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Upgrading to Xcelsius 2008 Tips & Tricks

I recently starting moving my BusinessObjects Enterprise Xcelsius models from XIr2 to XI 3.0. I have found that you may need to modify some of the elements after your model has been upgraded. Namely you will need to:

  • Modify the URL of the web services
  • Modify the URL of the embedded opendocument calls
  • Modify the models

I can’t say that these changes are completely unexpected, but it unfortunately these changes will need to be part of a manual process. I think that part of the problem is that we haven’t integrated Xcelsius into any type of structured lifecycle management.

Modify the URL of the webservices

As I move my Xcelsius model from one physical machine to another, I had to go back into each Web Service and change the name of the machine it was pointing to. I also had an issue with my Universes. It appears that somehow, it lost track of exactly which universe I was pointed to (perhaps I changed the CUID during the migration to XI 3.0) so I had to manually edit each one and make sure it was working. In some cases, once I manually picked the right universe, the query still didn’t work. It would throw an error. So I discovered a special trick.

TIP: I found that when the system lost track of my universe I could click on the Show the option dialog… and it seems to fix everything. I think it realizes that the objects in the query are the same as the old universe and repoints the objects correctly.

Query as a Web Service

I also found that you can no longer just copy the URL from the QaaWS administration panel and paste it into Xcelsius 2008. You need to actually click on the which shows you the definition. From there you can click on the WSDL link and it will reveal the correct WSDL “url”. You can see that the URL below contains the end-notation, ?def. The WSDL will be exactly the same but say ?WSDL.

Modify the URL of the embedded opendocument calls

Ouch – what a pain. In XI 3.0, they changed the location of opendocument.jsp from http://<hostname>:<port>/businessobjects/enterprise115/desktoplaunch/opendoc/openDocument.jsp to http://<hostname>:<port>/OpenDocument/opendoc/openDocument.jsp

This means you need to either create your own redirector logic on the application server, or rebuild all your opendocument URLs. I can’t say I’m too surprised (it changed from CE10 to XI to XIr2). It’s just that we now see customer’s using opendocument.jsp so much more because it’s a great way to integrate Xcelsius dashboards with Crystal Reports and WebIntelligence documents.

Modify the Models

So far I’ve not had too much trouble in moving my dashboards from Xcelsius 4.5 to Xcelsius 2008, however there are clearly differences in the way the product works. For example, I had a dashboard that did some lookups and returned zeros. In Xcelsius 4.5, when I used the option Ignore cells at End-of-Range option, it would ignore a text cell with the value 0 and a numeric value of 0. Now, it will only ignore the values in the column if they are truly blank.

I’m not saying the old way was right or wrong, it’s just that now the interpretation of “blank cells” has changed. It used to include cells with 0’s but now it really means only blanks.

Therefore – fair warning. When moving to Xcelsius 2008 you need to make sure and test each and every model to make sure it is still working in exactly the same way.

Conclusion

Overall, I love the new features of Xcelsius 2008. I love the fact that the worksheet is now integrated into the model and the updates to the model take place in real time, but expect a few bumps along the road. Like the fact that when you switch between Preview mode and the Normal mode, Xcelsius can’t seem to remember the sizes of the properties window on the right and the worksheet on the bottom-middle.

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  1. Pexito
    June 26th, 2008 at 09:36 | #1

    Thanks for the helpful Hints with the Upgrade. But i still wonder how you managed to come around the “truly” blank cells. I can’t get rid of those empty cells in the List view. Any hint with that?

  2. Rafael
    October 23rd, 2008 at 19:14 | #2

    Thanks…..but I would advise readers not to spend their money on the upgrade for the following reasons:

    1. SAP who owns business objects (Xcelsius) provides absolutely no support. Your only option is the forum of which has moderators (not actual engineers).

    2. Xcelsius 2008 is not really a upgrade, it is has a new code that when you access your old models you will not be able to go back (this will be a problem if you share models with co-workers.

    3. Xcelsius 2008 crashes with a moderately complex excel file (SAP confirmed); and Profession 4.5 does not.

    For these three basic reasons…….why give SAP $400 for the upgrade!!!!

    There is no benifit other than wasted money and time.

  3. October 23rd, 2008 at 21:38 | #3

    Rafael,

    Thanks for your feedback. Are you saying that there is no support for Xcelsius whatsoever? I find that hard to believe. You should be able to purchase a maintenance contract that will provide you technical support.

    On your second point, Xcelsius 2008 IS an upgrade for sure. There are a ton of new features – especially things like editing the Excel directly within the Designer. You bring up a great point around backward compatibility. I have had terrible trouble with getting old models to convert over to 2008. I personally have taken to recreating most of them from scratch. I also have both Xcelsius 4.5 and 2008 installed side by side. For older models I will switch over to 4.5, but I create all my new stuff in Xcelsius 2008.

    Xcelsius 2008 definitely has a lot of issues that will greatly annoy a seasoned Xcelsius 4.5 developer. You mention crashing when can be a problem for sure, but for me it’s all the little things that drive me crazy. A right click here, a refresh there, weird scrolling, etc. The real problem is that Xcelsius 4.5 was rock solid and Xcelsius 2008 was… well a v1.0 rewrite of that 4.5 product and lots of things got missed. If you haven’t installed the Service Pak 1 yet, then you really ARE wasting your time. The Service Pak 1 fixed a ton of issues.

    Not that you are not the only one who has been upset by Xcelsius 2008. Here is an article from ITWorld. The title says it all, “How to ruin great software”.

    http://www.itworld.com/software/54726/how-ruin-great-application

    Ouch!

  4. February 5th, 2009 at 14:45 | #4

    Hi, I´ve a big problem, because in Xcelsius 2008 show bad the number formats, too different to Excel. In Xcelsius show 25.987,98 and in Excel 25,987.98. I’d change the regional settings and nothing. I made the upgrade to SP1 and SP2 … and nothing. Can you help me? Thank you. It’s a great software.

  5. Ilya
    February 19th, 2009 at 15:44 | #6

    I have used 4.5 for 2.5 years and 2008 for about a year and a half and I can say that only after service pack 1 and hot fix 1 2008 is on par with 4.5. As they always were saying in before you upgrade wait for service pack

  6. Jason White
    March 17th, 2009 at 15:55 | #7

    One thing I noticed is if you were using a URL button to, let’s say, execute a URL dynamically based on a ticker object for some scrolling news articles the URL button will stop working in X2008 if the URL button is hidden at run time. Instead you have to force the URL button to show, even if you don’t want it to, and place it behind something else so that nobody can see it.

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