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In this article, we compare the features of Web Intelligence (WebI) and Desktop Intelligence (DeskI) in order to help users convert documents from DeskI to WebI. In general, most of the functions in DeskI have been covered by WebI in the new release of BI4.0 and can be converted. However, there are some functions that require workarounds in WebI. The first section shows a basic overview of all the features for DeskI and WebI. The proceeding sections explain the changes in more detail. 

Comprehensive feature comparison between Desktop Intelligence and Web Intelligence

(tick) the feature exists or can have a different workflow
(warning) the feature exists partially, has a different workflow or have workarounds
(error) the feature does not exist

Features that cannot be converted

DeskI

Webi 3.1

WebI 4.0

#OLAP data provider

(warning)

(tick)

(tick)

#XML as data provider

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Visual Basic Data Provider

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Freehand-SQL

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Filter with a Calculation operand

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#User defined objects

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Save option with protection password

(tick)

(error)

(error)

Features that are partially converted

 

 

 

#Automatic refresh setting

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Scope of analysis with filter on a measure

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Context operator

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Variance and Variance percentage calculation

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Complex Filter using condition in a formula

(tick)

(error) (warning)

(error) (warning)

#Block and global filter

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Filter applied on a measure in a block

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

Same-level Break on multiple dimensions

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Break on an object not in the block

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

Value-based break

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#DeskI functions

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Sort on an object not in the block

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Dual axes line chart

(tick)

(warning)

(tick)

#Multiple groups chart

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Automate & Extend functionality via VBA macros

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Across Edge Display settings in crosstabs

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Page break header/footer

(tick)

(error)

(error)

Features that are fully converted but with changes

 

 

 

#Fold/unfold

(tick)

(warning)

(tick)

#Sort on query

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Retrieve the top N rows

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Option of "Delete trailing blanks"

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Option of "Do not retrieve data"

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Option of "Do not generate SQL before running"

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Filter on a formula

(tick)

(error) (warning)

(error) (warning)

#Windows OLE objects

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Picture format

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Dynamic Picture or OLE object

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Page setup options

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Date format

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Cell shading

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Variable description

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#User defined grouping of values in a variable

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Series color in Charts

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Stored Procedure as data provider

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

Multi-column table

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Relative position by setting negative number

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Center across page

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Conditional hide section, table/chart, cell, dimension

(tick)

(warning)

(tick)

Comparison of usability features

 

 

 

#Data manager

(tick)

(error)

(tick)

#Switch Universe

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Formula Editor usability

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Invoke List of Value(LOV) in Formula editor

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Personal List of Values

(tick)

(error)

(warning)

User-defined hierarchies

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Predefined custom sort by days of week, month

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Adding subtotal and percentage of total on the Rank definition panel

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Scale to page when printing

(tick)

(error)

(tick)

#Search in document

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Split window pane to freeze headers

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Templates

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Structure view

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Universe refresh

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Image scaling over the web

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Duplicate variables

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#View overall report structure map

(warning)

(tick)

(tick)

#Prompt Order

(warning)

(tick)

(tick)

#User experience for prompts

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Change object qualification for personal data

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Synchronized Data Providers

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Copy/paste tables as text into Office document

(error)

(warning)

(tick)

#Save report to my computer as HTML

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Save report to my computer as CSV (data)

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Save report to my computer as TXT

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Save report to my computer as RTF

(tick)

(error)

(warning)

#Publishing delivery rules

(tick)

(error)

(error)

#Publishing Method

(tick)

(warning)

(warning)

#Send by email in Excel, PDF, csv format

(tick)

(tick)

(tick)

#Schedule to Printer

(tick)

(error) (warning)

(error) (warning)

#Export to XML

(tick)

(error) (warning)

(error) (warning)

New features in WebI

 

 

 

Features that have no workarounds in DeskI

 

 

 

#Create custom formula functions

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Optional Prompts

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Merge cells

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Ranking in Queries (aka database ranking)

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Show/hide table when empty

(error)

(warning)

(tick)

#Support for Measure aggregation delegated to Database

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Define relative/absolute positioning to single cells

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Ranking cumulative sum

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Table setting for alternative row colors

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

#Alerter on multiple conditions

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Features which there is no workaround in DeskI

 

 

 

Dynamic Filters (Input Controls)

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Query Stripping

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Track Data Change

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Server Side Ranking as a Query Filter

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Improved Prompting

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Format Painter

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Drill over the Web

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Advanced Charting capabilities (CVOM)

(error)

(error)

(tick)

Hierarchical Navigation (Dimensional SL)

(error)

(error)

(tick)

Enhanced Copy / Paste

(error)

(error)

(tick)

WebI new Data sources

 

 

 

Support for SAP data sources

(error)

(tick)

(tick)

Support for Dimensional UNX

(error)

(error)

(tick)

Support for Multi-Source UNX

(error)

(error)

(tick)

BICS Connectivity for BEx Queries

(error)

(error)

(tick)

Analysis Views (Interoperability with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis)

(error)

(error)

(tick)

1. Features that cannot be converted

Not all the DeskI documents can be converted with the Report Conversion Tool(RCT). The level of conversion depends on the features that are used in the original report. Desktop Intelligence features that are not (yet) available in Web Intelligence are not converted. In these section, we will list the types of DeskI features can not converted, and describe the workaround in WebI on how to accomplish the functionality in different way.

OLAP data provider

DeskI

DeskI used to support several types of OLAP data provider.

WebI

In WebI, users may create documents against OLAP provider using OLAP universes. Especially in 4.0 release, you may create reports on top of dimensional semantic layer, which is very powerful to leverage OLAP functionalities. The DeskI documents based on OLAP data provider cannot be converted, and you need to create a UNX universe and then create documents based on the universe.

XML as data provider

DeskIIn DeskI, XML can be data provider directly.
WebIDeskI document based on XML could not be converted with RCT. 
In WebI, you may use the universe which is made against XML via third party Database drivers, you may refer to the following articles: 
1. Querying XML data through a Universe  https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/11419  
2. Querying XML data with Oracle through the semantic layer https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/11424  
3. Consume Web services, Query XML files & columns with IBM DB2 https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/11428  

Another option is to use the Custom Data Provider Plug-in which provides a framework to develop your own data provider, therefore allows you to consume potentially any data provider into Web Intelligence. The Developer Guide posted at http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP2/en/xi31_sp2_cdp_dev_en.pdf  goes in more details.

Visual Basic Data Provider

DeskIIn DeskI, you can create report on Visual Basic data provider directly.
WebIDeskI documents based on Visual Basic Data Provider could not be converted. Anyway, you can use the Custom Data Provider Plug-in which provides a framework to develop your own data provider, therefore allows you to consume potentially any data provider into Web Intelligence. The Developer Guide posted at http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP2/en/xi31_sp2_cdp_dev_en.pdf  goes in more details. Essentially this should allow Visual Basic Data Providers developed for Deski to be re-used in Webi.

Freehand-SQL

DeskIIn DeskI, Freehand-SQL(FHSQL) can be used directly as data source.
WebIDeskI documents based on Freehand-SQL can not be converted, and you need to created them manually in WebI. 
In WebI, there are two approaches, one is to create derived table with FHSQL at the universe level, the other is to overwrite the SQL when designing the WebI query. For the second approach, you may create a dummy universe with sufficient dummy objects in each data type(Char, Date, Number, etc), when designing the document, first drag the objects into Result pane, then modify the SQL and change it to the FHSQL which you desire to use.

Filter with a Calculation operand

DeskI

In DeskI, you can define calculation in the query panel. For example, below is a query generated when the calculation operand is used:

 

Select col1,col2,col3
from table1
group by col1,col2
having ( sum(col3) > all
select sum(col3)
from table1
group by col4
)
WebI

This type of DeskI document is not converted. WebI doesn't have this shortcut, but can make it through query-on-query. 
For example, to accomplish the above report, you need to create two queries. Query 1 is:

 

select col4,sum(col3)
from table1
group by col4;

 

Query 2 is:

 

Select col1,col2,col3
from table1
group by col1,col2
having sum(col3) > @dapvalue('N', DP0.D093, MAX)

 

That is to find the MAX value from the first query, and use it to create a filter in the second query.

User defined objects

DeskIIn DeskI, the use case is for power users to effectively add variables to universe objects (reusable variables across reports). With the feature, you may alter the way to use objects brought from the universe, e.g.: add text string to output from database, change universe definition from Dimension to Measure or Detail.
WebIDocument with User defined objects can not be converted. You may create same objects in the underlying universe, and replace the user objects in DeskI, then do the conversion. 
To accomplish similar functionalities, in WebI: 
1. you can create variables for a given dimension that change its qualification to dimmension, detail, measure 
2. you can filter on source data with variables. 
3. you can also simply copy paste formula for a variable from one document to another.

Save option with protection password

DeskIIn DeskI, you can set protection password and write reservation password in the save option panel.
WebIWebI does't support this kind of protection, instead, the protection of WebI is based on the authentication with CMS. The DeskI documents with protection password or write reservation password would fail to be converted. You may manually remove the password from the document prior to the conversion.
 Besides, when a DeskI document contains variable that references another variable that cannot be converted, then the ducument cannot be converted. You need to manually modify the variable accordingly prior to the conversion.

 

 

2. Features that are partially converted

The same task can be accomplished in different ways in DeskI and WebI. In this section, we give a list of these features and how they work in both DeskI and WebI.

Automatic refresh setting

DeskIDeskI documents can have the Automatic refresh setting at the document level.
WebIWebI relies on the BI Launch Pad(Infoview) to schedule the refresh, during conversion, the refresh setting is removed. After conversion, you can schedule the refresh on the BI Launch Pad.

Scope of analysis with filter on a measure

DeskI

In DeskI, when the query contains both "scope of analysis" and "aggregate filter", the dimension of analysis scope participates in the Having filter, see below example:

 

SELECT
sum(TEST2.CODE),
TEST2.CODE,
TEST2.NUMBER,
TEST2.PRICE
FROM
TEST2
GROUP BY
TEST2.CODE,
TEST2.NUMBER,
TEST2.PRICE
HAVING
( sum(TEST2.CODE) > 0 )
WebI

WebI generates the query in a different way:

 

SELECT
sum(TEST2.CODE),
TEST2.CODE,
TEST2.NUMBER,
TEST2.PRICE
FROM
TEST2
WHERE
CHAR(TEST2.CODE) ||' '|| CHAR(TEST2.NUMBER) In
(
SELECT
CHAR(TEST2.CODE) ||' '|| CHAR(TEST2.NUMBER)
FROM
TEST2
GROUP BY
CHAR(TEST2.CODE) ||' '|| CHAR(TEST2.NUMBER)
HAVING sum(TEST2.CODE) > 0
)
GROUP BY
TEST2.CODE,
TEST2.NUMBER,
TEST2.PRICE

 

When converting the document with Report conversion tool, the query is changed to WebI's way. The query from WebI is actually based on most use cases, since the query in DeskI somehow doesn't return data which is desired for users.

Context operator

DeskIIn DeskI, you may leverage context operators in a formula such as Where, In
WebIThe document is partially converted, and the variables contains context operator are deleted during conversion. Anyway in WebI, most of the context operators are available, and users can re-create these variables, except the operator "In Currentpage". Besides, in WebI the "Where" clause can support more operators such as Inlist, > and <.

Variance and Variance percentage calculation

DeskIIn DeskI, this is a shortcut to calculates the difference between two selected values.
WebIDocuments contain the calculation can be partially converted. During conversion, the calculation is removed. In WebI, instead of using the crosstab, choose vertical or horizontal table, leave one dimension as original, change the other dimension into a series of variables like [Revenue] where ([City]="City1"), [Revenue] where ([City]="City2"), create a variable like [Revenue] where ([City]="City1") - [Revenue] where ([City]="City2") to calculate the Variance. Eventually the horizontal or vertical table would display what the crosstab displays with the desired Variance calculation.

Complex Filter using condition in a formula

DeskIIn DeskI, this enables formulas to define if filter applied or not. The workflow is: right-click on table, format filters, define, add a variable, define. Users can create formula like "show me all data where varA < varB" with the feature.
WebIDocuments contain the formula can be partially converted. The filter is deleted during conversion. In WebI, use variable to do the same, the workflow is: firstly create a variable like "varC = if (varA < varB) then 1 else 2", then add a filter like "varC = 1".

Block and global filter

DeskIIn DeskI, on the "Format filters" panel, you can drag and drop filters among multiple blocks or make it as global filter.
WebIDuring the conversion, complex block and global filter could be removed in some cases. Regarding the usability, in WebI, you cannot drag and drop filters among multiple blocks and globale, you need to recreate filter for different blocks manually. Another approach is to use input control, which provides flexibility to choose the range of filter.

Filter applied on a measure in a block

DeskIDeskI can filter a measure in a block.
WebI

During conversion the filter is removed. You may add the filter after conversion, or use input control to apply the filter in a different way.

Same-level Break on multiple dimensions

DeskI

In DeskI, when defining a break, you can apply breaks of multiple columns within one single level.

WebI

During conversion, the setting is removed. In WebI, this can be done by using formatting options. For examples, you can firstly add two breaks, in the "Manage breaks" window, enable the break header and foot for one break, disable them for the other.

Break on an object not in the block

DeskI

In DeskI, you can break a block on a column which is not part of the block.

WebI

The break is removed during the conversion. In WebI, a workaround is to create a section with the column which is not part of the block, then remove the section label.

Value-based break

DeskI

In DeskI, when defining the break, you can choose break values among the list of value of the break dimension. For example, when the dimension <City> contains values of DC, Boston and Seattle, you can make a break only on the value "DC", and make other values not affected by the break.

WebI

The break is removed during the conversion. In WebI, same views can be accomplished in a different way through formula functions. For example, create a variable as: =If ([City]="DC") Then "DC" Else "Other cities", then set section on the variable, and remove the section label to make the variable invisible.

DeskI functions

DeskI

DeskI has functions which are not corresponding to functions in WebI, including: ApplicationValue, BlockNumber, CurrentPage, GetProfileNumber, GetProfileString, Hyperlink, OLAPQueryDescription, PageInSection.

WebI

Duing conversion, these functions are replaced with RepFormula("original_syntax"). Besides, the function CountAll is changed to WebI syntex as Count([object_name]; IncludeEmpty; All); and the function "MultiCube" is renamed to "ForceMerge".

Sort on an object not in the block

DeskI

In DeskI, to sort a block on a column which is not part of the block, you need to add dimension which is not part of the block as a break, in the break definition, disable the break header and footer, then the invisible break behaves like a sort in the table.

WebI

The sort is removed during the conversion. On 4.0 release, you can add the extra column to the table, do the sorting, then hide the column.

Dual axes line chart

DeskI

In DeskI, you may have Dual Y-axes line charts, which display units for different measures, which is done by enabling the Secondary (Y) Axis in the "Axes and Gridlines" window.

WebI

During conversion only the first axe is kept. On XI3.1, you have to create separate chart. On 4.0 WebI addresses few remaining charting deltas compared to Deski including dual axes line chart, and introduces many new chart types which are not found in DeskI.

Multiple groups chart

DeskI

DeskI can have multiple groups on a single chart. In the Chart Format window, you can add additional groups, each group can have different chart type.

WebI

After conversion, only the first group appears as WebI doesn't support multiple groups on a single chart.

Automate & Extend functionality via VBA macros

DeskI

In DeskI, VBA can be used for windows applications, not web-based applications.

WebIDuring conversion the VBA macros are deleted.
VBA Macros were mostly used to perform publishing workflows that are now handled "out-of-the-box" by the platform
(http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP3/en/xi31_sp3_publisher_en.pdf)

Besides, there are many customization possibilities in WebIntelligence. You can create your own function in order to use it in the Formula language seamlessly using Calculation Extension Points. You can customize how you want WebIntelligence reports to behave using the ReportEngine SDK. You can customize the WebIntelligence Report viewer using the Extension Points. You can create your own custom data provider using the Custom Data Source Framework. For all the use cases, below is the list of solutions and corresponding document links:
1. Creation of external function (custom functions visible in the WebIntelligence Formula language) http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP2/en/xi31_sp2_webi_calc_ext_en.pdf
2. Customization of WebIntelligence Reports processing (document processing, prompts, drill, report elements etc...) using the ReportEngine SDK (JAVA and .NET)
. Sample Code http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/samples?rid=/webcontent/uuid/30e2b6d2-2784-2b10-59b6-95b2d8c50a02
. REBEAN Object Model: http://help.sap.com/javadocs/boe/xi/re/en/index.html
3. Customization of WebIntelligence Reports interface using Extension Points (DHTML, Java Report Panel, WRC)
RIG Podcast and Blogs: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/18429, http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/20858, http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/17696 
4. Creation of custom Data Providers: WebIntelligence Custom Data Source (CDS) Framework is a plug-in framework that facilitates creation of a data provider on custom data sources that could be consumed by Web Intelligence Rich Client.
. Documentation : http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP2/en/xi31_sp2_cdp_dev_en.pdf

Across Edge Display settings in crosstabs

DeskI

In DeskI, you can configure the Fold and Show header/footer setting of Across Edge Display in crosstabs.

WebI

During conversion, the setting is removed.

Page break header/footer

DeskI

In DeskI, you can define the Page break header/footer.

WebI

During conversion, the setting is removed.

 

With Report Conversion Tool(RCT), besides the partially converted documents, you may also have partially published documents. Partially published documents happen when the RCT can not find the associated universe during the conversion. The partially published documents can still be opened and viewed, but they are not refreshable.

3. Features that are fully converted but with changes

Some changes may appear when the document is converted because of WebI accomplishing the same functionality in a different way compared to DeskI. In this section, we will list all changes which might exist on the converted documents.

Fold/unfold

DeskI

In DeskI, you may fold/unfold tables, sections and breaks.

WebI

In WebI, to fold/unfold vertically is delivered starting from XI3.1 SP2. After conversion, all the report elements are unfolded.
In BI4.0, the feature has been enhanced to fold horizontally as well as vertically on Sections, Table and Breaks.
Furthermore, you can fold/unfold over the web which is not possible in DeskI.

Sort on query

DeskI

In DeskI, you can apply sort at the query level.

WebI

WebI doesn't apply sort at the query level, during the conversion the sort on query is removed. Anyway, you can apply the sort at the report level.

Retrieve the top N rows

DeskI

In deski, you can apply sort when designing the query, and also set the count of rows to retrieve partial results at the query option panel. With combining these two features, you can retrieve top N rows for a dimension.

WebI

In WebI, you can choose count of rows to retrieve, but can not apply sort at the query level, so you can not do the retrieve top N directly. Anyway, you can leverage Rank ability instead. During conversion, the sort is lost, you need to apply sort at the report level.

Option of "Delete trailing blanks"

DeskI

DeskI users rely on this on the query panel for enabling synchronization.

WebI

The option is lost during conversion. For WebI, this should be done at the universe level, but for local sources, you have to edit cells containing trailing blanks. On 4.0 release, you can do "merge on variable" which will enable deleting the leading/trailing blanks then merging in the report.

Option of "Do not retrieve data"

DeskI

In DeskI, this helps you to build the report structure without retrieving the data.

WebI

The option is lost during conversion. In WebI, you can accomplish the behavior in a different approach. Beside the "Close" button on the Edit query panel, there is an arrow, click on the arrow, you will find two options: one is "Apply changes and close", the other is "Revert changes and close". If you choose the first one, you go to the edit report mode, and you can build the report structure without retrieving the data.
Besides, on 4.0 release, you can also build report firstly then mapping cells with objects from data provider.

Option of "Do not generate SQL before running"

DeskI

This is a setting in DeskI when defining the query.

WebI

The setting is removed during conversion. In WebI, there is a option: "Use custom SQL", which also prevents the edited SQL from being overwritten.

Filter on a formula

DeskI

In DeskI, you can apply Filter on a formula.

WebI

In WebI, you can create a variable and apply the filter on the variable, during comversion, a variable is created and the filter is applied to the variable automatically.

Windows OLE objects

DeskI

DeskI can contain Windows OLE objects.

WebI

WebI doesn't support it, during conversion, the OLE objects are changed into GIF format.

Picture format

DeskI

In DeskI, the embeded picture is stored in TIFF format.

WebI

During conversion, the static picture is converted to GIF format.

Dynamic Picture or OLE object

DeskI

DeskI supports dynamic Picture or OLE object, for example, path computed at runtime or using "Read as pictures" properties.

WebI

During conversion, the dynamic picture or object is deleted.

Page setup options

DeskI

In DeskI, you may setup the page options for each document.

WebI

During conversion, original page setup options are lost and default Web Intelligence page options are applied.

Date format

DeskI

DeskI's date format is a little bit different from that of WebI.

WebI

During conversion, the date is changed to an equivalent Web Intelligence format according to the mappings.

Cell shading

DeskI

In DeskI, you can have cells shading with gray scale and pattern.

WebI

During conversion, the shading is removed. In webi you can use background images for similar effect. Any background image can be added to the cell.

Variable description

DeskI

In DeskI, you can define the description for each variable.

WebI

During conversion, the description is removed. As a workaround, you can create another variable to store the description, or put the description in a free-standing cell.

User defined grouping of values in a variable

DeskI

In DeskI, it is a handy shortcut for creating custom views, it is to create a variable with values to denote subsets of list of value of another dimension. For example, when the dimension City has list of value: New York,DC,Los Angeles,Seattle, you can create a variable with two value:"East cities"(which denotes New York and DC)and "West cities"(which denotes Los Angeles and Seattle).

WebI

During conversion the variable is changed into formulas with if-then-else statement. WebI doesn't has a shortcut for this functionality, when there are numerous values, the if-then-else approach might be complicated, especially when defining it manually, users may consider to handle the value grouping at the universe level or database level.

Series color in Charts

DeskI

In DeskI, you can define the color for data series.

WebI

During conversion, the original relationship between a series and its color is lost.

Stored Procedure as data provider

DeskI

In DeskI, you can use stored Procedure as data provider directly.

WebI

For WebI, you need to create universe based on stored Procedure, then create create report on top of the universe. Actually, creating universe on Stored Procedure which is much preferred by IT and Administrator people. During conversion, a DeskI document based on stored procedure is converted into two parts, one is a universe based on the stored procedure, the other is a WebI document based on the new generated universe.

Multi-column table

DeskI

In DeskI, like the feature of multiple column in Microsoft Word, you can display a narrow table in multiple columns within one page. (Workflow: Right-Click on a table > Table Format > General > Columns

WebI

In WebI, there is not direct feature, a possible workaround is with index number and filters, as long as the amount of data is not fluctuating too much. For example, when creating two columns within each page, first, duplicate the table, make the first table display rows with odd row index number, make the second table display rows with even row index number.

Relative position by setting negative number

DeskI

In DeskI, you can set position of tables/charts related to other tables, charts by setting negative numbers. And it enables a bit more flexibility for some report layout tasks.

WebI

In WebI, negative number on relative position is not allowed, but you can use the other table/chart as reference to set positive numbers relative position.

Center across page

DeskI

In DeskI, you can enables cells, tables, charts to be centered relative to page edges.

WebI

In WebI, you need to manually set it.

Conditional hide section, table/chart, cell, dimension

DeskI

In DeskI, this enables hiding content based on thresholds.

WebI

In WebI, on XI3.1, there is workaround that columns can be hidden by using Alerters, when condition true (set always true) then apply formula to swap object in that same column. BI 4.0 release provides the conditional hiding functionality.

 

 

4. Comparison of usability features

This section compares the different usability features of DeskI and WebI. The usability features affect the ways of report authoring and consuming but they do not affect the conversion.

Data manager

DeskI

In DeskI, the feature data manager provides the following functions:
1. Display all queries and data providers;
2. Display the summary of each query, including date/time of last refresh, number of rows, duration;
3. Display query results;
4. Set schedule for automatic query refresh;
5. Export data to CSV, XML file.

WebIFor WebI, Data manager feature is delivered in 4.0. Furthermore, the query summary that can be even displayed and printed in a report. For scheduling refresh, WebI makes it through Inforview.

Switch Universe

DeskI

When multiple data providers share the same universe, the universe is factorized and referenced only once in the document. Hence changing the universe of one Data Provider to another changes it for all Data Providers (given it was factorized).

WebI

In WebI, you need to switch universes one by one on each Data Provider.

Formula Editor usability

DeskI

In DeskI, the formula editor is context-sensitive, operators change according to the variables picked, which may help to guide formula creation.

WebI

WebI is more static. Anyway, WebI users benefit from auto-complete the object/function based on first few characters for much faster creation, lowers likelihood of misspellings, also the help box doesn't let you launch help on operators (e.g. where clause). DeskI has the usability edge for formula creating, but both have certain advantages depending on the workflow and the ways functions are used.

Invoke List of Value(LOV) in Formula editor

DeskI

In DeskI, it is a usability feature for adding items to "in list" operator.

WebI

In WebI, type in manually, or simply capture LOV as copy paste from report output to formula dialog.

Personal List of Values

DeskI

Personal List of Values(LOVs) are created in the universe, but can also be done from within a Deski report.
1.To define the personal list of value, the workflow is: on the Menu, click Tools > Universes > Lists of Values > select an object > select either corporate data or personal data > Edit.
2.In DeskI, you can view multiple columns LOVs as a hierarchy. The workflow is: Edit LOV query in the universe or from Tools > Universes > Lists of Values to have more than one object in the LOV query. When you then view the LOV, you will see the top level folder like Year, then you can expand it to select the Month, like the way to navigate a hierarchy.
3. You can use Personal Data Provider as a list of values for a given report.

WebI

In WebI, you may edit the list of value at the universe level.
On 4.0 release:
1. WebI enable native hierarchies off OLAP sources.
2. You can have multidimensionality on relational sources as well.
3. You can use personal data provider as a list of values.
4. You can define the List of value by inputting values on the Information Design tool directly.

User-defined hierarchies

DeskI

In DeskI, you may create User-defined hierarchies to override the default ones from universe.

WebI

For WebI, the hierarchies(aka. navigation path in 4.0 release) are defined centrally in universe, then the business users who consume the universes don't have to understand data structure on the database layer. Anyway, you can always simply drag in relevant details instead of drill, or build formulas to display hierarchies in different ways. Alternatively, in 4.0 WebI will support true hierarchies defined in OLAP data source.

Predefined custom sort by days of week, month

DeskI

In DeskI, this is shortcut for arranging common time dimensions (days, months)

WebI

WebI can do manually with up/down "arrows".

Adding subtotal and percentage of total on the Rank definition panel

DeskI

In DeskI, it is a shortcut for adding subtotal and percentage of totalcontent to table on the Rank definition panel.

WebI

In webi, you have to define formula.

Scale to page when printing

DeskI

In DeskI, this helps users to print content onto one page

WebI

In WebI there is no workaround on XI3.l. The feature is available on BI 4.0 release.

Search in document

DeskI

DeskI can find: specific values in large document

WebI

WebI can find: specific values in the same page and display the total occurances. To search in the whole document, use "page content" in quick display mode to display up to 1000 rows per virtual page then users can search for keywords. And administrator can increase the default max rows per "virtual page" allowable to enables less page scrolling.

Split window pane to freeze headers

DeskI

In DeskI, the feature is useful for navigating very large tables

WebI

WebI doesn't suport it. In WebI 3.1 SP2 and greater, you may apply a workaround to make the table header displayed when browsing a large table, that is to use input control to scroll by row index number.

Templates

DeskI

In deskI, templates enable Query results to be poured into formatted reports.

WebI

In WebI, you can define default style for corporate graphical charter.

Use default config file to define report's look and feel, which is to edit  WebiDefaultStyleSheet.css
- It is Stored on server for global modification
- It uses standard Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) format

For New Documents
The file affects the following format:
Backgrounds, fonts color, sizes,
margins, spacing, color
table headers/footers, cells, cell content
page headers/footers,
Sections titles

For existing documents :
You may perform manual conversion using « Clear Format » command

Besides, WebI provides the usability of Format Painter which enable users to copy the format from one object to another.

Structure view

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to go to multiple places (Slice and Dice panel shows sorts, breaks,filters)

WebI

In WebI, structure view indicates if blocks have filters/sorts/breaks & positioning and enables sizing sections. It is time-saving features for full time authors.

Universe refresh

DeskI

You may refresh universe in DeskI, this requires the end-user to know that the universe should be refreshed.

WebI

WebI doesn't support it since universe authors typically refresh the universe themselves.

Image scaling over the web

DeskI

Deski supports image scaling.

WebI

WebI Rich client supports it, but web-based Webi doesn't enable it due to an issue with HTML to handle images over the web.

Duplicate variables

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to create them from scratch.

WebI

In WebI, it is shortcut for reusing complicated variables if you only need to change a small part.

View overall report structure map

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to view structure report by report, not all-in-one presentation of report elements.

WebI

In WebI, may view overall report structure map for ease of maintenance (view structure, calculations/variables, filters). It's dHTML only for now.

Prompt Order

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to delete and recreate in order to change the prompt order.

WebI

In WebI, you can change the order of prompts.

User experience for prompts

DeskI

DeskI does enable keyboard entry, no search for DeskI Prompt List of values, must select from list.

WebI

WebI enables: Cleaner graphical user experience for prompts, search in List of Values (+match case option), type unique value option instead of search long list.

Change object qualification for personal data

DeskI

In Deski, you have to alter incoming excel to redefine the number type in Excel

WebI

In WebI, you can change object qualification for personal data. This is necessary for enabling synchronization displays.

Synchronized Data Providers

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to click and scroll for each object to see if another object might be synchronized with it.

WebI

In WebI, to define Synchronized Data Providers, you can view all in one window, view synchronized values, add new object to synchronization list, etc. This is a superior user experience for managing complex synchronization within a document.

Copy/paste tables as text into Office document

DeskI

In Deski, you have to save entire report as Excel to be able to reuse a specific table.

WebI

In WebI, you can copy/paste tables as text into Office document, or drag and drop either table or chart into Office. It is common task for business users to pull out parts of a report as needed to put into Office applications.

Cut/Copy/Paste of Tables and Charts has been improved in BI4.0.
For power users looking to reuse existing contents to create another analysis or another report: Copy Paste 1 table or 1 Chart to another document: uses mechanism of Shared Objects.
For business users looking to share and comment content from WebI reports: Copy Paste 1 Table or 1 Chart to external application (Office), copied block is now an HTML format element, can be modified in target application (tables only, charts are images).
The feature is available in WRC and Java Report Panel for BI4.0.

Save report to my computer as HTML

DeskI

In DeskI, you can save the document as HTML format.

WebI

Webi is by default over the web, so saving content specifically to HTML is not requested. WebI can save in csv format which addresses the vast majority of workflows. In 4.0, WebI will enable copy/paste between WebI and Office with formatting.

Save report to my computer as CSV (data)

DeskI

DeskI can not save report data to CSV, but can save data from each Data Provider to CSV file from Data manager.

WebI

WebI can save data from each Data provider, moreover WebI can save as csv from report side that will save all Data Providers in a report into one csv file.

Save report to my computer as TXT

DeskI

In DeskI, you can save report to my computer as TXT

WebI

Webi can save as csv which addresses vast majority of workflows. Then CSV can be overwritten to replace comma with a different delimiter.

Save report to my computer as RTF

DeskI

In DeskI, you can save report to my computer as RTF, and keep formatting of table and values.

WebI

Webi can save as csv, or save as Excel to keep the formatting. These address vast majority of workflows. In 4.0, WebI will enable copy/paste between WebI and Office with formatting.

Publishing delivery rules

DeskI

Delivery rules affect how documents in publications are processed and distributed. When you set delivery rules on documents, you indicate that the publication will be delivered to recipients only if the content in the documents meets certain conditions. For DeskI documents, you can specify a formula expression. You can also set a delivery rule based on whether the personalized publication contains any data.

WebI

WebI doesn't support the publishing delivery rule. Anyway the Crystal report is an option if you need the functionality.

Publishing Method

DeskI

During Publishing, the data in documents is refreshed against data sources and personalized before the publication is delivered to recipients. This combined process is known as "report bursting". DeskI has the option of "One database fetch for each batch of recipients", this report bursting method uses the data source log on credentials of the publisher to refresh data. The batches are based on the personalization values you specified for the recipients.

WebI

WebI publication with dynamic recipient only has two options: "One database fetch for all recipients" and "One database fetch per recipient".

Send by email in Excel, PDF, CSV format

DeskI

Deski can send .rep by email, for other format, cannot send directly from DeskI user interface.

WebI

In WebI, you can send document by email in Excel, PDF, and CSV format. This is a shortcut for rich client users.

Schedule to printer

DeskI

Deski can schedule output to a printer.

WebI

In WebI, you can schedule to PDF against an unmanaged disk and write a script to send the PDF to a printer.

Export to XML

DeskI

DeskI can export the data provider to XML format

WebI

WebI doesn't support it directly, but you can accomplish it with Extension Point.

 

5. Optimizing converted documents

Some tasks in DeskI were made easier to accomplish in WebI. This section lists the functions that were optimized in WebI.

Create custom formula functions

DeskI

In DeskI, possible via VBA but not integrated the same way and not available for all clients at once via server.

WebI

It is very well integrated within WebI, new functions appear directly as functions in formula editor.
(To know the Creation of external function, you may refer to the document in the link http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP2/en/xi31_sp2_webi_calc_ext_en.pdf)

Optional Prompts

DeskI

DeskI doesn't support optional prompt, a workaround is to select all values in prompts, which is much less performant.

WebI

In WebI, when a prompt is set as optional, when the prompt is not answered, WebI refines the query by removing the filter.

Merge cells

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to accomplish it through formatting tricks.

WebI

In WebI, it is a common formatting feature. The workflow is to right-Click on the cells you want to merge and select "Merge".

Ranking in Queries (aka database ranking)

DeskI

DeskI cannot do it within Query, you have to rank within report or use a combination of query sort and defining row limits.

WebI

In Webi, you can do it as long as the underlying Database supports it.

Show/hide table when empty

DeskI

In DeskI, you have to use manually created conditional formatting.

WebI

In BI 4.0, this feature is available out-of-the-box. In XI3.l, you have to use the Show when empty check box

Support for Measure aggregation delegated to Database

DeskI

In Deski, you have to retrieve grouping sets from different levels of hierarchy, then synchronize on common dimension. Otherwise, it leads to DeskI not handling some kinds of aggregation such as ratios very well and generating wrong results.

WebI

WebI supports the feature known as smart measures.

Define relative/absolute positioning to single cells

DeskI

DeskI doesn't support this, you can fake this by using tables as single cells and getting rid of the body cells to keep just the header.

WebI

In WebI, you can do it, it is needed for creating sophisticated report layouts.

Ranking cumulative sum

DeskI

In DeskI, you need use formula to rank cumulative sum.

WebI

In WebI, you have direct support for this common analysis view.

Table setting for alternative row colors

DeskI

In Deski, you have to use alerters to conditionally format the rows to accomplish this.

WebI

In WebI, It is default setting for ease of reading.

Alerter on multiple conditions

DeskI

In DeskI, an alerter can only contain one object, if you want to create an alerter like: <Revenue> < 5000) and (<Expenses> > 500, you have to use an extra variable, the steps are:
First create the variable to express the condition:
<Variable1> = (<Revenue> < 5000) and (<Expenses> > 500)
Second add an alerter with the condition:
<Variable1> = 1

WebI

In WebI, an alerter can contain conditions on multiple objects, so no additional local variable is required. After the document is converted into WebI, you may modify it and optimize the alerter accordingly.

 

Besides, WebI provides many new features which there is no way to accomplish in DeskI, including Input control, track data change, drill over the web, database sampling, publish as Web services, etc. They greatly change the ways of report authoring and consuming. For example, you used to create multiple reports in DeskI to analyze different scenarios, with the input control in WebI, you only need to create a single report which enables users to drive their "personalized" content views.

In summary, most of DeskI documents can be converted to WebI. For the DeskI features which there are not equivalent ones in WebI, you can refer to the article to apply workarounds to accomplish the functionality in different way. And you can optimize the converted documents with the powerful features which WebI provides exclusively.

  1. I don't understand the last part , Deski not supporting operator OR

    Select Column1, Column2, Column3
    From Table1
    Where Column1='A'
    OR Column2='B';

    if I'm not wrong Deski does support that operator.

  2. Thanks PadawanGirl, your are right. I just deleted this part accordingly.

  3. Hi Hansen,

    Nice table.   However, I'm  confused by row 1 : OLAP data provider   ...  DeskI doesn't have this feature

    the full-client Reporter hasn't had this functionality since 5.1.x

    Cheers

    H

  4. Thanks Henry,

    I checked the user guide, DeskI used to support OLAP conections in 6.5 release. But deprecated them these years.

    Cheers

    Hansen

  5. Guest

    Thanks Henry,

    It's wonderful conversion tips and tricks and thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,

    SR M.

  6. Guest

    I agree, without this functionality (save/export to html format on wibi). We can not migrate our reports DESKI. SAP must add this functionality quickly in current version XI3.1 to satisfy all uses.  Else, we continue to use DESKI even if is not supported in XI4.0

  7. Thanks Hansen,

    Intresting and Very helpful

  8. Hi Hassen,

    It's about Duplicate variables in BI4 , I checked and it doesn't exist: right click on the variable , all we have is Edit Rename Remove ,  no Duplicate as it used to exist in Webi XI3.

    Cheers,

    Fadoua

     

  9. Guest

    Certain features that were available with BO Reporter V4.x are still not included in Webi XI 4.0 (Aurora). The formula editor in webi is not intuitive as in Deski ; where in Deski the cursor shows you what parenthesis is expected next, where in the inclusion of an If then Else statement you can select values of a LOV and don’t have to type it manually (error prone), where you can define a formula in its context etc.. Those and many other relevant points that would be basic to an advanced report writer  are still not included in Webi.

    What about filling the gaps like the use of macro's (very much in use for advanced scheduling workflows) , schedule to print , publishing delivery rules?

    To conclude there are actions within a reporting workflow that are not noted down as a feature, where in certain scenarios Deski can handle those and Webi cant.. i.e. advanced formula placed in footer of folded table break, those calculations work with deski but not for webi.

  10. Would be nice if this would be upgradee taking into consideration the SAP BI BusObjects 4.0 SP4 capabilities of Webi, which does include FeaturePack 3, such as: coloring of chart lines or pie segmants etc. including line width, etc.

  11. Automatic conversion of Freehand-SQL Deski documents is supported resulting in a universe with derived tables and a Webi document, this is available via RCT since XI 3.x Please, can you update your list

  12. I asked the owners of the impacted product areas to update the article with recent information. Stay tuned.
    JC

  13. I'm using the latest version of the RCT to convert Deski from R3 SP3.  I'm having the following error: "Across options for crosstabs are not available in Web Intelligence"

    -> I don't see this in the comparison list.  Can this be added please?  Thanks.

  14. With the planned release of BI4.1 SP5 later this year, we will add Freehand SQL for WebI.. Read more in : http://scn.sap.com/community/businessobjects-web-intelligence/blog/2014/09/29/freehand-sql-fhsql-is-coming-to-web-intelligence