6 min read

 

Introduction

First, the visual model is compiled to a SWF file format. Compiling to a SWF file format ensures that the dashboard plays smoothly on different screen sizes and across different platforms. It also ensures that the users aren’t given huge 10+ megabyte files.

After compilation of the visual model to a SWF file, developers can then publish it to a format of their choice. The following are the available choices—Flash (SWF), AIR, SAP BusinessObjects Platform, HTML, PDF, PPT, Outlook, and Word.

Once publishing is complete, the dashboard is ready to share!

Exporting to a standard SWF, PPT, PDF, and so on

After developing a Visual Model on Dashboard Design, we will need to somehow share it with users. We want to put it into a format that everyone can see on their machines. The simplest way is to export to a standard SWF file.

One of the great features Dashboard Design has is to be able to embed dashboards into different office file formats. For example, a presenter could have a PowerPoint deck, and in the middle of the presentation, have a working dashboard that presents an important set of data values to the audience. Another example could be an executive level user who is viewing a Word document created by an analyst. The analyst could create a written document in Word and then embed a working dashboard with the most updated data to present important data values to the executive level user.

You can choose to embed a dashboard in the following file types:

  • PowerPoint
  • Word
  • PDF
  • Outlook
  • HTML

Getting ready

Make sure your visual model is complete and ready for sharing.

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

How to do it…

  1. In the menu toolbar, go to File | Export | Flash (SWF).

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  2. Select the directory in which you want the SWF to go to and the name of your SWF file

How it works…

Xcelsius compiles the visual model into an SWF file that everyone is able to see. Once the SWF file has been compiled, the dashboard will then be ready for sharing. It is mandatory that anyone viewing the dashboard have Adobe Flash installed. If not, they can download and install it from http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/.

If we export to PPT, we can then edit the PowerPoint file however we desire. If you have an existing PowerPoint presentation deck and want to append the dashboard to it, the easiest way is to first embed the dashboard SWF to a temporary PowerPoint file and then copy that slide to your existing PowerPoint file.

There’s more…

Exporting to an SWF file makes it very easy for distribution, thus making the presentation of mockups great at a business level. Developers are able to work very closely with the business and iteratively come up with a visual model closest to the business goals. It is important though, when distributing SWF files, that everyone viewing the dashboards has the same version, otherwise confusion may occur. Thus, as a best practice, versioning every SWF that is distributed is very important.

It is important to note that when the much anticipated Adobe Flash 10.1 was released, there were problems with embedding Dashboard Design dashboards in DOC, PPT, PDF, and so on. However, with the 10.1.82.76 Adobe Flash Player update, this has been fixed. Thus, it is important that if users have Adobe Flash Player 10.1+ installed, the version is higher than or equal to 10.1.82.76.

When exporting to PDF, please take the following into account: In Dashboard Design 2008, the default format for exporting to PDF is Acrobat 9.0 (PDF 1.8). If Acrobat Reader 8.0 is installed, the default exported PDF cannot be opened. If using Acrobat Reader 8.0 or older, change the format to “Acrobat 6.0 (PDF 1.5)” before exporting to PDF.

Exporting to SAP Business Objects Enterprise

After Dashboard Design became a part of BusinessObjects, it was important to be able to export dashboards into the BusinessObjects Enterprise system. Once a dashboard is exported to BusinessObjects Enterprise, users can then easily access their dashboards through InfoView (now BI launch pad). On top of that, administrators are able control dashboard security.

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

Getting ready

Make sure your visual model is complete and ready for sharing.

How to do it…

  1. From the menu toolbar, go to File | Export | Export to SAP BusinessObjects Platform.

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  2. Enter your BusinessObjects login credentials and then select the location in the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise system, where you want to store the SWF file, as shown in the following screenshot:

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  3. Log into BI launch pad (formerly known as InfoView) and verify that you can access the dashboard.

    (Move the mouse over the image to enlarge.)

How it works…

When we export a dashboard to SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise, we basically place it in the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise content management system. From there, we can control accessibility to the dashboard and make sure that we have one source of truth instead of sending out multiple dashboards through e-mail and possibly getting mixed up with what is the latest version. When we log into BI launch pad (formerly known as Infoview), it also passes the login token to the dashboard, so we don’t have to enter our credentials again when connecting to SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise data. This is important because we don’t have to manually create and pass any additional tokens once we have logged in.

There’s more…

To give a true website type feel, developers can house their dashboards in a website type format using Dashboard Builder. This in turn provides a better experience for users, as they don’t have to navigate through many folders in order to access the dashboard that they are looking for.

Publishing to SAP BW

This recipe shows you how to publish Dashboard Design dashboards to a SAP BW system. Once a dashboard is saved to the SAP BW system, it can be published within a SAP Enterprise Portal iView and made available for the users.

Getting ready

For this recipe, you will need an Dashboard Design dashboard model. This dashboard does not necessarily have to include a data connection to SAP BW.

How to do it…

  1. Select Publish in the SAP menu. If you want to save the Xcelsius model with a different name, select the Publish As… option.

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  2. If you are not yet connected to the SAP BW system, a pop up will appear. Select the appropriate system and fill in your username and password in the dialog box.

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  3. If you want to disconnect from the SAP BW system and connect to a different system, select the Disconnect option from the SAP menu.
  4. Enter the Description and Technical Name of the dashboard. Select the location you want to save the dashboard to and click on Save. The dashboard is now published to the SAP BW system.

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

  5. To launch the dashboard and view it from the SAP BW environment, select the Launch option from the SAP menu. You will be asked to log in to the SAP BW system before you are able to view the dashboard.

    SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

How it works…

As we have seen in this recipe, the publishing of an Dashboard Design dashboard to SAP BW is quite straightforward. As the dashboard is part of the SAP BW environment after publishing, the model can be transported between SAP BW systems like all other SAP BW objects.

There is more…

After launching step 5, the Dashboard Design dashboard will load in your browser from the SAP BW server. You can add the displayed URL to an SAP Enterprise Portal iView to make the dashboard accessible for portal users.

 


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