Using Xcelsius 2008 to communicate with Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports

“Jim is Back”. In this post – Jim Brogden, a BI Consultant from Daugherty Business Solutions gives Step-by-Step Instructions on “How to use Xcelsius 2008 to communicate with Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports.”

Utilize the new Interportlet Communication (IPC) feature in Dashboard Builder 3.1 (and within BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1) to pass data between Xcelsius 2008, Web Intelligence documents and Crystal Reports.

Through the use of “Content Linking”, this type of communication can now take place between the products listed above – all within the same Dashboard Builder portlet. The steps below will walk you through the incredibly simple process of linking an Xcelsius model (used as the source) to two Web Intelligence documents as targets.

Not only can Xcelsius be used as the source analytic but it can be the target as well. Content Linking and IPC allow for linking to take place between two or more Xcelsius models.

Linking Xcelsius and Web Intelligence

Let’s start by creating a prompted Web Intelligence report. In this example, I will be using the Islands Resort Marketing Universe (that comes packaged with BOE XI 3.1) to create the report. The screenshot below is from a simple Web Intelligence report with a filter added for the Country field and set to Prompt for input. The name of the filter (or text of the prompt) has been changed to “COUNTRY”.

Prompted Webi Report

Prompted Webi Report

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Webinar Archives: Xtreme Makeover: Xcelsius Edition

In this Webinar Ryan Goodman of Centigon Solutions describes How to Build more effective dashboards through good design. Ryan is an Xcelsius Guru and the founder of Centigon Solutions Inc. He also writes on his own blog on Visual Data Analysis.

Note: This is a direct Excerpt from the Business Objects Website.

Learn dashboard design best practices to construct effective dashboard layouts with better visual aesthetics. Join us for a webinar to teach you design best practices that you can quickly apply to make better looking dashboards that lead to higher user adoption.

In this web seminar, you will learn:

  • The importance of well designed solutions in relation to user adoption
  • Best practices for creating effective dashboard layouts
  • Rules for good design within a dashboard context

Straight from Xcelsius Best Practices: Flash Security

If you are encountering issues while opening a local SWF or a SWF hosted on a web server, make sure the Flash Player security settings are set accordingly. Below are the instructions on how to change the Flash Player security settings.

Note: This information is from the White Paper “Xcelsius 2008 General Best Practices” written by Matt Lloyd.

Running a SWF from Your Desktop – Make the SWF Trusted

If you export to Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, HTML, or to your desktop to run the SWF, you may find the SWF does not work if you try to retrieve data or try to navigate to a Web page because of the Adobe Flash security restrictions.
To run this SWF on your desktop, you need to make it trusted, so it can access Web sites or local data.

Note: You can make a SWF trusted using the Global Settings Manager (if you have Internet access) or with a FlashPlayerTrust configuration file.

To make a SWF trusted using the Global Settings Manager:

  1. Run the SWF.
  2. Right-click on the SWF to see a context menu and select Settings…
  3. Select the Privacy tab.
  4. Click Advanced… (opens in a new window).
  5. Select Global Security Settings Panel (in the Table of Contents).
  6. Add this SWF as trusted location.
  7. Close the browser and reload the SWF.

Running a SWF Hosted on a Web Server –Use a Cross-Domain Policy File

If you host your SWF on a Web server, make sure that any Web server you need to connect to for live data has a cross-domain policy file in the Web server root (the location of the root folder differs for each Web server). If you do not, then you may not be able to connect to the Web server to get data when you run the SWF hosted on your Web server.

The cross-domain policy file controls which SWFs running in which domains can access your Web server.

The below code presents an example of a cross-domain policy file that lets any SWF running on any domain access your Web server. This file needs to be placed on the root of your Web server.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cross-domain-policy SYSTEM
"http://www.macromedia.com/xml/dtds/cross-domainpolicy.
dtd">
<cross-domain-policy>
<allow-http-request-headers-from domain="*"
headers="*" secure="false" />
<allow-access-from domain="*" secure="false" />
</cross-domain-policy>

Generating web services for Xcelsius using Flynet Web Service Generator

In this post David Lai, a BI Consultant and the author of davidlai101.com explains how to generate Web Services using Flynet Web Service Generator and use the Web Services to build live Xcelsius Dashboards.

For those who are using Xcelsius but without Business Objects Enterprise, you will either have to grab data from the database using XML mapping or Webservices.  XML mapping not very flexible in terms of generating complicated queries so most people will go to the webservice route.  The only draw back with generating your own webservices is the time it takes to code or cost to hire a developer to build the web services.

One way to generate webservices quickly is to use the Flynet Web Service Generator.

Its quite easy to install and setup as long as you follow the instructions which are included with the installation. Flynet works simplest with IIS but for those using apache like me, you will need to follow the Apache Web Server instructions which is included in the Flynet help file.

Generating a Web Service
First you will want to generate your webservice and you can follow the interactive walk-through found here

The tutorial shows how to create a web service from simple queries, HOWEVER if you want to create queries that involve Aggregates, Case Statements, and Procedures, the code will be a little bit more complicated. The manual and tutorial doesn’t really teach you how to do these things so the first thing you might think is that it is not possible and just stop using it.

Here is how you create queries with Aggregates, Case Statements, and Procedures

Aggregate
If you want to perform a count query, you will need to enclose the row counted and use the as ~row~ otherwise flynet will throw and error

Case Statements
Case Statements are similar to the Count statements where the case section is enclosed in the brackets.

Procedures
Procedures need to have the text EXEC at the start of the Query SQL statement followed by the name of the Stored procedure.

Please note that you must include the for the output parameters

Connect the webservice to the Xcelsius Dashboard
Finally you can connect the webservice to your Xcelsius Dashboard but before you do so you should be careful of values that get returned that are of type DATE. Apparently a T gets inserted into the date row and Excel will think that the field is a text field, thus any date functions on the date cells will screw up.

To fix this, in Excel just use the DATEVALUE(), LEFT() and RIGHT() functions to strip out the T into the new cells

To try out Flynet Viewer go to http://www.flynet.co.uk

Barack Obama’s journey of Life on Google Maps

What a night it was for America. Barack Obama is the President Elect. Coincidentally I was in Chicago Downtown on the night of the results. Although I had no tickets to attend the Winning speech from Obama, I can listen to the roar of the crowd coming out of Grant Park. The downtown was lit up with USA on all the Buildings. It was a spectacular sight to watch. Barack Obama has come a long way in his Journey to the White House. Here is a google maps version of the same.

The data is coming from MIBAZAAR (www.mibazaar.com/barackobama.xml). Thanks to Virender Ajmani for creating such a wonderful Gadget.

Click on Autoplay or the Left Right arrows to navigate.