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

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook pricing

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012

Apparently decided to remove the ‘standard’ discount on our SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard 4.0 cookbook. It is now selling at $54.99 for the paperback edition + shipping costs.

So if you haven’t picked up the book yet and want to save a few bucks, check the Packt Publishing website and get it for $49,49 with free shipping over there!


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

A first look at ZEN (SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio)

Posted by on Jun 13, 2012

This week we got access to the beta program for one of the new upcoming SAP BI tools: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Edition for Application Design, codename ZEN. I played around with it for about an hour to get a quick first impression and to see how fast I would be able to create my first ZEN app with some interactivity.

If you haven’t heard about ZEN before you should check the following blogposts:

The user guide gives the following definition of ZEN:

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for application design enables application designers to create analysis applications and dashboards for browsers and mobile devices on top of BW and SAP HANA data sources. It is the product of choice when full support for BW and HANA data models and engine capabilities is required. The product offers a design tool that allows you to create applications in an easy and intuitive way without the need for native HTML and iPad UI programming skills.

Looking at the SAP BI tools, the features of the current BEx Web Application Designer (WAD) and SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) will be merged into this one tool (to rule them all!). Note that ZEN is now in beta, ramp-up is planned for end 2012 and it will be general availability not before the middle of 2013!! So we have enough time to learn about this new tool.

The ZEN software installer required me to install Internet Explorer 9 on my Windows 7 VM. This could lead to some problems in production environments that are using WAD, since WAD only works well with Internet Explorer 8. At one of my current projects we now also have this problem after upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 with IE9. Check SAP note 1635870 for more info on this issue.

Setting up the connection to the SAP BW system was easy; just copy-pasting the settings from the SAP logon settings. There is no ‘check connection’ option, so you have to execute the app to check if your settings are correct. Interesting is the option to create multiple SAP BW and SAP HANA connections. Also it seems like you don’t need a live connection to work on an app. In WAD this was required.

The program looks a bit like WAD and Xcelsius, with several components to choose from on the left, a canvas in the middle and on the right the properties of the selected component.

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing, New technology, Preview, SAP, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, ZEN

Book review: Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012

For the past months I’ve been busy reading (and listening) a bunch of interesting tech books so it’s time for another review. It looks like SAP Press is updating its book portfolio this year, since after the Integrating SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.x with SAP Netweaver book I posted about in January we now also have a second edition of Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects, and in April the successor to Creating Dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects is planned for release.

This is a good thing. We’ve seen lots of changes in just a few years; BI4 has been release, new product names are introduced, integration has been improved and so on. If you are just entering the new SAP BusinessObjects world and you would follow the ‘old’ books and documentation it would only get you confused and probably frustrated. We don’t need that. The book is updated for release 4.0 FP3.

So let’s have a look at this new Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects book, which is again written by Ingo Hilgefort, who is one of the ultimate gurus on SAP BusinessObjects and SAP BW tooling and integration and has been blogging and writing books on these topics since SAP acquired BusinessObjects a few years back. Follow this guy if you want to keep updated and learn more.

This book is really an overall overview of the complete SAP BusinessObjects reporting portfolio. It starts with the basics by describing the different reporting capabilities in just a few pages. A lot of SAP BI consultants still can’t name the five main BI tooling areas so there is nothing wrong to start with this again.

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Posted in: Books, Knowledge sharing, New technology, SAP BusinessObjects

Intelligent printing in SAP BO Dashboards

Intelligent printing in SAP BO Dashboards
Posted by on Nov 21, 2011

The Print button component in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 (Xcelsius) has a pretty basic functionality: It prints your complete dashboard; it’s all-or-nothing. The only setting you can make is whether the dashboard should be scaled to fit the page or to a certain percentage. After clicking this print button the standard Windows print window appears where you can select a printer and start printing. So yeah, that’s pretty basic stuff.

I want to share a quick preview of the upcoming Dash Printer Add-on for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards by Data Savvy Tools, which seems to be what the Print button should have looked like. With this add-on the dashboard user is free to select the exact output he wants to get printed. So if only a certain chart or table of the dashboard should be printed, we now can select this area, snap a picture of it and print it. I like the queueing features which lets you snap multiple screenshots before the actual printing starts. You can change the print order and set some layout and formatting options.

There is also a feature that lets you change the state of the dashboards without leaving the selection mode by holding the CTRL-key. On my Mac this gives a problem, because CTRL-click still is recognized as right-clicking the mouse. This is one of the things left from the one-buttoned mouse era the Mac was in until some years ago. Luckily the Mac Command-key does the same trick.

Try this handy add-on below or check the Data Savvy Tools website for more info. You can also watch a video below which demonstrates all features for you.

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Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius