Update Static Dashboards by Creating a Template with Formulas in Xcelsius

Have you ever developed a “one-off” dashboard in Xcelsius only to have it upgraded (by the boss or client) a couple months later to “we need that dashboard updated every quarter”? Many of you have probably been faced with this situation and needed to find a way to maintain and support an Xcelsius dashboard containing static (but evolving) data.

Ideally, you would connect your dashboard to a Data Manager connection type that allows data to be dynamically inserted into the model. Commonly used connection types for loading data dynamically are: Query as a Web Service, SAP NetWeaver BW, Live Office, or a Web Service from Web Intelligence Rich Client in BOE XI 3.1 SP2. But unfortunately, these connection types are sometimes a luxury and not always available. Sometimes data in Excel is your only data source.

So what to do when you’ve developed a fairly extensive model containing a large number of formulas and need to update the data?

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MyXcelsius Facebook Giveaway

Winner: Congratulations to Mark Bradley (@Syscokid87) from HP for winning the MyXcelsius Facebook Giveaway Contest. 240 fans on Facebook in just 11 days is a phenomenal turnout. This promotion is now closed. Thank you all for your support.

Finally we succumbed. Yes, MyXcelsius.Com is on Facebook now. We are going to be honest here. We want as many as possible on our Facebook page and as quickly as possible. We want to get that count up as soon as possibly we can. So, what’s in it for you? Soon after launching our Facebook page, we realized that we can do much more that what we thought with it. Just like the blog here, we can do pretty much whatever we want to and so we went ahead and added our YouTube videos, twitter feed and discussions. Also, we have setup feeds from the most important Xcelsius weblogs and forums. The intention was to create a One stop place for all Xcelsius activity.

Seriously, still, what’s in it for me? Alright, if you become (or already are) a fan on our Facebook page, we are giving away an author autographed Xcelsius 2008 Dashboard Best Practices book for the lucky winner on 30 Sept 2010. Now, we know that you all can go and buy the book from Amazon.com for $30, but only a handful of you can get it signed by Loren Abdulezer. So it is Priceless.

All you need to do is click on this button and you are on the list.

A little bit about the book:

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How to create an Analog Clock using Xcelsius?

Last week, Greg showed us all about How to create a Digital Clock using Xcelsius. After looking at the XLF that Greg posted, what stuck me was how a simple NOW() function can turn a Label Component into a fully functioning Digital clock. It was like food for thought for me and I thought why not an Analog Clock using the same logic. So I decided to take a step forward and add a few more formulas and extend the functionality of a Digital Clock to an Analog version. I know, going from Digital to Analog is not really a step forward, but It’s a worthy effort to show the power of Xcelsius. Here is how I achieved it.

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How to freeze panes in Xcelsius (Spreadsheet Component)

I’m sure everybody is familiar with the Freeze Panes feature in MS Excel. How can we simulate the same in Xcelsius while using a Spreadsheet component? Often while designing dashboards, the primary limitation that every developer has is the screen real estate. Although you have an option to enable scroll bars, when trying to show too many data points in a Spreadsheet component, the label column disappears when you scroll. In order to avoid that, here is a simple trick that I used in one of my recent projects. Video after the Jump

Video after the Jump

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How to create a digital clock in Xcelsius?

I have had several requests to incorporate a digital clock into an Xcelsius dashboard. Although this can be achieved by finding a digital clock SWF and embedding into an Xcelsius model, I was determined to achieve this by using nothing but out of the box Xcelsius components. Here is what I’ve come up with:

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