Quickly Build Impressive Dashboards in SAP BW 3.5

  • by Glen Leslie, BI Product Manager, SAP Labs
  • October 1, 2004
You have a variety of options for creating and maintaining dashboards in SAP BW 3.5, including a new approach that significantly reduces your development efforts. The SAP Business Explorer (BEx) Web Application Designer in SAP BW 3.5 introduces the Web template Web item so you can easily design dashboards that your end users are sure to love.
Key Concept
A fundamental building block of the BEx Web Application Designer is the Web item. These are controls for displaying elements such as tables, charts, drop-down list boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, etc. in Web templates. SAP BW 3.5 provides roughly 30 Web items and each has a number of user-defined settings stored as SAP BW library items that can be quickly deployed repeatedly with minimal setup time.

You’ll find several new Web items in the SAP Business Explorer’s (BEx) Web Application Designer (Web AD) in SAP BW 3.5. The new Web template Web item acts like a template in a template that allows SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Web content developers to quickly build and deploy dashboards (Figure 1), which are compact displays that render Web content graphically and easily.

Figure 1
The new Web template Web item

With the template-in-template Web item, a single template contains multiple sub-templates. Content developers who reuse design elements are able to make global changes via sub-templates to enterprise-wide Web and portals content. Developers are able to maintain a uniform master template that serves as a framework for others to add detailed content using the template-in-template approach, which promotes consistency of SAP BW Web applications across an enterprise. The sub-templates readily accommodate existing Web templates created by SAP BW customers who often have invested precious resources in development.

The template-in-template concept builds on the idea of library items, which are user-defined settings for custom graphics stored in the system for later use. You can save various properties of a pie chart, for example, as library items so that it is quickly displayed as a 3-D graphic with labels formatted for currency and with specific color palette settings for each pie slice without a lot of development time.

The Web template Web item represents an advancement over the library concept in that it allows you to build discrete clusters of related Web items saved as a template and ready for inclusion in your master template rollout. Let’s say you are working with a so-called 2DD+T+C design, which features two drop-down boxes that control a table and chart that are next to each other, and you want to include that design in large number of templates. Instead of going into each individual template and adding the 2DD+T+C layout, you can simply include the entire layout in a master template.

Glen Leslie

Glen Leslie is a product manager for SAP’s Business Intelligence solution. Originally a data warehousing consultant, Glen has been working with SAP BW since the 1.2B release in a variety of environments.

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