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Product versions:
Xcelsius 2008 SP2
BI 7.01 SP5 or 7.02 SP0

Table of Contents

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High Level presentation on SDN

SDN Blog announcement

Deployment, Architecture

  1. What do I need in my landscape to get Xcelsius and the new BICS conectivity working ?
    Refer to this article of the series : prerequisites to Xcelsius and SAP NetWeaver BW Connection
  2. Is Xcelsius leveraging ICM Cache ?
    No. ICM (Internet Communication Manager) is a web server running on the ABAP backend. Xcelsius is using BICS, a web service which sits on the Java backend (similar to what BEx Web Analyzer is using).

Portal Integration

  1. How is it related to BEx Web Runtime?
    The connectivity requires the SWF file (Xcelsius dashboard) to be hosted by BEx Web Runtime to allow data access. Therefore there is no offline capabilities, no Xcelsius Designer Preview, no embedding into PDF/PPT, no direct access from InfoView.
  2. Can the Xcelsius dashboard be displayed on SAP Enterprise Portal?
    Of course (smile) This can be done with "Bex Web Application" iView. See BOpedia article on this topic for details.
  3. Can the Xcelsius dashboard be displayed on BOE InfoView?
    Not as a SWF file like with the QaaWS or Live Office connectivity because it requires BEx Web Runtime. However you can use URL objects and use the BEx Web Runtime URL. The user will get prompted for his NW EP credentials though.
  4. Can the Xcelsius dashboard be displayed on a 3rd party dashboard (Sharepoint)?
    Yes, by using the BEx Web Runtime URL and implementing SSO between the third party portal and NetWeaver Portal.

Design Time

  1. Why are the Dashboard or Data Preview functionalities not available at design time?
    The data is only accessible when the SWF file is executed within BEx Web Runtime, therefore you need to publish the dashboard to BW first and view via BEx Web Runtime. See question on BEx Web Runtime.
    Trick to make the design easier : execute the query in BEx Web, then export to Excel and import spreadsheet to Xcelsius, beware the header rows are different with BICS and BEx Web when designing your dashboard
  2. Were there any special Xcelsius vizualisation component added for BEx query browsing?
    No, but all existing components can be leveraged. See question below on hierarchies and tree control.

Run Time

  1. Are navigation links / bookmarks available like in BEx Web Analyzer?
    No, bookmarking is not available at this time, however you can obviously influence the default view of the dashboard.
  2. Can I add my own Flash Variables ?
    No, the use of FlashVars is limited with the SAP NetWeaver BI Connection. There are existing "built-in" Flash Variables that you can use but the custom variables are not supported and cannot be added as of today.
    Existing FlashVars include :
  • the end point URL "BICSWS_ENDPOINT"
  • the dashboard language "BICSWS_LANGUAGE"
  • decimal, thousand, date and time separator characters : "BICSWS_DECIMAL", "BICSWS_THOUSANDSEPARATOR", "BICSWS_DATESEPARATOR", "BICSWS_TIMESEPARATOR"

BW as a data source

  1. Does this connectivity leverage BW authorizations like row level security for data personalization?
    Absolutely. This is one of the main features of this connectivity : all BW authorizations are kept and fully leveraged.
  2. Can we get to the BW data directly via the infoCube or do we need a query?
    You do need a query. When connecting to a system from Xcelsius, you can only browse and select a query or a query view.
  3. Does the Bex query need to be turned on for access via ODBO ?
    No, the query does not need to be shared for external ODBO OLAP access. Of course, if the same query is to be used for OLAP BAPI access via WebI Intelligence, Voyager and Crystal, etc, then you might want to enable this.
  4. Can Xcelsius make use of BWA, aggregates, and cache?
    Yes, as it is transparent to Xcelsius (it only sees the BEx query). It will indirectly leverages BWA like any other BEx query execution, but there is no direct access to it like e.g SBO Explorer's BIA index access.
  5. Can hierachies be leveraged?
    loaded question... Not natively as Xcelsius does not have a tree component allowing to expand / collapse hierarchies. However add-ons developed by partners do exist with such component and seem to be working (mixed feedback on them, obviously not supported by SAP). Xcelsius is not an OLAP browsing tool in any case, so this has to be handled very carefully.
  6. Can an Xcelsius dashboard show data from more than one BW source (example: 2 infoCubes) at once?
    Yes, you can have multiple connections (BEx queries) to a single BW server. Under the Data Manager, you define multiple SAP Netweaver BI connections against e.g multiple MDX queries, however as mentioned, currently there is only one SAP server connection object per dashboard - so all the defined connections will be to one SAP server (BW logical system).
  7. Can the BEx query be built on a infoCube, multiProvider, infoSet, or DSO?
    Yes. The Xcelsius dashboard only sees a BEx query (or query view). The query itself can be built on any type of InfoProvider.
  8. Can the BEx query utilize variables? If so, can they prompt the user for data entry from the Xcelsius dashboard?
    Yes, all variable types are supported and mandatory variables will prompt the user for data entry unless set with a default value in the query definition or dashboard.
  9. Will the Xcelsius dashboard inherit the sorting as done in the BEx query or are other options possible in Xcelsius itself?
    Yes, sorting defined in the query is preserved when the result set is retrieved in Xcelsius. It can then be presented as is or differently depending on the visualization component that is chosen. Most list components in Xcelsius offer the ability to sort dynamically, that is part of the interactivity features users like.
  10. What about the possibility of retrieving "Result rows" from the BEx query. Can this result row be inherited (and reused) in an Xcelsius dashboard? By having such option, we could bypass all kind of own custom summaries in Excel itself.
    Yes, result rows are retrieved by Xcelsius if specified so in the BEx query. Xcelsius is essentially getting the same result set than BEx Web Analyzer. Additionally, you can override within Xcelsius the rows / columns view defined in the BEx query. By default, it is getting the same view, but it can be changed, adding or removing rows, columns with the set of free characteristics, key figures retrieved from the query.

Other data sources

  1. Can it work with non SAP data sources?
    Technically feasible but not tested and not recommended. BOE with Live Office or QaaWS is the recommended approach for non SAP data sources.
  2. Does it work with POA applications?
    This connector is not meant to build dashboard on top of POA applications. There is another POA specific connector.

Licensing

  1. Does this new connectivity change the licensing?
    This is a technical integration that does not change the licensing. Contact your account executive for more details.

References and Links

17 Comments

  1. Unknown User (y1p9ca3)

    1. Can the BEx query utilize variables? If so, can they prompt the user for data entry from the Xcelsius dashboard?
      Yes, you can utilize multiple variables within the BEx query . Under the Data Manager, these would be to be mapped to excel cells which in turn would serve as the destination cells for 'Input Text' or 'Input Text Area component'. The user can be prompted to enter text into these during runtime.
  2. Question: Would it be possible to make Xcelsius dashboards scalable?

    Xcelsius flash dashboard are scalable by nature, which is very convenient to deal with different screensizes. Dashboards shown via SAP are using a template and are fixed in size. Looking into this issue I have found that this is 'working as designed'. Webtemplate "0DASHBOARD_TEMPLATE" is being picked up by the dashboard. This template however is not released for changes at customer side. So there would be no way to achieve the functionality ("...you can raise a development request in order to ask what you need...").

    Is there any other way to get this functionality unlocked, so that the full-screen functionality of the flash player in the browser can be enabled?

  3. Unknown User (k3ilfe6)

    When we first create the SAP Netweaver BI Connection using BeX query in development environment, I see that the system value is populated with the BW development environment ID. Question: How do we migrate dashboard with BW connection from development to production environment?

    Answer: go to http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/f005a4ca-d4fd-2c10-adb8-8ec24383cb97

  4. Unknown User (k3ilfe6)

    Using QaaWS and Web Service Connection, I can embed the generated SWF file into a JSP file. Question: Can we embed SWF file containing SAP Netweaver BI connection to a JSP file? Will SSO work in this scenario?

  5. Former Member

    @Manoj3 regarding variables : Xcelsius with SAP NW BW Connection supports all variable types, including mandatory variables that wil indeed prompt the user for data entry. You can also set them from the dashboard or the query (default values).

    @indo81 regarding embedding the SWF : No, you cannot generate an "offline" SWF file and embed it where you want like you do with QaaWS or Live Office. You will need to use the BEx Web launcher URL and / or iView to integrate the dashboard into your own portal. Check this article out for more details on how to do it : Integration of an Xcelsius dashboard in BOE Infoview. Most of the steps will apply to what you are trying to achieve.

  6. Unknown User (vaxxf1e)

    Hi,

    We dont have BI-JAVA configured. Looks like Bex web configuration is must for using this Netweaver connection on BW EHP1 SPS5.

    Please let us know if it is mandatiry to Bex web configured on BI-JAVA system.

    Thanks,

    TANUJ 

  7. Former Member

    @Tanuj : yes, BI Java is a must have as mentioned in this FAQ. I just updated it to re-iterate this pre-requisite.

  8. Unknown User (l9ltw7k)

    Hi Patrice,

    According to this http://www.xcelsius-insight.com/index.php/dashboard/:

    Limitations on systems and queries:
    One dashboard can only be connected to one SAP NetWeaver BW system at a time. However, one
    dashboard may have several connections to the same BW system, and combine data from different queries.

    Is this true?

    Thanks,

    Red

  9. Former Member

    Yes, this is correct. See question #6 of the "BW as a Data Source" section on this FAQ.

    Can an Xcelsius dashboard show data from more than one BW source (example: 2 infoCubes) at once?
    Yes, you can have multiple connections (BEx queries) to a single BW server. Under the Data Manager, you define multiple SAP Netweaver BI connections against e.g multiple MDX queries, however as mentioned, currently there is only one SAP server connection object per dashboard - so all the defined connections will be to one SAP server (BW logical system).

  10. Unknown User (l9ltw7k)

    Just to clarify --

    What you mean to say that I can run 2 separate dashboard with two different connection to one SAP server (BW logical system) at a given time, both using this type of connection?

    I'm just worried what would happen if my clients access two different dashboard at the same time, accessing the same cube.

    Thanks,
    Red

  11. Former Member

    This is not a problem. Multiple users can view the same or different dashboards and connect to the same or different cubes from the same BW system simultaneously. This, of course, becomes a sizing exercise as you add more concurrent users but there is no functional limitation around that.

  12. Unknown User (l9ltw7k)

    Alright. Thanks a lot.

  13. Unknown User (tta75q1)

    Hi

    Thanks for the useful blog.

    Are there  any offline capabilities when working over BW queries? PDF or PPT?

    Any change in BO 4.0 on that matter?

    Regsrds

    Shlomi

  14. Former Member

    Shlomi,

    Yes, there is. You will find the answer in this article (part of the same series) : http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/x/wADHC

    patrice

  15. Unknown User (tta75q1)

    Thanks Patrice

    very useful link!

    Shlomi

  16. Unknown User (102u9urr2)

    *Question: *Does anyone know if SAP has any plans to allow for BEx query data to be shown in Xcelsius during the modeling stage?

    As of now it seems the only option is to publish >> Launch. Then you can see how the dashboard design reacts to the data returned by the query. This is proving very tedious and feels like we are designing in the dark.

  17. Former Member

    Matthew,

    There is a plan to address this and offer a data preview within the Design Tool in an upcoming sub-release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.x. This should be part of a bigger enhancement and the ability to connect directly to BEx queries via the Business Objects system.
    There is no plan at the moment to improve this for the SAP NetWeaver BW Connector you are currently using.

    patrice