SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards: Using the Push Button for month input

Posted by on Dec 28, 2012

I got a mail this morning about a blogpost I wrote 2,5 years ago in which I explained how you can use the Push Button component in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards to increase or decrease a value. The question in the mail was if and how this example could be transformed into a month selector, where the minus button would set February back to January and the plus button would do this the other way around.

There are two challenges here: How to get the names of the months to be shown (and not just the numbers) and how to limit the model to only work between the lowest (January) and highest (December) possible value.[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”static” fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”http://www.hackingsap.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/push_button_months_small.swf” width=”300″ height=”” targetclass=”flashmovie”]

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To solve this I used a Source Data component. This is a ‘hidden’ component that can move data based on a index number. To set this up I put all the months in the spreadsheet and for clarity I put the corresponding index numbers in front of them. Note: The Source Data component starts with index 0!

pushmonths3

As you can see in the two screenshots below I selected the cells with the months [B5:B16] as my source data from which one cell value has to be inserted into destination [D2]. Item Index [C2] determines which value that should be. In the screenshots the index number is 0, so “Jan” should be displayed in [D2].

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards: Variable maximum limits in charts

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012

If you use a chart in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) you have the option to adjust the scale of the y-axis. By default Dashboards uses the automatic axis and makes up its own minimum and maximum limits. The biggest drawback of this feature is that it won’t let the y-axis start at zero all the time; this depends on the data set the chart is displaying. To make honest comparisons of data I believe a chart should show the complete picture and start its value axis at zero.

The example below shows the same numbers in two bar charts with different limits on the y-axis. Do you see what is happening here? The left chart might give you the impression of a giant decline in market share; losing more than half it. In reality, market share is down from 60% to 56%, which is a decline of only 6,67%.

In Dashboards I always use the option to manually set the limits of the y-axis. But, what if you don’t know what value ranges have to be shown in the dashboard? And what if want to display multiple different sets of data in the same chart? Or you have created an option in your dashboard to filter the data and want to show some drilled subsets of the data? If you set the maximum limit too low there is a risk some values won’t be shown on the chart. If you set the maximum limit too high a data set with smaller numbers won’t show any differences between the values anymore.

So we have to make the maximum limit variable to tackle this problem. We are going to use some MS Excel formulas to do this. Make sure you check the example at the end of this post.

Let’s say we’ve got a data set with the monthly results for some products. First we set up the chart and the data insertion with a selector component so we can choose which product should be shown.

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Xcelsius Dashboard Printer 2.5 update

Posted by on Sep 2, 2012

Last November a very useful add-on for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards was announced by Data Savvy Tools: Xcelsius Dashboard Printer. This add-on component replaces the standard Print button component which only has one very basic functionality: Printing the whole dashboard as you see it. The Xcelsius Dashboard Printer add-on component lets you select a portion of the dashboard, queue up multiple snapshots before printing, format the output and add annotations.

Since my post on this component some nice improvements have been added to the initial version of the add-on, like for example the annotations. On top of that the upcoming 2.5 version now adds features like capture to clipboard, configuring different output formats for each snapshot and keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately the capture to clipboard option only works with Internet Explorer 7+; other browsers will show the screenshot in a new window so you can copy it from there.

In the demo dashboard below you can try the component for yourself and compare it to the limited Print button component. More info at DataSavvyTools.com.

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Posted in: New technology, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Meme time: Running Xcelsius and Excel

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012

It happened again…

Posted in: Fun, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

GMaps Plugin – Update on Google Maps API

Posted by on Aug 5, 2012

In 2010 I wrote this post about the great GMaps Plugin for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards. In the past 2 years some things have changed. I’m now getting some mails and tweets about this post and want to give you a short update.

First, development on the GMaps Plugin has – obviously – been continued and they are now at version 3.5. In the post I use version 2. So not everything may look the same when using the 3.5 trial version.

In the post I refer to a Google Maps API key you have to use to get the Google Maps running inside your dashboard. But, the API key option in the component properties doesn’t exist anymore! After adding the component to the canvas the Google Maps will appear instantly. From the Centigon Solutions FAQ:

As of March 2012, Google no longer supports creation of API keys for their maps APIs. Furthermore Google no longer supports the free Maps API for Flash per their deprecation policy. GMaps Plugin standard trials no longer require any API keys and provide newly enforced publishing limitations.

If your try to publish and  run your dashboard with the GMaps Plugin trial component on a remote server you’ll get some kind of Initialization failed error. Due to changes introduced to the free Google Maps API and removal of API key generator GMaps Plugin trial does NOT allow for publishing of content on a server environment anymore.

Below is the mail that Centigon Solutions sent about this issue to its users in April 2012:

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Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius