The components of TM1
First we’ll get introduced to the client components of Cognos TM1.
Client components allow access to the TM1 Servers. During a default installation, the following Client components will be installed:
- TM1 Client
- TM1 Perspectives
- TM1 Architect
- TM1 API
- OLE DB Provider
What we mean by OLE DB Provider is simply an external software component that enables TM1 to have specialized access to OLAP data sources such as Microsoft Analysis Services and it is not directly referenced in the current IBM Cognos TM1 Developer (Test COG-310) certification exam, so we will not spend time on it.
All of the client components can be installed on a user (client) machine as well as the (server) machine that the TM1 server components are installed. There is an advantage in having at least one client component installed on a server machine for debugging purposes, however some installation polices may inhibit this practice.
The TM1 (basic) client is accessed through Microsoft Excel as an Add-In and will allow limited access to available TM1 Servers.
As a Cognos TM1 developer, you should know that a Microsoft Excel Add-In is a file that Excel can load when it starts up. The file contains program code that adds additional functionality to Excel, usually in the form of new functions.
TM1 Client does not allow administrative access to any TM1 Servers. It does not offer the ability to set up and run a local TM1 Server.
During the installation, a local version of TM1 Server is installed and can be accessed by TM1 Client, TM1 Perspectives, or TM1 Arch itect. A local TM1 Server gives you exclusive (administrative) access to data and objects in a set of Windows folders called data directories. During a TM1 Client session, only you can create, browse, and modify data or objects that a local server stores. You can also control where the data directories should be located.
Since the TM1 Client is limited in functionality, most users will choose to install and use TM1 Perspectives (TM1 Client is not covered in the exam, but you should at least be aware that it exists and what functionality it offers).
During a default installation, TM1 Client and TM1 Perspectives are both installed. Upon loading of the TM1 Add-In in Microsoft Excel, if no valid TM1 Perspectives license file (.lic) is found, you can only start and run TM1 Client even though you have installed TM1 Perspectives.
As with TM1 Client, TM1 Perspectives is loaded and runs as an Add-In to Microsoft Excel.
With TM1 Perspectives, you can access data within TM1 Servers and you can also create and maintain TM1 objects and data on both local and remote TM1 Servers.
It is important to be aware of the fact that with each installation of TM1 Client and TM1 Perspectives, a “personal configuration” file named Tm1p.ini is installed. This file is used to configure the settings for the behavior of the Add-In file within Microsoft Excel.
During a TM1 installation, you can choose to automatically load TM1 Perspectives (or TM1 Client) when Excel starts. Don’t worry, if you missed this during the installation, you can perform the following easy steps:
- Open Microsoft Excel on your desktop.
- Click on Tools | Add-Ins from the Excel menu bar.
- Select Tm1p.xla.
- Click on OK.
When you click on Add-Ins, Microsoft Excel will most likely show you a location where it thinks the TM1P Add-In file exists.
You will almost never find the TM1P file where Excel says it should be, so you will need to browse to the location on your machine where TM1 installed the file as shown in the following screenshot:
The TM1P Add-In file is usually installed during installation to the directory folder CognosTM1bin.
Features of TM1P
The default version of Tm1p.ini allows multiple users to use TM1 on a given computer. Tm1p.ini must be present the first time a user starts TM1 on the computer, as the parameters in the system default version govern the behavior of the initial startup of the TM1 Client for each user.
After a user starts TM1 on the computer, a user-specific copy of Tm1p.ini is created in %APPDATA%ApplixTM1Tm1p.ini. In most cases, the full path to the Tm1p.ini file is:
C:Documents and Settings
Application DataApplixT M1
The user-specific copy of Tm1p.ini accepts all parameter settings and changes for the user and governs the behavior of the TM1 Client for all subsequent user sessions of the TM1 Client.
It is important to know how to locate and configure the Tm1p.ini file. As you will find references to the file’s purpose and settings of the file in the exam and in practice, you will have occasion to access and update it.
For your users running TM1 Clients on Windows Vista and Windows 7, application data (and therefore the Tm1p.ini file) is stored differently. To locate the .ini file, open a command line prompt, for example – Start | Run | cmd.
Execute the command set APPDATA to discover where the application data (and the Tm1p.ini file) is stored. The directory that is displayed will contain a directory named ApplixTM1 that will contain Tm1p.ini.
The Tm1p.ini file is important because that is where you can set parameters that change the user’s TM1 Perspectives experience.
Some of the most interesting (and important) .ini file parameters are:
- ConnectLocalAtStartup: This parameter is set to True or False and indicates whether the client automatically attempts to connect to the local server at startup. For most users it is advantageous not to connect to the local server.
- AdvancedRulesEditor: This parameter is set to True or False and will indicate the type of TM1 Rules Editor that is used. The advanced Rules Editor has an enhanced interface and is somewhat more complicated and may or may not be a good choice to offer to the user, depending on that user’s skill level.
- DisplayApplications, DisplayChores, DisplayControlCubes, DisplayCubes, DisplayDimensions, DisplayProcesses: These parameters (set to True or False) indicate whether TM1 Perspectives will display application folders, chores, cubes, dimensions, or processes to the user. At this point in my career I have never seen these parameters set to values other than their default values.
- DisplayExplorerPropertiesWindow: This is again a True or False parameter that indicates whether the Properties pane is visible in Server Explorer on startup. The Properties pane can be helpful to some users, but there is a slight performance impact with it “turned on” and visible. You may want to set this default to False. The Properties pane can be made visible later in TM1 Server Explorer by clicking on View and then selecting Properties Window.
- DisplayReplications: This True/False parameter should be set to False for most users. This parameter indicates whether the Replications group is visible in Server Explorer at startup.
TM1 Architect is a standalone TM1 Client application (meaning that it does not plug in to Microsoft Excel) and is used to create and maintain data and metadata on both local and remote TM1 servers.
Usually, you will see a separate menu item on your computer’s desktop for accessing TM1 Architect directly as shown in the following screenshot:
This is a tool that will be used by a TM1 user who is granted at least minimal “administrator” privileges (that is, a developer or programmer type).
It is best to use Architect when focusing on Turbo integrator scripting or possibly checking security assignments because it allows access to these features of TM1 without having to load Microsoft Excel.
You can actually have both TM1 Perspectives and TM1 Architect open and running at the same time on your machine, accessing the same or different TM1 Servers.
Again, TM1 Architect does not hook into Microsoft Excel and cannot be used directly to create and maintain TM1 enabled Excel worksheets.
Along with TM1 Architect, an application programming interface (API) is installed during a default installation. This interface may be used by more experienced developers to create C++ and VB applications that interact with TM1.
The API is not covered in the exam.
During the installation, JAVA and .NET API are also installed.