Information Design Tool vs. Universe Designer: A Primer for Users

  • by Mike McErlain, Senior BI Consultant
  • August 20, 2013
Are you making the transition from Universe Designer tools to the new Information Design Tool (IDT) in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0? Read this report by Mike McErlain to gain an understanding of how to translate your Universe Designer skills to IDT skills. See the major differences between the two tools and get an introduction to the features of the IDT that make maintaining universes easier.
Key Concept

In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.x the .UNV universe is still supported by some tools. However, most newer information delivery tools will only support the BI 4.x version of the universe with .UNX. To work with .UNX universes requires using the Information Design Tool (IDT).

As a consultant I experience different user cultures at each site I visit. One of the common threads I’ve noticed since the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 is the difficulty many users of the old Universe Designer have had adapting to the new Information Design Tool (IDT). Initially, I too struggled. After all, I had been using the Universe Designer since 1994, and we accomplished some interesting things together in those times.

First of all, let me be clear: I am aware that the Universe Designer has a place in BI 4.x and that anyone with a significant investment in UNV universes (UNV is the extension of Universe Designer files) can continue to maintain UNV universes to support existing content. However, SAP has made it clear that the future path to data goes through the IDT and UNX universes (UNX is the IDT’s file extension), which will power the delivery tools of the future. This arrangement leaves users with an additional consideration of how to manage existing content that uses UNV universes going forward. Undoubtedly, there are sites that will end up maintaining both a UNV version of a universe and a UNX version of the same universe to support past and future content.

The following comparison is intended to assist you in making the transition from Universe Designer (3.x) or the Universes Design Tool (4.x) and .UNV universes to the IDT and .UNX universe.

Mike McErlain

Mike McErlain, CBIP, is a senior BI consultant with more than 30 years of getting strategic enterprise information to the right people at the right time. He started specializing in the SAP BOE platform in 1994. Mike is the proud grandparent of seven beautiful children. His leisure time is spent on the golf course with family and friends.

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