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How to setup report bursting (data driven publication) in BusinessObjects

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on February 23, 2011

One of my favourite features of BusinessObjects is the data driven publication or report bursting. This allows the administrator to very easily setup personalized reports to be delivered to the users at scheduled intervals. For example if I want to send out a pipeline report with all of their active opportunities to all my sales managers every week the report publication feature would allow me to do this with just 1 single report as opposed to creating multiple reports, one for each sales manager.

So how do we set it up. It is quite simple. Let us say we have a report that shows the internet sales orders by country as shown in the report below.


Now I want to create a publication such that the sales administrators for each of the regions get the report for their respective territories. So first I set up another report (called recipient report) which list all the users and their email addresses as shown below.


Instead of hardcoding the users I have decided to make it very parameterized by using the database and crystal reports. In a database table I maintain the contact details for each of sales administrator and the territories that they manage.


This approach allows me to change the distribution at any time without having to worry about modifying any of the reports or scheduled jobs. Now using Crystal reports I have developed the report shown above, which is what I am going to use as the input for the scheduled job.

Now comes the process of setting up the scheduled job. In CMC (or Infoview) right click on the folder where you want to save the job and create a new publication job.



Now give the job a name and also select the report that you want to send to your users.



The next step is setting up the recipients of this report. You would use Enterprise Recipients if you wanted to send the report to the users of the BusinessObjects system. However this is not mandatory. As shown below you can also email the report to other users who do not have access to your BusinessObjects server. These could be your employees or even your customers/business partners.


With Dynamic recipients I can email reports to anyone as long as the mail server information is setup correctly in my BOE system. You would need to set this up in a couple places and I will cover this in a later post. For now assuming it is setup we can use the recipient report created earlier and map the user name and emails from that report.


The next step is personalization. I want the sales administrator for Australia to only get the orders from Australia. This is setup in the personalization section of the job. In this case the report is grouped by DimGeography.EnglishCountryRegionName and I use that split the report.


As shown above I can use the country name from the report and mapping to the country name for the recipient I am instructing the job to split the report by  DimGeography.EnglishCountryRegionName and use the Recipient Mapping column to deliver to the right user.


After setting the other aspects such as format and schedule, you can go ahead and test this publication job. You can either deploy it directly or you can test it first. I would recommend testing it, whereby you can give your email address and the job would run but instead of emailing the reports to the users it would be delivered to you.


That’s all there is to setting up publications. Now coming to setting up the mail servers, there are a couple of services for which we would need to set the email servers. The easiest way to get it to work is to first use a local email server to test the functionality and then moving to the corporate mail server. You would need to setup email as a destination for the following

  • Adaptive Job Server
  • Destination Job Server
  • Program Job Server
  • Publication Job Server
  • Crystal Reports Job Server

For each of the service right click and select destination as shown below


And set the details for the email server.

Posted in Administration, BusinessObjects, Distribution, Publication | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Linking Dashboards and Reports in BOE Dashboard Builder

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on January 13, 2011

One of the common requests I have found on the BOB board relates to how can we link WEBI/CR reports with XCelsius dashboards. The common scenario is where we are showing some summary information in an XCelsius dashboard and I want to show some related detailed report using WEBI or CR on the same dashboard.

In BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1, Edge XI 3.1 and Crystal Reports Server 2008 v1, the new Interportlet Communication (IPC) feature in Dashboard Builder allows the transfer of information between distinct analytics. Now you can pass parameters from an Xcelsius dashboard to another XCelsius dashboard or to Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence. Using this framework, I will show 2 simple ways to link between:

  1. Two XCelsius dashboards
  2. Between an XCelsius dashboard and Web Intelligence/Crystal Reports

XCelsius to XCelsius linking

An XCelsius dashboard used as a source document has to be configured with a Portal Provider Connection. The target analytic also has to be configured with the Portal Consumer Connection. We will send parameter data between two analytics with the use of a simple example: sending information from a list box selector in one analytic to drive a chart in another dashboard. The steps are

Create the provider analytic

1. Create the list box control for the years: As you can see below I have created a simple list box control with the years.


The selected item from the list box is placed in cell B2 in my example (marked in yellow). I have also set the size of the canvas to fit the component.

2. Create a new portal data connection as shown below.


Choose provider as the Connection Type and give a name to the range (in my example Year). Since we are passing a single cell of data, select Cell  as the range type and the cell B2 which is the target of the list box selection. Also go to the usage tab and instruct the data connection to communicate with the consumers when the value in the target cell (B2) changes.


This will ensure that whenever the user makes any selection on the list box, the label will be passed to the target/consumer of the portal connection.

Create the target analytic

1. In the target dashboard I have created a simple dashboard where I have a chart combo box.


In the properties of the combo box I have set the combo to read the current selection from a cell. When the selection in the cell changes it will read the row of the data corresponding to the selected year and place it in the target row which drives the chart.

2. Define the portal data connection of type consumer as shown below.


Keep in mind that the Range name has to be the same for both the provider and the consumer. Also since the provider is going to pass a single cell I have selected the range type as Cell and have it update cell B2 which drives my drop down and chart.

Combine them in the dashboard

Now log on to InfoView and create a new Corporate Dashboard. Drag your “Provider” and “Consumer” analytics onto the dashboard. Also activate “Content Linking”.  This can be done by setting the properties of the Provider analytic. Choose the Provider analytic as the “Source Analytics”, and Consumer as the “Target Analytics” as shown below.


XCelsius to WEBI/CR linking

An XCelsius dashboard used as a source document for Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence has to be configured with the FS Command connectivity. The parameters are then assembled in an OpenDocument URL by the Dashboard Builder framework. For more information about the OpenDocument syntax, see the documentation:

To illustrate this example I have a summary report in XCelsius and use WEBI to show the detailed month wise breakdown.

Create the provider analytic

The steps to create the provider are the same. In fact I have used the same analytic that I used in the previous example. The only difference is that since the dashboard builder framework uses the OpenDoc URL format to pass the parameters I need to massage the parameter so that it can sent to WEBI as shown below.


In cell D2, I take the selection from B2 and use excel formula (="&lsSYear="&B2) to create the parameter for the data connection.

Now go to the data connections and add a new FS Data connection as shown below.


The trigger also has to be set in the usage tab, so that the data connection sends the new value whenever the value in the cell D2 changes.


Now export this to SWF and save it in the infoview portal.

Create the WEBI Report

The steps to create the WEBI Report is fairly simple. As shown below I have created a simple WEBI report which takes in the year as the prompt.


The only thing to keep in mind is the name of the prompt should correspond to the formula set in the provider analytic. For example in my case the open doc param formula in the provider analytics is ="&lsSYear="&B2 which corresponds to the Year prompt in WEBI.

Save WEBI report in the infoview portal and test the content linking as shown earlier.

If you want more details you can check out the user guides at

OpenDocument User Guide: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31/en/xi3-1_url_reporting_opendocument_en.pdf
Dashboard Builder User Guide: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP3/en/xi31_sp3_dashboard_user_en.pdf

Posted in BusinessObjects, Dashboard, WEBI, XCelsius | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

How to do Year Ago or Prior period type comparison in WEBI

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on November 3, 2010

Again a post inspired by the BOBJ board which talks about a generic requirement whereby making it easy for adhoc users to perform relative time period based analysis as easy as possible. The users should be able to select the date using a prompt or otherwise and ask for values for either the selected period or some other reference period such as Current Year Last Week or Prior Year by simply selecting a different measures named as such from the Universe.

This is actually quite simple once you get around to designing it. All we need to do is make sure we run multiple queries once for each time period and then join the queries at runtime in the BI Server. WEBI provides such functionality in the form of contexts. For example if we define the current period and YAGO (year ago) in 2 separate contexts, then when we pull Sales and YAGO sales in the same report BI Server will automatically run 2 queries and join the results. That’s what I want to leverage.

My example shows how to setup 2 measures, Sales and YAGO Sales. However this can be done for any number of measures as well as any number of reference periods as the process is quite simple. So here is what I have done.

1. For each relative time period we need to define an alias of the fact table in the universe. For example I need current period and YAGO therefore I have 2 fact tables – Sales and YAGO Sales.


2. It is also very important to have a proper dates/calendar table that you can use for your time based calculations. In my schema it is the DATES_TABLE with a structure as shown below.


3. Now join the 2 facts to the dates table. The main fact table for current period will be joined normally to the dates table, however the YAGO sales will be joined to the dates table with a lag.

image image


Ofcourse you would also need to define all the other joins between the YAGO_SALES fact and the other dimension tables for completeness. Now that the 2 join conditions have been defined as you can define the measures from each of these tables. When user say runs the query for October 2010 then Sales revenue will be the value for Oct-2010, however YAGO will be Oct-2009 since YAGO sales will join with the date table with a 1 year lag due to our join condition.


Now in order to force the 2 queries we need to define the contexts – 1 for each fact table. This will resolve the loops as well as force the BI Server to issue 2 separate queries to the database.


Now in the query as will see the BI Server will issue 2 queries one for each context and combine them in the result set.


The beauty of this approach is that it is automatically level based. If the user selects a date in the prompt the results will be for same date last year, for month it will be same month LY, for Qtr will be same Qtr last year and for year will be last full year.

You can use the same mechanism to define last week or last month.

Posted in BusinessObjects, Prior Period, WEBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

How to create start and end date prompt in WEBI report

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on November 1, 2010

Ran into this question on the BOBJ board asking how to create a WEBI report which can prompt the user to enter the start and end dates for running a report. Seems quite simple and useful so here is the solution.

I am using the adventure works universe to illustrate the process. The query I have created is show below.


Created a simple query which prompts the user to enter the year and months for analysis. Note that I will only allow the user to select a single year. If you want to do cross-year analysis then you would need to define a separate object in the time dimension as “Year-Month” which would allow the user to perform cross year analysis. When I run the report I get prompted to enter the year and months for the report.


And the results are as shown.


Posted in BusinessObjects, WEBI | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to configure IIS Tomcat connector (ISAPI connector) for BusinessObjects

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on October 28, 2010

One of the frequent questions I run into on the BOBJ board is around setting up IIS and tomcat connector for BusinessObjects. I believe most of these posts are from customers using BusinessObjects Edge which does not support IIS as the web server. In order for this to work I used the Jakarta connector (AJP13) from Apache which allows IIS to forward specific requests to Tomcat. This is especially useful if you want to enable Windows Integrated Authentication for your IIS server and setup SSO with trusted authentication. This setup would enable the user to logon to InfoView without having to enter any user id or password.

Setting up ISAPI connector with IIS

The AJP13 Jakarta connector (version 1.2.14) can be found on Apache Software’s site at: http://archive.apache.org/dist/tomcat/tomcat-connectors/jk/binaries/win32/jk-1.2.14/. Download the isapi_redirect-1.2.14.exe.


This is a windows installer and after installation it would have setup a couple of things. By default the software is installed in “C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Jakarta Isapi Redirector”.


Installing and Configuring the Jakarta Connector on IIS

Step1: Configure the ISAPI connector configuration files. There are 2 main files to edit

workers.properties.minimal – This file provides configuration properties needed to connect to Tomcat. Find the “worker.ajp13w.host” and change the value from localhost to <machine_name>


uriworkermap.properties: This file contains all the mappings that will use by the ISAPI connector. There are some defaults. In the next step we will add the BusinessObjects related URL’s here.


I needed to add the following to this file as shown above



Step 2: Setup the virtual directory in IIS: The installer also defines the ISAPI redirector as a virtual directory in IIS as shown below. Check that execute permissions for this virtual directory is set to “Scripts and Executables”.


You also have to define the web service extension if using IIS. Right click on “Web Service Extensions” and define a new Web Service Extension called “Jakarta mod_jk” and required file as isapi_redirect.dll which can be found in the bin folder of Jakarta ISAPI redirector.


Now restart IIS using IISRESET.exe on the command line.

Installing and Configuring the Jakarta Connector on Tomcat

Now that you have the IIS ISAPI filter installed and configured on the IIS side, you have to configure Tomcat to accept connections from IIS. To do this, we will configure Tomcat’s AJP13 listener.

  1. On the Tomcat system (INSTALLDIR\Tomcat55) find the server.xml located in Tomcat’s \conf directory.
  2. Edit the server.xml. Search for the port=”8009” and uncomment and change the connector entry to look as follows

    <Connector enableLookups="false" port="8009" protocol="AJP/1.3" redirectPort="8443" tomcatAuthentication="false"/>

Save and restart Tomcat. If you do a netstat-an command on the command line you should see the tomcat connector listening on port 8009.


You can now test the connector by navigating to one of the tomcat samples such as the infoview URL on the webserver. For example: /InfoViewApp/">http://<iiswebserver>/InfoViewApp/.

Posted in Administration, IIS, ISAPI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

How to perform silent installation of BusinessObjects Enterprise/Edge

Posted by Hemanta Banerjee on October 21, 2010

A silent installation is the type of installation that you run from the command line to install BOE/Edge on any machine. It is very useful in federated scenarios where you want to ensure that the settings between the remote site and original are consistent. For more information on federation please look at my earlier blog post here.

The setup.exe for BOE can take the following parameters on command line to facilitate silent installation


To perform silent installation you would need to first create the .ini file. Steps for creating the ini file are

  1. Open a command line console and go to the directory which contains the BusinessObjects Enterprise setup.exe.
  2. In the command line, specify the file path and the .ini file to store the installation settings.
  3. Press Enter to launch the installation setup program. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter your preferred installation settings until you reach the final
    screen of the setup program. These settings will be recorded in the response file.
  4. Click Cancel to abort the installation setup. All the parameters -user-defined and default -from installation setup are passed to the .ini file which is stored in the directory specified in step 2.

Now you can create a batch routine and use the ini file created above for all future installations.

Posted in BusinessObjects, Installation | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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