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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Visual Intelligence – Resolving Start Up Issues

January 10th, 2013 No comments

Enjoying Visual Intelligence?  I am.  Unfortunately however every once in a while something will go wrong.  Most of the time stopping and restarting Visual Intelligence will fix the problem but sometimes not.

One error I received recently was:  Open document failed / The engine failed to start before timeout.  Restart the application.  (HDB 10005)

Open document failed / The engine failed to start before timeout. Restart the application. (HDB 10005)

Here is a quick article about this topic from SCN about this error:  http://scn.sap.com/thread/3256250

Here is an SAP note which also has additional details:  http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1783894

These articles provide good information but didn’t solve my problem.

Sybase IQ Hiccups

As you probably already know that Visual Intelligence leverages an embedded Sybase IQ engine for data manipulation.

Here you can see both SAPVisualIntelligence.exe and the embedded Sybase engine, iqsrv15.exe, listed in the task manager.

… and sometimes there are problems.  I’ve found that assuming it ‘normally’ works okay (install was correct) and nothing else on your PC has changed (software/firewall conflicts), then it’s a memory issue.  Remember 8 Gig is recommended for this application.  (4 Gig minimum)

The problem is that sometimes when the Sybase Engine hiccups, it may continue to run in the background and make it impossible for Visual Intelligence to start-up again.

Resolving Issues with iqsrv15.exe

Here is what you need to do:

  1. After you shutdown Visual Intelligence, make sure that iqsrv15.exe is not still running.  You can kill the process via task manager if necessary.
  2. Delete the DataBase directory where Hilo.db is stored
  3. Restart application and it will recreate.
You will find the DataBase directory in your working directory.  By default this is located here:
C:UsersAdministratorAppDataLocalSAPSAP Visual Intelligence

Location of local Visual Intelligence Database

Hope that helps!

«Good BI»

 

Categories: Administrators, Help!, Lumira Tags: ,

Dealing with Small Numbers in Explorer

January 2nd, 2013 1 comment

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time with Explorer and I’ve made a few interesting discoveries that I wanted to pass along.

I’m not sure why some of my BI colleagues haven’t been giving Explorer any love (see the DSLayer Explorer Gets No Love podcast), but I think it’s a phenomenal product… but with any product there are always little quirks to deal with.  Some people call them bugs… I call them quirks.  🙂

Truncation Frustration

I spent a good part of a day experiencing truncation frustration.

I was trying to determine how to display a capacitance value within Explorer.  Capacitance as you may know can be a extremely large or an extremely small number.  It took me multiple attempts to figure out how to get it to work but I finally cracked it!

What Didn’t Work

Capacitance was stored in the database as a float, which worked great when I used it as a measure — but when I displayed it as a facet value, suddenly Explorer began to get it wrong.  Here are both the facet and the measure for capacitance displayed side by side.  It seemed only able to display up to three decimal places.

See truncated values on the left and the correct measure value on the right.

Here is how I initially had the capacitance defined as a float.

Normally the first thing to do with numbers is leverage the format value within the semantic layer and I tried everything but somehow, if the capacitance was stored as a number, Explorer would consistently drop the significant values to the right of the decimal place.  Here is how I defined the custom format for the capacitance.  I tried both # and 0’s but neither worked.

The IDT appears to show the number correctly when I preview it…

… and yet it still appeared incorrectly within Explorer.  What was going on?  At this point it’s pretty clear that this bug quirk should be fixed, but I needed to get it working asap.  I needed a work around.

I know I was going to have to convert the capacitance to a string.  The added benefit of this was that now capacitance would also be full searchable as a string.

I tried multiple formulas to try and do the conversion to a string.

None of these worked successfully:

  • cast (Capacitors.Capacitance as varchar(18)) returns scientific notation – Yuck.
  • Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8)
  • charindex([^0],reverse(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8)))

What Did Work

The problem now was that regardless of how many decimals of precision the capacitance had, there were always 8 trailing zeros and I desperately wanted to get rid of these, so finally I found the magic formula:

CASE WHEN PATINDEX(‘%[1-9]%’, REVERSE(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8))) < PATINDEX(‘%.%’, REVERSE(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8))) THEN LEFT(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8), LEN(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8)) – PATINDEX(‘%[1-9]%’, REVERSE(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8))) + 1) ELSE LEFT(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8), LEN(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8)) – PATINDEX(‘%.%’, REVERSE(Str (Capacitors.Capacitance,10,8)))) END

Special Thanks to SwePeso

After beating my head against a wall, the sense of achievement and satisfaction were extremely rewarding and reminded me of why I love my job so much.  I got what I wanted.

It was great.  The user can search for 0027 capacitance and will get the appropriate match (more on that next week).  Also, you can also observe that all the capacitance values show up in the correct sort order, which means when I display capacitance is order from smallest to largest they are sorted in the correct order.

Capacitance Graph displays properly

Conclusion

As Explorer continues to mature, it’s my hope that more and more of these quirks will be addressed by the product team and more of the product will work as expected — becoming a fully fledged, first-class citizen of the semantic layer.

I’d also would like to see hyperlink support within Explorer.  I think this is long overdue.  Please help me vote YES, thumbs up for this feature >> http://bit.ly/SzSSo0

«Good BI»

 

SP5: Can’t Get There From Here

January 24th, 2012 2 comments

Administrators take note!

In case you missed it, the straight-forward upgrade between Service Packs has a little wrinkle that you need to be aware of.

Upgrading to XI 3.1 SP5

If it’s been a while since your last upgrade and you are still running BOE XI 3.1 SP2, you may be surprised to find out that you cannot go from SP2 to SP5 in a single upgrade.  I don’t have the details as to why other than the fact that SAP Note:  1664385 tells us it’s not supported.

Only the following upgrades paths are supported:

  • BOE XI 3.1 + SP3 + SP5
  • BOE XI 3.1 + SP2 + SP3+ SP5
  • BOE XI 3.1 + SP2 + SP4+ SP5
  • BOE XI 3.1 + SP3 + SP4+ SP5

I read through the note and there wasn’t any additional explanation as to why, but you can see for yourself:
https://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1664385

Remember:  Always read the release notes.

«Good BI»

 

Installing BusinessObjects v4.0 – CMS Database

January 5th, 2012 No comments

I’ve installed BusinessObjects about a hundred times and there is very little that’s changed about the installation wizard from a user interface perspective since Crystal Enterprise 10.  BusinessObjects has always included “in the box” all the components necessary to successfully install BusinessObjects for a single server configuration.

That said, there is ONE change I make every time I do an installation.

History of the Embedded Database

On Windows, it’s gone from SQL Server Embedded (CE10) to MySQL (for support of Unix and Linux) and back to SQL Server.  Now that SAP has acquired it’s own database technology, don’t be too surprised if it comes bundled with Sybase in the future.

Personally I’ve never liked uses the embedded database and I wouldn’t recommend you use it either.  In fact, I recently has a situation with a client who due to any overly restrictive server/firewall configuration was unable to get the embedded database working and we wasted hours trying to troubleshoot the problem.

Installation Best Practice

I always choose “Custom Install” so that I can:

  • Modify the installation location
  • Uncheck the default embedded database (for the CMS)

I really don’t like to include the embedded database because I want to give BusinessObjects as much on-server resources as possible – especially with v4.0.

Always create space in an existing database environment to support BusinessObjects.  There are many supported CMS databases including:  SQL Server, MySQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, MaxDB and Sybase.

NOTE:  Always test connectivity to the database from the server on
which you will be installing BusinessObjects to make sure the connectivity
is working.

During the installation you will want to NOT include the embedded database.  That means doing a CUSTOM install and deselecting Integrated Database.

No Embedded Database

De-Select the Integrated Database

What I love about the installer is that it will check the database connectivity before the installation begins.  If there is an issue with the database client configuration, permissions, etc., the installation will warn me of the situation and not continue.  This gives me the confidence to know that assuming I have enough hard drive space, when I select “Begin Installation”,  it will complete successfully.

«Good BI»

SAP Runs Crystal Reports

December 15th, 2011 8 comments

Say it loud, Say it proud

With the latest development of SAP Business Suite Enhancement Pak 5, SAP users can now enjoy the rich, flexible formatting functionality right from within the application.

ALVs Get An Upgrade

For many years, users have been limited in their ability to provide formatted reporting from an SAP ALV (ABAP List Viewer).  Users could do basic sorting, grouping and filter, but that was about it.  Now the output from an ALV can be pushed directly into a Crystal Report using the new Crystal Reports ALV Adapter.

This solution is currently available for ALV Grid (SAP GUI ALV) and for Web Dynpro ABAP ALV.  ALV List and ALV Classic are not supported.  In my case, I will be running an SAP GUI ALV.

Using the Crystal Reports ALV Adapter

Before installing the adapter you need to be running Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or above.  In addition, because I will be running ALVs run directly within the SAP GUI, I must have also installed SAP GUI 7.10 or above.

Downloading the Adapter

One of the hardest things about installing the adapter is finding in the Service Marketplace. Here is a screenshot of the location

Personally, I recommend searching for it.  Here is how I found it:

From the search screen, search for CR ADD-ON

Software Search Screen

Search for CR ADD-ON

You should see CR ADD-ON FOR BS APPS 1.0 come back in the search results.  This is what you want.

Search Results

Once you select CR ADD-ON FOR BS APPS 1.0, you will be able to download the ZIP archive file.

Service Marketplace Software Download

After extracting the application you will see the xSAPCRVAdpt.exe, which is what we will be installing.

Installing the Adapter

Begin the installation by double-clicking on the install file, xSAPCRVAdpt.exe.

Here we will see the Crystal Reports ALV Adapter ready to be installed.

After choosing Next, the installation will begin:

After a few minutes you should see the following message, which indicates the installation was successful.

Configuring the Adapter

The final step after installing the adapter is telling Business Suite to allow Crystal Reports to be used with ALVs.

We need to use tcode, SALV_GUI_CUST

Here we want to make sure we Allow Crystal Reports to be an option.

Next we need to use tcode, SALV_WD_CUST to go into the Web Dynpro Settings

Here we want to make sure we Allow Crystal Reports to be an option.

Testing the Adapter

You can use any ALV Grid (SAP GUI ALV) or Web Dynpro ABAP ALV for testing.  In my case, I’m going to use the t-code KSB1, Display Actual Cost Line Items for Cost Centers.

Note that at the end of the input screen, I select the layout for this report.  This is important because with Enhancement Pak 5, you can save Layouts that leverage Crystal Reports.

Here are the default results in an ALV Grid:

Pretty boring, eh?

Choose the Change Layout Icon

Under the View tab you can change the Preferred View to Crystal Reports.  This will cause the data to be sent to a Crystal Report using the SAP_GenericTemplate.rpt.

Now you can see the output in a Crystal Report.

Modifying the Crystal Report

We first need to get a copy of the report, so we will chose the option “Export Report”.

Export to Crystal Report

By selecting this option, I will be presented with a dialog box which will allow me to Save the Report to my hard drive.  At first, I found this button confusing because I expected it to work like it does in standard Crystal Reports and ask me if I wanted to export the report in PDF.  It left me wondering how I would go about exporting the results to PDF if I wanted to.  Hmm.

NOTE:  Once the report is exported, you can make changes to it using
Crystal Reports 2011, since at the time of this writing Crystal Reports
for Enterprise does not support direct data connectivity.  Also this template
was created in the pre-Crystal Reports 9 format; therefore you could modify
these reports with older versions of Crystal Reports.

When you open the report to modify it, you will see that the data is being pushed into the report via an ADO.NET (XML) database connector.  This means that this report cannot be refreshed from within Crystal Reports during the report modification process.

Rather than showing you the details about how to modify a Crystal Report, I will simply assume that after exporting the report, you have been able to make a number of changes to suit your needs and are ready to load those changes into the SAP List Viewer.

Select your update report from the dialog box:

After after being imported successfully:

… the new report layout will appear on the screen

Saving the Layout for Future Use

Now that we’ve got the new report loaded, we would like choose this view or layout.  SAP accommodates this.  All you need to do is save the layout under a new name by following the prompts in the Save Layout dialog:

In my case I named my new report layout /ZCRKSB1

After the layout has been saved, users can reference it from the Setting section of the original SAP List Viewer prompt screen.  Under the last section, Settings the user can change the default layout by selecting the layout of their choice.

Summary

For many years now, we’ve been talking to customers and partners about the value of embedded analytics.  Now we are finally beginning to see they rolled out in earnest.  Not only is Crystal Reports now embedded directly into SAP Business Suite, but SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius) are being provided out of the box for HR, Finance and other key areas.

The only drawback of embedded analytics today is the lack of built-in intelligence about how to navigate the data.  In the SAP List Viewer today, if you click on a column, the List Viewer is intelligent enough to drill to the associated supporting document.  But even with this limitation, there is still real value in better reporting from SAP Business Suite.

«Good BI»