Xcelsius 2011: Direct query binding

Posted by on Jan 10, 2011

Somewhere in the first half of 2011 the next version of SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) will be released as part of the new SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 (#BI4) portfolio. SAP hasn’t given us a release date yet, but they did put a few demo’s and tutorials online that already give an impression of what is coming.

The most important new feature to Xcelsius seems to be an additional way to connect a dashboard to a Universe. A new Query Browser menu is introduced which enables the creation of queries on Universes without leaving Xcelsius or having to use tools like Query as a Web Service (QaaWS).

Xcelsius 2011 - Query Browser Xcelsius 2011 - Query creation

In these queries you can determine which fields should be loaded into the dashboard and define some filters, prompts and sorting settings. To use these prompts to filter data during dashboard runtime the new Query Prompt Selector component can be used.

Xcelsius 2011 - Prompts

Binding the results of such a query to the spreadsheet works just like binding the current data connections. Additionally it will be possible to bind a component directly to a query, so without using the spreadsheet at all! This feature will certainly make development a lot easier and faster.

Xcelsius 2011 - Direct query binding Xcelsius 2011 - Direct query binding

Finally I want to share a video that demonstrates these new possibilities. Also have a look at the tutorials SAP put on their community website which learned me the above, since I do not have access to the beta/ramp-up version yet. BTW if you can get me this, plz let me know. ūüėČ

Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

5 Xcelsius tips to start 2011 right!

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010

Let’s kick off 2011 with some Xcelsius (SAP Crystal Dashboard Design) tips which may help you during the development of some cool Xcelsius dashboards.

1. Document from start

Documenting your work sounds like something that can wait until you finished the dashboard. In Xcelsius development this can get you into trouble. As a dashboard gets more complex during development it is important to remain in control. There are a number of ways you can apply this:

Use colors to express the functionality of spreadsheet cells, i.e. yellow for data input from Xcelsius, green for Excel formulas, orange for Dynamic Visibility and blue for external data. In addition to colors you can insert comments and borders on spreadsheet cells to keep things clear for yourself and others.

Use different worksheets for the data and Excel-logic for each corresponding dashboard tab or layer. Also group components and give these groups a logical name. If you use multiple components of the same type also rename them. Use the Object Browser to do this.

Xcelsius SAP Crystal Dashboard Design Object Browser

2. Use Global Font

So you built a nice dashboard and now you want to see how it looks with some different fonts. Manually changing the font of all your components texts is obviously a big no-no here. It takes way too much time and will frustrate you even before you started. Luckily you can change the font of all texts at once with the Global Font option.

Go to the Document Properties in the File menu. Select Use Global Font and choose your font from the list. Do not forget to select Use Embedded Fonts. That way you are sure the dashboard will look like you designed it on every computer it is run on. If you choose Use Device Fonts the dashboard will only use fonts that are available at the user’s computer. If the font that you used is not available another font will be used which can mess up your layout! So even if the SWF-file gets a little bigger, don’t use this setting!

Xcelsius SAP Crystal Dashboard Design Document Properties

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Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Xcelsius 2008 Fix Pack 3.4 available

Xcelsius 2008 Fix Pack 3.4 available
Posted by on Dec 15, 2010

Just 2 months after the release of Fix Pack 3.3, today SAP gives us Fix Pack 3.4 for Xcelsius 2008 SP 3. You can grab the download from this page. This Fix Pack can be applied to Xcelsius 2008 SP3 or FP3.1, FP3.2 or FP3.3. Not sure which version you are running now? Have a look at this post.

Get the Release Notes here (PDF) and all Fixed Issues are listed in this document (PDF). I also listed them below:

  1. The Xcelsius Scorecard component shows inconsistent behavior.
    This issue is resolved. The font-style value is retained when you rebind the data. Format information is not retained and will be retrieved directly from Excel for each binding. Column width is not updated when you rebind data.
  2. A negative value set in a secondary axis will be missed when a combination chart is generated.
    This issue is resolved.
  3. When a child dashboard is loading and you switch between tabs, the child dashboard fails to load.
    This issue is resolved, but if you put the SWFLoader in a container and fast switch the container, dynamic visibility will still have problems.

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Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

SAP Crystal Dashboard and Presentation Design (Xcelsius) Cookbook

SAP Crystal Dashboard and Presentation Design (Xcelsius) Cookbook
Posted by on Nov 21, 2010

I am very excited to announce the SAP Crystal Dashboard and Presentation Design Cookbook I am currently working on together with co-author David Lai. The book is scheduled to be published by Packt Publishing in the first half of 2011.

The cool thing about this book is that it is indeed structured as a cookbook. In at least 75 practical recipes we will show in a step-by-step approach and supported by a large number of screenshots how to create advanced dashboards using the SAP Crystal Dashboard and Presentation Design software, formerly known as Xcelsius.

SAP Crystal Dashboard and Presentation Design Cookbook: RAW

Besides covering the functionality and working of components, data connections, dynamic visibility, alerts and dashboard publishing we will also discuss some of the top add-ons and provide best practices on dashboard development. This setup makes the book a nice read for both beginners and the more experienced users.

Since the book is currently under development it has the RAW (Read As we Write) status at Packt Publishing, which means that the all material that is written until now is already available in e-book format. We aim to publish the book in May 2011.

Update May 2011: The book has been released as the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 cookbook. You can find more information here.

Posted in: Books, Cookbook, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Free SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) Webinars

Free SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) Webinars
Posted by on Nov 19, 2010

This month three nice webinars have been publish on some diverse SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) topics. This is good learning material, so have a look at it!

Distribute your Xcelsius Dashboards by Antivia.

How to utilize the power of XWIS and the BusinessObjects Enterprise platform to distribute personalized, offline Xcelsius dashboards, in a secure and scalable way to new users and new devices.

Antivia X-Broadcast Xcelsius SAP Crystal Dashboard Design webinar

Xcelsius101 by DataPig Technologies (Mike Alexander)

This session is a beginner’s look at Xcelsius. If you are just getting started with Xcelsius, this session will give you a proper introduction to all the features of this amazing dashboarding tool.

Advanced XML Connectivity by DataPig Technologies (Mike Alexander)

In this Webinar, you will learn how to connect to external databasesusing full XML connectivity (not just XML Maps). This session will walk you step-by-step through the code you will need to develop a connected Xcelsius dashboard.

DataPig Xcelsius SAP Crystal Dashboard Design webinar

Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Webinars, Xcelsius