Santa Claus arrived early this year, with SAP BusinessObjects delivering the third servicepack for Xcelsius 2008. Great! The Xcelsius community seems to be extremely excited about this release according to all the positive tweets and blogs. You can download Xcelsius 2008 here and find all the information on what’s fixed and what’s new here.
But hey, wait a minute. Those Sparklines, Bullet-charts, Scorecards, the Chart Slider, Advanced Labeling which all comes with SP3, I have seen all of this before somewhere. Actually, I already had a lot of this functionality in my Xcelsius SP2 installation, due to some excellent third-party Xcelsius add-ons. See some examples below. On the left side the ‘new’ Xcelsius components, on the right side the ‘old’ third-party add-ons.
So what is the message that SAP gives us – and more important: the small group of Xcelsius add-on developers – with this release? Looking at this free ‘service pack’ I don’t see why anyone would consider investing a lot of time, effort and money in developing Xcelsius add-ons, knowing that SAP maybe will integrate your ideas or solutions in their own product, and give it away for free. I remember the case where Apple introduced its ‘innovative’ Dashboard, while third-party app Konfabulator already did the same thing years before. Maybe I’m just whining about nothing and is this just what big companies do all the time, but with the very limited number of active developers for Xcelsius add-ons, I think this approach maybe not the best way to go.