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BW Web Apps – New UI Element – “Flex” Like Chart

This blog features the Yahoo’s UI library and how it can be best used with BW Web applications. It will help us use the standard table control and converts into Flash based chart with animation.  

Presently, I have used BW 3.5 Web templates for YUI integration. Now many of you might ask question why you are still using BW 3.5 web templates. But after extensively testing 3.5 and 7.0 web templates, we found that 3.5 templates are really stable and have much better performance. They have very simple HTML/JavaScript and very easy to use.


YUI – Often known as “yooyey”, aka Yahoo! UI Library – It’s an extensive library of good looking UI elements based on HTML/JavaScript/JSON/CSS.  Yahoo has given nice documentation and APIs to create their UI elements easily using HTML/JavaScript.

Why is it needed?

BW 3.5 Web application designer offers standard chart UI element. It has many options to customize it to almost any requirement. It is very well integrated with the BW data and has nice jump functionality with rich context menu. But still it’s not very pretty in this era of RIAs. For some dashboarding applications we would like to have Flex like charts with animation rather than statis image based charts that standard BW offers. 

YUI offers Flash Chart object with Animation effect. It accepts data source in simple JavaScript/JSON array. Therefore, I decided to convert any of the BW standard table into a data source that is acceptable to YUI charts. The following code is based on YUI library which should make charting applications more powerful with the flavor of RIA. 


Here’s how it looks:



Steps in nutshell:

  1. Have simple Analysis table on BW 3.5 web template (Just drag and drop, do not change any other property)
  2. Surround this table with DIV/SPAN tag with ID.  This will identify the source table easily.
  3. Parse this standard table and convert into JavaScript array
  4. Give this array as input to YUI library to get Flex like chart

This is how your standard table should look like. Key figures should be in columns as shown:


Net Revenue

Plan Revenue

Target Revenue


$ 100

$ 160

$ 150


$ 200

$ 200

$ 210


Let’s directly get into the code:


Main Script:



Author: Abhijeet Jangam

Input Parameters:

sourceTable : div/span ID of the DIV surrounding the source table (MANDATORY)

destinationChart: div/span ID of the destination..This DIV/SPAN should be blank. (MANDATORY)

Column_no_line_chart: column number which should appear as line chart (OPTIONAL)



A Flex like chart should appear in the destiinationChart div/SPAN



function createColumnChart(sourceTable, destinationChart, column_no_line_chart)


  //This is the div/span surrounding the standard BW table which we are converting into flex like chart

  var outside_table=document.getElementById(sourceTable);


  //Standard BW table has few nested tables ..this is to reach the innermost table

  var inside_table = outside_table.getElementsByTagName(“TABLE”);


  //We know its always the 5th item to get the innermost table…after studying HTML J

  var rows = inside_table.item(5).getElementsByTagName(“TR”);


  //Counter start from one since we have to skip the header order to just get data rows

  var column_headers = rows.item(0).getElementsByTagName(“TD”);

  var count = rows.length-1;


  if (count <= 1) count = 0; //Avoiding condition where there are no data rows in table

  var row_ar = new Array(count); //This is our final array which will be bound to Chart


  //This loop runs through all the rows…Skipping header row as it doesn’t have data

for (var p = 1 ; p< rows.length ; p++) {

var columns = rows.item(p).getElementsByTagName(“TD”); //Finding number of columns by tag TD

var col_ar = new Array(columns.length + 1);

var p1 = “”;

var p2 = “”;

var p3 = “”;

var p4 = “”;

var p5 = “”;


//This loop runs through all the columns

for (var q = 0 ; q < columns.length ; q++)


if (q==0)  //This will form the text for the columns

p1 = columns.item(q).innerText;

else  //This will form the actual value of the column


//Following code is to clean up the number..YUI accepts only pure number. We need to remove commas and dollar signs.

var clean = “”;

clean = columns.item(q).innerText.replace(/\,/g,”) ;

if (columns.item(q).innerText.indexOf(“$”) != -1) clean = clean.substr(2,clean.length -2 );

eval(“p” + (q+1) + “= clean”);



//now values of three columns are captured…created object

var myobject = new createObject(p1, p2, p3,p4,p5);

row_ar[p-1] = myobject; //since p starts from 1..i need to decreament it



  //This is blank SWF file can host it in your environment

  YAHOO.widget.Chart.SWFURL =“;


  //Assigning the data source that we just built

  var myDataSource = new YAHOO.util.DataSource(row_ar );


  //Setting its type to JS array

  myDataSource.responseType = YAHOO.util.DataSource.TYPE_JSARRAY;


  //Configuring number of columns. These names should be same as the attributes in object

  myDataSource.responseSchema =


  fields: [ “par1″,”par2”, “par3″,”par4″,”par5”]



  //Creating series: number of series = total number of data rows

  var seriesDef = new Array(column_headers.length-1);

  //column_no_line_chart parameter holds the number of the column which should appear as line chart

  for (var x=1 ; x <column_headers.length ; x++)


  if (x == column_no_line_chart)

     seriesDef[x-1] = { displayName:  column_headers.item(x).innerText , yField: “par” + (x+1) ,  type: “line” };


     seriesDef[x-1] = { displayName:  column_headers.item(x).innerText , yField: “par” + (x+1) };



  //Finally creating chart

  var myChart = new YAHOO.widget.ColumnChart( destinationChart, myDataSource,


      xField: “par1”,

      series: seriesDef,





                  display: “right”







//This is helper function which creates objects…Note that this is restricted to 5 parameters limiting us to 5 key figures in table but can be extended by adding more parameters

function createObject(par1, par2, par3,par4, par5)


  this.par1 = par1;

  this.par2 = par2;

  this.par3 = par3;

  this.par4 = par4;

  this.par5 = par5;





How to call this script?

// ‘tbl’ is the ID of surrounding DIV of source table

// ‘myCountainer’ is the ID of the target DIV where we need chart to be displayed

// 3 ==> 3rd Key Figure (4th Column) of the table should appear as line chart, all other key figures as bar chart

  createColumnChart(‘tbl’ , ‘myContainer’, 3);


//The very first chart has object tag with ID as ‘yuigen0’. All subsequent will have ‘yuigen1’, ‘yuigen2’ and so on

  var chart_object = document.getElementById(‘yuigen0’);


//Setting the size of chart[“height”] = “50%”;[“width”] = “50%”;



  1. Free BSD licensing
  2. Flex like look and feel with animation
  3. Easy to use and maintain
  4. Complete control over all the chart elements


  1. Presently above mentioned code works only for 5 key figures in single chart. But it can be scaled to have any number of key figures
  2. Works only in IE (Since innerText method didn’t work in FF)
  3. Line chart can be obtained only for one key figure. But can be scaled to many.
  4. Jumps are still not possible.
  5. Yahoo charts is still experimental stage. Their developers mention that they are working extensively on this product and nobody commented on final release dates.

Future Work:

  1. Different kinds of charts (I’ve tried with pie chart just by changing the main method that creates chart and worked well)
  2. Scalable to any number of key figures
  3. Robust error handling
  4. For 7.0 web tempalates


Yahoo Charts


You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • This is a good and simple way to get Flex charts in BW… Much better than having to convert each report into a VC app or going for other third-party licensed flash apps…
  • A unique way of rendering BW information! Had a quick question, doesn’t the code has dependency on access to yahoo api’s, can the yahoo scripts be downloaded to develop a completely local application


    • Yes, you can download all the JS/SWF files and host in local environment. Complete source code is available for developers under BSD licensing.
      These charts are still under development and Yahoo is continuously working on it! Therefore, I’m using the JS files on Yahoo’s servers.
  • Firefox uses textContent.  I’m guessing if you “sniff” the browser that you can put either “innerText” or “textContent” into a var and use that value in your code.