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Posts Tagged ‘Dashboards’

Cool Xcelsius Dashboards and Where to Find Them

May 29th, 2009 12 comments

They’ve Got Style

I continue to be amazed by the dashboards being developed by our customers and partners to meet on going business needs.  Across every industry and every organization, regardless of size, companies are able to consolidate information into a single, interactive dashboard view.  Customers constantly ask me for examples of what other organizations have done, so I decided it was time to assemble a list of the best Xcelsius websites with samples.

Some of my Favorites

  1. My absolute favorite site is Inverra.  They are constantly updating their site with unique KPI centric examples.
    http://www.inverra.com/Dashboards/demos.htm
  2. Benchmarkers.  Great Design, Xcelsius Experts.  Training Provided.
    http://www.benchmarkers.com/showcase/
  3. Analysis Factory.  Very professional graphics.  Their supply chain example is tops.
    http://www.analysisfactory.com/gallery.html
  4. MyXcelsius Showcase.
    http://myxcelsius.com/showcase/
  5. SAP SDN Xcelsius Samples. These samples are either from SAP or have been uploaded from customers.
    https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/xcelsius-samples

Dashboarding Ideas

Need to keep you finger on the pulse of the dashboarding scene?  Looking for great ideas around dashboards in general?  There is one website above all others that has great information about creating dashboards with both Xcelsius and non-Xcelsius based technologies.  The website is Dashboard Spy and I highly recommend you give it a look.
http://dashboardspy.com/

They also have a great list of dashboard screenshots that’s worth a look:
http://dashboardspy.com/screenshots.html

«Good BI»

Categories: Dashboards Tags: ,

Some controls on this presentation can’t be activated – Xcelsius! Help!

May 20th, 2009 12 comments

At SAP BusinessObjects I work in the role of a Solution Advisor and I have a collection of Xcelsius dashboard examples.  I also receive new Xcelsius models from my colleagues from time to time.  Several months ago I ran across a strange problem with my Xcelsius powerpoints.  When I moved documents from one machine to another I began having problems openning these powerpoints and viewing my Xcelsius models.

Can’t be Activated in Aggravating

When opening powerpoint, I would see the following Windows error:

Some Controls on the Presentation cant be activated

Some Controls on the Presentation can't be activated. They might not be registered on this computer.

I was left wondering if this was a problem with the new Powerpoint 2007, so an incompatibility between Xcelsius 4.5 and 2008.  After some research and an excellent article from the Xcelsius Journal, I was relieved to find out it was neither.  It was all about the flash viewer within Powerpoint.

Solving This Devilish Problem

Although I had long since upgraded my flash player within my Firefox browser, Powerpoint continued to hold on to the old flash version.  Although I upgraded my flash player within Internet Explorer, Powerpoint didn’t seem to see it.  Instead it was still using an old flash player and therefore I continued to get the message:  Some controls on this presentation can’t be activated.  They might not be registered on this computer.   It was so frustrating.  Eventually I was forced to manually perform a flash uninstall and a fresh reinstall.

Uninstalling Your Flash Player

For additional details about uninstalling your flash player, I recommend you refer to this article: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/141/tn_14157.html

As a shortcut to the files referred to in this article, I have provided references to the Windows Uninstall programs here:
http://download.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/current/uninstall_flash_player.exe

Next, you will need to launch Internet Explorer and go to the adobe website.
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

In some cases, you may want to manually download the installer for use offline.   Consider going to this site and downloading the flash player installer for manual installations.
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/

Back Flashy Presentations

Now that you’ve upgraded the flash player referenced by Powerpoint, you can get back to viewing those flashy Xcelsius presentations.  In the future I would expect Microsoft and Adobe to fix this problem.  I hope I never have to see this message again:  Some controls on this presentation can’t be activated.  They might not be registered on this computer.

«Good BI»

Categories: Administrators, Dashboards Tags:

Xcelsius 2008 and Refresh On Load

September 29th, 2008 4 comments

Are you used to the new Xcelsius 2008 yet?  The release of SP1 has definately been a big improvement.  Like many others, I struggled with the new and improved Xcelsius.  There were a few too many quirks for me and until the release of SP1, I went back to Xcelsius 4.5.

Besides the fact that there are several “little things” that work differently between Xcelsius 2008 and 4.5, I did notice a couple of bigger things.  One in particular was the Refresh on Load feature.  I found that there was a big difference between setting the data connection to refresh on open and setting the Connection Refresh button to refresh on load.

Although I did discover a whitepaper that eventually explained it all to me, I ended up figuring this one out on my own.  I should have asked myself early on why there was a ‘refresh on open’ on both the data connection AND the connection refresh.

Data Connection – Refresh on Load

When the SWF file is launched, data is retrieved from the spreadsheet and any data connections, and then dashboard components are generated.  The Refresh On Load option forces the Data Connection to retrieve data from the source before the components are generated.

What’s the downside? The downside I discovered is that you cannot use values from the controls within the Xcelsius model to drive the prompts in your web services because in reality, the controls haven’t been ‘created’ yet.  I found that even though I had default values of “All” hard-coded in my model, I could NOT get my web services queries to fire.  Instead I would get the message:  All prompts are not filled.

In order to avoid this message, you can NOT refresh the data connection on open.  Instead you much create a connection refresh as an object on your Xcelsius model.

Connection Refresh – Refresh on Load

Connection Refresh works like it did in Xcelsius 4.5.  I wrongly assumed that I would no longer need to use a connection refresh in Xcelsius 2008, but due to the issue of not being able to set values for prompts, I found they were still necessary.

BUG?  I’m not sure if it’s a bug, but I also found that if I evoke the dynamic visibility on a Connection Refresh and the object is hidden, then the refresh on open does not work.

Here is an example (the connection refresh buttons are hidden)

Then the user clicks on the setup icon and they are exposed

From a demonstration perspective, I like to hide my Connection Refresh buttons and only display them once the user clicks in a specific area to view them.  In my case I was unable to get the refresh on open to fire on a Connection Refresh if at the time the model was opened, the object was hidden.

NOTE:  To work around this bug, I added a “transparent” button at the top of my model which was NOT hidden.  It was transparent the user could not see it.   When the model opened, the transparent CR button refreshed my web services.  This allowed me to keep my buttons “hidden” but get past the refresh bug.

Final Alternative

Creating an extra step in the lookup logic will make it possible for you to be able to use the data connection – refresh on load AND have the prompts work correctly.  Instead of having the prompt use the target cell of a selector (e.g. B2) , create a second cell that says:  =IF(ISBLANK(B2), “Default Value”, B2) and have the prompt use it instead.  This way, even if the selector value is blank, because the object has not yet been created, the prompt will always have a valid value.

Click here to download sample. BTW,I did not include the database and web service for this sample.

In Crystal Xcelsius 4.5, I was so accustomed to having my web service query prompts feed from the target cells, that it took me a little while to realized that this formula would fix the problem as well.

Summary

Based upon these findings, here are my thoughts:

  • If you want the model to come up faster (before the data has been retrieved), then always use a connection refresh – refresh on open.
  • If you want to model to have the latest data at the time it opens, then always use a data connection – refresh on open.

In general, my personal preference is to use the connection refresh because I think it’s better to allow the user to see the model as soon as possible and then wait for the refresh of the data.  I also like it because it means i don’t have to update my old Xcelsius 4.5 models to use the interim calculation I describe above.

Again, here is the whitepaper just in case you want to read the full details.

Hope this helps you as much as it helped me.

«Good BI»

Looking for an Xcelsius 2008 Best Practices Guide?

July 3rd, 2008 1 comment

I think I may have found what you are looking for. This is an excellent guide that you can use to bring best practices to all your Xcelsius work. This 16 page guide is an well thought out guide for using standard around colors, data organization, testing, etc. Implementing these best practices will undoubtedly improve your ability to create world-class Xcelsius models that are easy for others to maintain after the fact.

This guide was written by Matt Lloyd with contributing materials from Ryan Goodman and Richard Reynolds.

Download it today!! You’ll be glad you did.

Xcelsius 2008 General Best Practices Guide

Xcelsius 2008 Runtime Messages…

April 24th, 2008 7 comments

If you need to troubleshoot Xcelsius 2008 runtime messages here is another link you might want to check out. I recently ran across an error message “2170” but was not able to find it on my original list of error messages, but then I finally found it.

Click Here for the description of the runtime message.

The solution to the 2170 message when using Xcelsius was provided via YOUR posted comments to my blog.  Thank you!!

Most of the time, the issue has to do with the crossdomain.xml file.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cross-domain-policy SYSTEM "http://www.macromedia.com/xml/dtds/cross-domain-policy.dtd">
<cross-domain-policy>
 <allow-http-request-headers-from domain="*" headers="*" secure="false" />
 <allow-access-from domain="*" secure="false" />
</cross-domain-policy>

For more information about installing the crossdomain.xml file, read my previous article.  If you are STILL having problems check out these two posts.

Check out the answer on the BusinessObjects forums :
https://forums.sdn.sap.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5656068#56560685656068

There is also additional information in the BOB forums:
http://www.forumtopics.com/busobj/viewtopic.php?t=110827

Categories: Dashboards Tags: ,