIND=’Universe’
AND SI_ID IN (692,670,633,634,699)

The Query Builder can also identify unused universe connections. Using the first query above, look for connections where the SI_CONNUNIVERSE has a single attribute of SI_TOTAL with a value of 0. For example, no universes are using the test only connection.

SELECT SI_NAME, SI_ID, SI_DESCRIPTION, SI_CONNUNIVERSE
FROM CI_APPOBJECTS
WHERE SI_KIND=’MetaData.DataConnection’
AND SI_NAME = ‘test only’

ORDER BY SI_NAME

Accordingly, the test only connection can be safely deleted from the Central Management Console (CMC).

Resources

If you’ve found a useful resource regarding the Query Builder, feel free to post a comment to share with others.