The wait is almost over, SAP Lumira will be GA by the end of August 2017! As you probably already know, Lumira 2.0 is the successor of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6 and SAP Lumira 1.31. Indeed, both products will be converged in one tool (to rule them all!). I’ll discuss the impact of this, and of course all the other new features in this blog. By the way, for those who understand Dutch, please check Interdobs.nl for the original post.
A new foundation
The last major release of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6 dates back to November 2015. Since then, some service packs have been issued on quite a regular basis, which even contained some new functionality in a few cases. For example, almost all components have now been made m-mode compatible, currency conversion is possible and the generic analysis template has improved considerably.
SAP Lumira 1.31 was launched in June 2016, and since then we have only seen some patches with bug fixes, including running Lumira in combination with BI Platforms that use SSL.
The long time between major releases with new functionality is definitely something we weren’t used to regarding SAP Lumira. The reason behind this is that for Lumira 2.0 a completely new foundation has been laid to keep the tool future-proof. The focus of the development team has been deliberately shifted to Lumira 2.0, with the consequence that the further development of the two existing tools has mostly shut down.
Lumira 2.0 consists of two client tools and a common backend add-on for the BI Platform.The client tools are Lumira Designer (successor of Design Studio 1.6) and Lumira Discovery (successor to SAP Lumira 1.31). Both tools are built on the same code base and use the common file type LUMX. This means that a document created in Lumira Discovery can be opened in Lumira Designer and vice versa.
Before we dive into this scenario, let’s get a have look at both tools first.
As mentioned, Lumira Designer is the successor of Design Studio 1.6, and remains within Lumira 2.0 the client tool for developing advanced BI applications and dashboards. It is still the place to build predefined applications, in which scripts can be used for specific functionality.
An important new feature is the Composite. The composite allows you to develop your own component based on other components. You can then reuse a composite in your applications; even in other applications! An example is a composite of a KPI tile, which consists of a text, a KPI value and a chart. You could reuse such a composite four times in an application, showing for each version the values of another measure.
Conditional Formatting and Filter Settings
Two other areas that will have more reusability options are conditional formatting and filter settings. Conditional formatting can now be defined within Lumira Designer (previously done in the BEx Query Designer using the exceptions), both in the developer’s client tool and when using the application by the end user. The formatting rules can be applied to multiple visualization components.
Also, filters settings can now be created once, after which they are applied to multiple filter-related components.
Adaptive Layout component
The Adaptive Layout component is a first step towards responsive designed dashboards and BI applications. This allows the layout of the application to be automatically adjusted to the size of the screen. This means making it easier to develop applications that can be used on desktop, tablet or mobile phones.
New bookmark concept
A lot has changed for the bookmarks in Lumira 2.0. It is now possible to specify exactly which items should or may not be included in a bookmark. This makes it possible to keep bookmarks valid, while still changing parts of the application. In addition, it becomes possible to use global bookmarks in addition to personal bookmarks.
In addition to the above new features, improvements have been made to some existing components as well. For example, the GeoMap component now uses ESRI as a standard and the quality and options of exporting to PDF have gone up. It is now also possible to export to Analysis for Office.
Lumira Discovery is the successor to SAP Lumira 1.31. Unlike Lumira Designer, Lumira Discovery has had a complete makeover, resulting in a new layout and method.
The different Lumira rooms are gone. The previous setup was to have separate tabs, in which first the data was prepared (Prepare), visualizations were created (Visualize) and finally a story with these charts and tables was composed (Compose). In Lumira 2.0, more use made of the context menu (right-click), which allows specific actions to be performed on the clicked object,
A visualization is immediately created on the canvas in a story. Changes therefore also have direct effect. This in contrast to Lumira 1.31, where, after change a visualization, that visualization had to be added to the story again every time. Furthermore, filters are now easier to set up, and it is clearer on what the filter has an effect: the complete story, a page, or a single visualization.
The most important new data-related functionality is that Lumira Discovery can establish a live connection with SAP BW resources. We now can use typical BW/BEx functionalities such as hierarchies, structures, scaling factors, etc. in crosstabs and charts. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to link a live BW or HANA source to an offline data source, which is still a major functionality gap.
An interesting new opportunity with SAP Lumira 2.0 is that of the so-called ‘interoperability’. It is possible to open and edit a Lumira story that you created in Lumira Discovery, in Lumira Designer. For example, it is possible to build a prototype of a report in Lumira Discovery, and then ‘upgrade’ it in Lumira Designer in a more standardized dashboard. Note that stories adapted to Lumira Designer can not be further processed at Lumira Discovery. Nevertheless, it is possible to update and edit data from Lumira Discovery!
SAP Lumira 2.0 uses the complete new file format LUMX, and is therefore not directly compatible with existing developments in Lumira 1.31 and Design Studio 1.6. However, there are migration options for both tools. Also, existing Lumira documents and Design Studio applications can continue to run smoothly on the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform.
It should be clear that SAP Lumira 2.0 has taken an important step forward. A future-based foundation has been laid, showing that the both tools are moving closer and closer towards each other. A lot of energy has been spent on improving Lumira Discovery’s user experience, and we can expect a lot of possibilities for interoperability. The major functionality gap is still in the possibility to combine local offline data with live data from a data source like a SAP BW BEx Query.