Universe Designer Refresh Structure

Universe Designer Refresh Structure No Update Needed

Lately I’ve been converting a proof of concept (POC) dashboard into something production-ready. Now it’s time to adopt some naming standards and bring the original POC dashboards and their associated Query as a Web Service (QaaWS) queries, database tables, ETL scripts, etc. into a bit of standardization. One of my recent tasks was to rename tables to match our naming standards.

SAP BusinessObjects Designer (known in BI 4.0 and higher as the Universe Design Tool) makes the process fairly easy but also a bit unintuitive. Renaming a table is a snap. Simply right click on a table in Designer and specify a new name. But what if the table definition has changed somewhat? For example, what if some audit timestamps have been added? Universe Designer allows you to update table definitions, either one at a time or for the entire universe structure. However, the feature to refresh table structure is in a bit of an unintuitive menu location.

The feature in question is located on the View menu as View->Refresh Structure, as shown below.

Universe Designer Refresh Structure Menu
What makes this a bit odd is that the “View” menu is commonly used for options such as zoom in/zoom out, the display of various toolbars, the status bar, etc. Things that don’t modify the actual file (in this case, a universe) that you’re working on. Not so with Refresh Structure, which will modify the table definitions in the schema window.

Single Table or Entire Universe?

There are two ways to refresh structure: on a single table or the entire universe table structure. To refresh the structure on a single table, left click on the table then choose View->Refresh Structure from the menu. To refresh the structure of the entire universe, left click on a blank area of the schema window to make sure no tables are selected, then choose View->Refresh from the menu.

If no changes in structure were detected, the following dialog box appears:


Universe Designer Refresh Structure No Update NeededFrom Here To Eternity

I noticed that Designer was taking a ridiculously long time to refresh a very simple universe structure. It’s very inelegant. But I’d finally had enough and looked to BOB, the Business Objects Board, for the answer. Turns out that if you have Underline Keys checked in the Graphics options (Tools->Options), the refresh operation will take a ludicrous amount of time. Cause and effect is pretty non-intuitive here, is it not? In any case, clear the box and the performance of the Refresh Structure option will be light speed. Resolving this dilemma was my inspiration for writing this post.

Universe Designer Refresh Structure Underline Keys

Suggestions for Next Version of Universe Designer

First, I’d really like to see View Structure moved to the Tools menu; however, it’s been misplaced as long as I can remember (version 5) so it’s unlikely to change. But I can dream, can’t I?

Second, the ability to refresh a single table should be added to the right-click menu when right-clicking on a table. It’s conspicuous in its absence.

Universe Designer Refresh Structure Right Click on TableLastly, the code should be re-written so selecting Underline Keys in the Graphics options doesn’t bring Universe Designer to its knees. It’s unlikely that SAP will make any additional changes to the classic semantic layer design tool, so hopefully we’ll see the new Information Design Tool bring some improvements to the Refresh Structure functionality.

What next?

Obviously, updating the structure is only the first step if the database schema has changed radically. In my case, I did not intend to create universe objects on the new database fields. However, at this point, designers should run an integrity check on universe objects to identify errors due to the database changes. Universe maintenance is a topic well-covered in the official Universe Design course (DM310) in the SAP BusinessObjects curriculum. Perhaps I’ll have more to say about universe maintenance in a future post.


Dallas Marks

Dallas Marks

I am an analytics and cloud architect, author, and trainer. An AWS certified blogger, SAP Mentor Alumni and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting.

14 thoughts on “Universe Designer Refresh Structure

  1. Thanks for taking the time to post this, I’ve been trying to figure out how to refresh a table structure in the universe. Didn’t think to look on the view menu. A right click option would of been nice!


  2. Thanks for the post, I had spent ages trying to find how to refresh the structure of a single table – it had been highlighted when using Check Integrity. I totally agree that the addition of the right click context menu option is something that should be added in a future release.

  3. Great and thanks for the post. I had spent ages trying to find how to update the structure of a single table and agree that a right click context menu option is something that should be added in a future release.

  4. Just one question: if there is a change after refresh structure, like for example a new column in a table, will I find it only in the table (on the left, in structure pane) or also in schema window? Thanks.

  5. The tables in the schema window will reflect all of the new columns. And of course, any deleted columns will no longer appear. So run the integrity checker to survey the potential damage.

  6. As the others said, thanks for the post about refreshing the table structure. Like many things about BO, it could’ve been done better.

  7. Thank you for this article. Saved me loads of time. I too had trouble finding a way to refresh a table. Never would have thought that it would be found under view.

    Thanks again. Hope you the best.

  8. Thanks a lot with the help on refreshing universe. It really worked and saved a lot of my time. Thanks again for sharing this.

  9. Hi,

    I have Parse Joins:40 errors. I deleted a class folder in the left as I didn’t need it and all these errors are related to that class/table/folder. But few joins are still hanging somewhere in the universe. Can you please tell me where is Integrity checker is looking for these missing joins and throwing these 40 errors?

    One of the errors:
    DSM_Drift_DriftDetailsID=DSM_Drift_DriftCIAttributes.DRIFTDETAILSSID parse failed: Edception: DBD, ORA-00942: table or view does not exist State: N/A

    Appreciate your response.

    1. Rohini,

      Due to the volume of comments, this blog is not intended to be a source for product support, as I cannot always respond to the questions raised by your comments. Please post technical questions to the SAP Service Marketplace or BusinessObjects Board (BOB).


  10. Hi,

    I’d like to thank you.
    It worked fine for me 😉

    Great job.
    Keep going


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