Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days.
Printing a Web Intelligence document isn’t a necessary evil- it’s simply necessary. And SAP should graciously support users who work in industries where a printer is required equipment.
Back in 2011 when I wrote All the Desktop Intelligence That’s Fit to Print, I was working on what I hoped would be my last project migrating Desktop Intelligence documents to Web Intelligence. Fast forward six years to 2017 and I’m still helping several customers retire Desktop Intelligence. And in 2017, the Web Intelligence Job Server still doesn’t have the schedule-to-printer functionality that existed for Desktop Intelligence and is still available for Crystal Reports users.
This year, the SAP Idea Place moved to a new home- the SAP Customer Influence portal. The idea to Schedule Webi documents to a Printer– submitted by Brian Thomas on January 10, 2011- was reviewed by SAP and set to “not planned”, despite the idea currently having 64 votes- many more than the ten votes SAP required for consideration. The idea has comments from Web Intelligence users across multiple industries making their case for schedule-to-print.
Instead, Samuel Polichouk, an SAP product expert in Paris where Web Intelligence is developed, wrote:
In our world which become more and more “mobile”, printing is not something we would like to invest in scheduling webi documents. Therefore I prefer to set expectation saying that we will not include this in our backlog for coming releases.
Please continue to vote for this necessary idea and hope that SAP will review its position on the matter, bringing much-needed printing capabilities enjoyed by Desktop Intelligence and Crystal Reports users to the legions of Web Intelligence fans.
UPDATE: Voting is closed for this particular idea; however, I’d be grateful if you’d leave a comment on this article describing a use case for Webi printing or why you support adding this feature to the platform.
I know it was not webi but my problem is with the comment made by the person who says printing not required
Ahoy there, mates! It’s September 19, time to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day with the Web Intelligence iRate PieRates. This year you can celebrate by pre-ordering a copy of the fourth edition of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Resource. In addition to welcoming Christian Ah-Soon from SAP’s Web Intelligence product group to the authoring team, the book has been fully updated for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2, including features from the latest Support Pack 4. The book officially goes on sale October 25 in both hardback and electronic editions. The iRate PieRates hope you’ll pre-order a copy today.
Join me and my friends at SAP Insider’s Reporting & Analytics 2016 INTERACTIVE conference.
Join me at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida on November 2-4, 2016 at SAP Insider’s Reporting & Analytics 2016 INTERACTIVE conference. I’ll be there with my co-workers, Chris Bushmeyer and Eric Vallo (see the full EV Technologies speaking roster here). I’m giving two presentations about Web Intelligence and will be sharing the latest visualization enhancements included in the latest SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2 Support Pack 3 release.
Leverage the newest capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence to create powerful visualizations for your data
Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM, room TBD
There’s a story in your corporate data, but sometimes it needs an analytic storyteller to bring that story to life. SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.0 introduced a new charting engine, several new chart types, and a redesigned workflow for creating charts. In this session, we’ll look at the features in the latest 4.2 release. Learn not only how to use Web Intelligence charts but when to use them by applying best practices for the display of quantitative information on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
Discover Web Intelligence 4.2 charting capabilities, including new geolocation charts
Learn best practices for displaying quantitative information
Review special considerations for tablets and smartphones
Making mobile magic with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
Ready for mobile business intelligence? This comprehensive session teaches you how to create new SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports and tailor existing reports for tablet and smartphone devices. Learn how to configure the BI platform to be mobile-ready as you learn:
Techniques to master new mobile-exclusive capabilities, like graphs and scorecards
Important differences between card view and page view
Using publications to distribute personalized content to users via their mobile devices
SAP has put yet another nail in the coffin of Desktop Intelligence.
SAP has put yet another nail in the coffin of Desktop Intelligence with Free-Hand SQL in the recent release of Support Pack 6 for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1. Steve Yemm has put together an excellent tutorial on the SAP Community Network (see related SCN article, Web Intelligence Free Hand SQL (FHSQL)/Stored Procedures in BI4.1 SP06). I’d like to show just a couple of extra formatting nuances not in Steve’s article.
Free-Hand SQL isn’t a silver bullet (see related article, Free-Hand SQL Isn’t Free), but it is a bullet. It can help query data that no existing universe can access. Web Intelligence now uses a workflow that will seem very familiar to Desktop Intelligence users.
I’m going to use the Web Intelligence Java applet and choose the new Free-Hand SQL option for creating a new document.
Next, I’ll choose a universe connection.
For my query, I’ll paste SQL from an eFashion query for Year, State, and Sales Revenue into the Query Script editor, essentially a large text box.
The Query Script “editor” provides the same editing features as its Desktop Intelligence predecessor- none. However, it is possible to validate that the SQL you pasted from elsewhere is valid.
Notice that Web Intelligence inferred that the aggregate function SUM should be interpreted as a measure object. However, the object naming isn’t terribly creative.
That is why you’ll want to add aliases to your SQL statement.
You can manually rename objects, which is helpful for setting column headings. Here I changed Sales_Revenue into Sales Revenue.
And voila! The results are exactly what we expect. Except unlike data from the eFashion universe, measures aren’t well-formatted.
Simply right-click on any value in the Sales Revenue column and choose Format Number. It’s near the bottom of what seems to be the world’s longest right-click menu. Does anyone else hope that Web Intelligence 4.2 will have shorter right-click menus?
Choose the desired numeric format.
And there you have it, a Web Intelligence document that uses Free-Hand SQL.
Some additional observations. The new Free-Hand SQL is also available in the Web Intelligence Rich Client…
However, it is missing from the HTML panel.
UPDATE: The Free-hand SQL option now appears in the BI 4.2 SP4 HTML panel, where only the Analysis View query option is missing.
In addition to creating new Web Intelligence reports from Free-Hand SQL, this feature provides new capabilities to the Report Conversion Tool, which were actually introduced earlier in Support Pack 5. Prior to SP5, Desktop Intelligence documents with free-hand SQL were converted by placing the SQL into a derived table of a new universe (see related article, Retiring Desktop Intelligence Free-Hand SQL). This approach could become problematic when hundreds of Desktop Intelligence documents were spawning hundreds of new single-use universes. The Report Conversion Tool no longer needs to create a universe to successfully convert free-hand SQL documents.
In May 2015, I accompanied Eric Vallo to SAP’s offices in Paris.
In May 2015, I went to SAP’s office in Paris with Eric Vallo, EV Technologies’ Chief Architect. While our antics were pretty lame when compared to Harold and Kumar, Bill and Ted, or even Jamie and Clint, we had both a productive and poetic visit to one of the great European cities. SAP is a global software company, which I saw first hand. Paris is the original home of BusinessObjects prior to its acquisition by SAP in 2008. It’s presently the current home for the Web Intelligence and semantic layer teams but the BI platform, Crystal Reports, Design Studio, Lumira, and other BI tools are developed elsewhere.
EV Technologies’ core product, Sherlock for the BI platform, relies on many SDK’s including those for Web Intelligence and the semantic layer, so it’s great to have a face-to-face dialog about what is coming next. We learned about SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Support Pack 6, which was released on June 15, 2015. And (shhh!) we learned about SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 and its groundbreaking features like [censored] and [censored]. I’d like to share more about [censored] but most of the visit was covered by non-disclosure agreements.
Below is the view from the Tour SAP’s 19th floor. How can you not do your best work with a view like that?
Here’s the Tour Eiffel up close and personal, although not nearly as breathtaking as the photos Timo Elliott takes for his Instagram feed.
The highlight of the trip wasn’t Web Intelligence 4.2. Instead, it was getting to meet my Twitter mate Andrew Fox in person for the first time. In Paris. Below, you can see The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls along with the man himself, The Man Who Could Board a London Train for Paris.
We enjoyed some obligatory pâté and l’escargot before cutting into a fantastic Côte de Boeuf and pomme de terre Lyonnaise. And a nice bottle of Burgundy.
It was a great trip- my first to anywhere besides the United States or Canada. You can check out some of my other photos on Flickr.
The SAP team is excited about the new Web Intelligence and semantic layer features now available in BI 4.1 SP6 and coming soon in BI 4.2. And I am too.
SAP has really done mobile-curious customers a big favor with such a useful starting point.
Two years ago, I took a look at the Mobile BI samples in BI 4.0 (see related article, Sampling the Mobile BI Samples with BI 4.0). Those samples were focused on older mobile devices like the Blackberry and not newer devices like Apple iOS and Google Android phones and tablets. Today, SAP includes tablet-ready samples as part of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 (also in later support packs of BI 4.0), but you’ll need to complete a few simple tasks to see these reports on your mobile device.
Take a look in the Web Intelligence Samples folder and look in the Mobile Samples subfolder.
Inside are six reports: Chart Demo, Drill Demo, Geo Analysis Demo, Input Controls & Filter Demo, Mobile – Table Demo, and Sections Demo.
Many of these reports look pretty plain in the BI Launch Pad, but they come to life on a mobile device. Out of the box, the documents won’t show up on a mobile device because the categories required by the Mobile BI app do not exist. So take a couple of minutes to create the categories (see related article, Creating Categories for SAP Mobile BI Documents). Next, tag each of the six mobile samples with the Mobile category (at first glance, none of the samples fared better with MobileDesigned, but feel free to compare these two categories yourself).
With the category applied, you should now be able to see these Web Intelligence documents on your mobile device. I’m using my trusty Apple iPad 2 and SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI 6.1.9 (the most recent release) and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 SP5. Keep in mind that both the version of the mobile app and the version of the BI platform can affect how Web Intelligence documents are displayed.
The Chart Demo demonstrates how various charts using the new BI 4 visualization engine (aka CVOM) appear on a mobile device. There’s several reports within the Chart Demo document- I’ve chosen one of the more colorful ones here. Notice the bubble and waterfall charts, which we never had in XI 3.1 or earlier.
The drill demo demonstrates how to drill down with tables.
It also shows how to drill down with charts. Clicking on a column of the top chart…
…causes it and the pie chart beneath to drill to the next level of the hierarchy.
Geo Analysis Demo
The Geo Analysis Demo demonstrates how to visualize multiple metrics by latitude and longitude. Mapping is only available on a mobile device- this report looks like a bunch of boring tables in the BI Launch Pad.
Input Controls & Filter Demo
As the name suggests, the Input Controls & Filter Demo demonstrates how input controls and filtering are very nicely supported via the mobile interface.
Mobile – Table Demo
The Table Demo demonstrates how horizontal, vertical and crosstab tables appear on a mobile device. There’s multiple report tabs showing various capabilities- I chose the most colorful one here.
Just a simple report showing how the mobile user experience allows users to navigate sections.
These screen shots only show a fraction of the features SAP has demonstrated with these six samples. I was a bit surprised that there’s no bullet graph in these samples and I hope that SAP will continue to enhance this mobile-ready collection in future releases.
SAP has really done mobile-curious customers a big favor with such a useful starting point. Don’t forget that the mobile app itself has its own samples. But these samples effectively demonstrate what a Web Intelligence developer needs to do. I hope you’ll be encouraged to use the same techniques in your own mobile-ready Web Intelligence reports.
Are you currently using mobile Web Intelligence? I’d love to hear any success stories.
How to create the default categories for the Mobile BI app.
One of the current drawbacks of the current state of SAP mobile analytics is that not every Web Intelligence document can be rendered via the Mobile BI app. To get around this, SAP leveraged the existing categories mechanism, a seldom-used feature originally brought to the XI platform to allow the migration of categories from classic BusinessObjects 5.x/6.x. There are four default mobile categories, although only three are presently used by the Mobile BI app: Mobile, Confidential, MobileDesigned, and Featured. These are defined in the Central Management Console (CMC) under Applications -> SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI (wouldn’t “Mobile BI” have been enough?) and described in the Mobile BI Report Designer’s Guide on the SAP Help Portal. The details about the Featured category are descibed in the Mobile BI Administrator’s Guide.
Mobile – The “gatekeeper” category that controls whether content appears on the mobile device. It must be selected regardless of whether Confidential, MobileDesigned, or Featured are also selected.
Confidential – Prevents sensitive content from being permanently stored on the mobile device. Useful, but not a replacement for corporate mobile security policies or the use of centralized mobile device management.
MobileDesigned – Use “page layout” (close to original report design as possible) rather than default “card layout” (Mobile BI makes best guess how to display content).
Featured – Content is automatically downloaded to the mobile device when you log on to a server connection, or when the home screen is refreshed.
These categories are not created by the installation program, so you’ll want to create them as a post-installation task. The categories can be created in a flat structure as shown below. With a flat structure, mobile documents must be tagged with the Mobile category and optionally with one of the other three categories.
But I prefer to arrange them in a hierarchical structure, as shown below. The benefit to this structure is only a single category is required to tag the document. Tagging a document with MobileDesigned, for example, will automatically tag it with the Mobile category via inheritance.
Starting with Mobile BI 6.0, additional categories can be used to further organize documents on the mobile device. I’m not sure why folders have been shunned, other than robust folder structures may have proved too cumbersome for the average mobile executive’s thumbs. Below you can see that I’ve added the categories Candy, eFashion, Pizza, Samples, and WDI to the CMC.
And here’s how those categories appear on the mobile device. Notice that category sorting in the mobile app is case sensitive but is not in the CMC.
I hope this article will inspire you to create the four default mobile categories and begin exploring the features of the SAP Mobile BI app.
SAP KB 1851936 – Web Intelligence reports viewed in the SAP Mobile BI app for iOS are rendered differently between iPad generations
SAP Note 2007461 – Non-indexed Explorer Information Spaces are displayed in the report list on the SAP Mobile BI app for iOS
SAP Note 2076233 – Respect Category for Mobilizing Explorer and Xcelsius Content
The SAP BusinessObjects Reporting Cookbook is a solid addition to the growing number of books about SAP analytics.
One of the benefits of SAP being the world’s largest vendor of business intelligence software is the number of books available on the subject. We can now add SAP BusinessObjects Reporting Cookbook by Yoah Yahav to our bookshelves (ISBN 978-1782172437). The book title says “reporting”, but the book is all about Web Intelligence, not Crystal Reports. And “cookbook” means that the book is filled with over 80 different “recipes” for performing various query and report design activities using Web Intelligence. If you prefer step-by-step tutorials rather than a reference format, you’ll really like this book. Some topics, like data visualization, are covered with more of a reference approach and less of a step-by-step approach.
The book is covers a broad range of topics, sandwiching chapters on query and report design with an introduction to the BI Launch Pad and concluding with scheduling, BI workspaces, and the Web Intelligence Rich Client. Most of the examples use the eFashion and Island Resorts universes, which are easy to find since eFashion is often pre-installed with product samples and Island Resorts can be loaded from the SAP BusinessObjects sample folder. However some of the advanced query examples like subqueries and combined queries use the Motors universe, which is used by SAP’s classroom training for universe design and a bit more challenging to find and install.
With most of us buying our books online, we no longer have the luxury of thumbing through multiple books at the book store and choosing the one that seems the best fit for our own personality. However, BI competency centers can create their own browsing experience- a reference shelf that places the SAP BusinessObjects Reporting Cookbook alongside other titles like Cindi Howson’s Complete Reference (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects 4.0: The Complete Reference) or the book I helped write for SAP Press (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide). As SAP analytics professionals, it’s great to know that so much help is available from so many different sources.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”