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Product versions:
Business Intelligence 4.0
Business Warehouse 7.x

Introduction

This article aims at presenting the capabilities, pre-requisites and current limitations of the integration of BEx Web applications into SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0. Whether you are starting a new project or considering upgrading an existing implementation, this article should help you answer the questions of when to use it, what the key benefits are and when not to use it.

Why BEx Web in BI 4.x ?

Background Information

BEx Web applications are Web-based applications from the Business Explorer (BEx) of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW). They allow end users to perform data analysis and reporting from a web formatted interface on top of data coming off BW.
With SAP NetWeaver 7.0, BEx Web Applications have traditionally been made accessible to end users through the SAP NetWeaver Portal. This offered lots of functionality but brought a dependency on the SAP NetWeaver Java stack which makes the landscape more complex. Another challenge was to combine BEx Web Applications and the SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite and provide end users with a unique entry point to Business Intelligence. Having the ability to access and execute BEx Web applications from and within the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform addresses both of these concerns, and the next section explains how.

Key Capabilities

Audience

Capability

End Users

BEx Web Applications can be accessed from BI Launch Pad which becomes the single point of entry to Business Intelligence. Although stored in the BW ABAP backend, they will appear as stored in the BI 4.0 system and co-exist with Web Intelligence documents, Dashboards, Advanced Analysis workspaces, BI Workspaces, Explorer Information Spaces, Crystal Reports. They are also supported by the OpenDocument API which contextual drill down from a dashboard to a BEx Web template.

BEx Web Application authors / developers

BEx Web Applications will continue to be developed with Web Application Designer and executed within BI 4.0 when launched from there for testing purpose. You can have multiple BI 4.0 systems pointing to the same BW system if necessary.

Security Administrators

The security permissions on BEx Web Applications and underlying data sources will continue to be administered from the BW ABAP backend. The security permissions to be set within BI 4.0 are minimal and not per BEx Web Application.

Architects and System Administrators

The SAP NetWeaver Java stack is not required. The BEx Web runtime and other dependencies of the BI-JAVA component are embedded within BI 4.0 and the execution is split between its web tier and application tier. The Web Tier does not have to the SAP NetWeaver Application Server or run the SAP JVM, it can be the default Tomcat application server running with a SUN JVM. The application tier consists in one service of the Adaptive Processing Server which you can have multiple instances of and is configured by default with the SAP JVM.

Landscape pre-requisites

To allow the integration and execution of BEx Web templates into SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.x, you will the following products / components in your landscape :

  • a BW ABAP backend system with the following patch levels : 7.00 SP25 (or later) or 7.01 SP08 (or later)
  • a BI 4.0 (or later) system
  • RFC communications allowed between the two systems

Exact configuration steps are documented in another article of this series : Configuration steps to integrate BEx Web applications into BI 4.x.

Current limitations and Roadmap

To execute the BEx Web template, the BI 4.x system includes the required Java components that have historically been executed within the SAP NetWeaver Portal and Java stack. Because it does not (cannot yet) embed all of the dependencies, the following restrictions apply.

Known limitation

Criticality

Details

Workaround and Roadmap

Single sign-on is not yet available.

(red star)(red star)(red star)

When accessing BEx Web applications from BI Launch Pad, end users will get prompted for their BW credentials regardless of the authentication method configured in BI 4.0.

This is planned to be addressed in an upcoming minor release of BI 4.0.

Document Integration or other capabilities offered by Knowledge Management are not supported.

(red star)(red star)

The ability to display document icons, a list of documents or the document itself within a BEx Web template is disabled. Document icons will simply not display. The document list and single document web items will generate errors when the Web template is rendered. See the known errors article for more details.

If Document Integration is a must, you will need to run the Web Template from the SAP NetWeaver Portal.

Information Broadcasting is not supported.

(red star)(red star)

The ability to broadcast reports to end users by email or in a Knowledge Management folder is not available with this integration. You can, however, still use the broadcaster to schedule queries as background jobs in order to pre-fill the OLAP cache.

If you need one of these two functionalities (email or KM), use SAP NetWeaver Portal as the entry point to reports and have them processed by the SAP NetWeaver Java stack.

BEx Web Templates can be open from only one BW Master System.

(red star)

You cannot open BEx Web templates from multiple BW systems. You configure the connection details to the BW Master System from the BI 4.0 CMC, and this setting is cluster wide (i.e. valid for all nodes of the BI 4.0 cluster).

You will need to set up one BI 4.0 instance per BW system.

Report-to-report interface (RRI) from and to BEx Web applications is not supported.

 

The corresponding commands will not be executed and callee report will not open.

The same functionality can be achieved with the OpenDocument API offered by BI 4.0.

Portal themes are not supported.

(red star)

With this integration, BI Launch pad will be the main entry point for end users to access BEx Web Applications, hence the themes (CSS Stylesheets, etc) defined in the SAP NetWeaver Portal will not apply.

The web template will have to carry its own theme definition. If the SAP NetWeaver Portal is the entry point to the BEx Web Applications and you need a deep level of integration including CSS stylesheet inheritance, you should execute the BEx Web Application directly from the SAP NetWeaver Portal and Java stack.

Only the Export Library for SAP Business Explorer (aka NetWeaver BI) is available for printing Bex Web templates.

(red star)

Printing to PDF is available but only via the SAP Export Library. Adobe Document Services (ADS) are not available on the BI Platform 4.0.

Use the Export Library for SAP Business Explorer. There are actually advantages in using this option as it performs better than ADS for large reports and requires much less effort to configure than ADS. Details are provided in the SAP Note 1112132.

References and links

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