Take Remote Control of Web Intelligence Tables Using Element Links

  • by Alan Mayer, President, Solid Ground Technologies, Inc.
  • July 25, 2013
With the advent of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 came the element link, a short, wizard-driven method for creating links between blocks within the same report. There is no need for a second report to refresh because the first document supplies all data. The link allows a cell in one block to act as a filter for the second table. With this technique, reports can be more interactive — almost dashboard-like from a user’s perspective. The technique is not foolproof, however. There are situations in which this link does not work. Learn the ground rules for creating a successful link and find out the areas in which the link does not work as advertised.
Key Concept

An element link is a new type of input control added in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 that allows one block to control another block regardless of format (e.g., horizontal table, vertical table, crosstab, chart). It converts values from that first block to hyperlinks that can then filter the second block based on the value selected.

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence (also known as WebI) has added many online features since its introduction as BusinessObjects’ first browser-based report writer. One trick that has always eluded the tool, however, is the ability to control tables or graphs from other tables within the same report page. BusinessObjects BI 4.0 has bridged that gap with the introduction of element links.

When properly created, these links allow users to interact with their reports in an almost dashboard-like manner with very little setup. I explain how to best use this new ability through an example that can be created using sample data distributed with BusinessObjects. I provide you with guidance and warnings that highlight situations for which element links don’t work as expected.

Alan Mayer

Alan Mayer is president at Solid Ground Technologies, Inc. He has built customer-focused, BusinessObjects-based solutions for the last 20 years. His original company, Integra Solutions, was one of the first BusinessObjects partners that joined the program in 1995. His company provided the first authorized set of training manuals that were later purchased by the software vendor for nationwide distribution. Solutions from his firm have been adopted by a wide variety of industries, from healthcare to banking, manufacturing, and retail.

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