The release of Xcelsius 2008 included an SDK allowing third party developers to create add on components. Centigon Solutions released a bundle of add on components that extend Xcelsius capabilities to new levels, allowing for new possibilities in how we deploy Xcelsius dashboards. After acquiring the add on components, I set out to do the following:
- Build a demo using all four of the new Xcelsius add in components from Centigon Solutions.
- Use the fewest number of components to build a dashboard that illustrates the power of these add-ons.
- Don t use any complex Excel logic to make the dashboard work.
The result is the dashboard below. The extra branding stuff is for Centigon Solutions to use for marketing purposes. I will do my best to clean everything up and post the source files in upcoming weeks.
The Background Builder provides easy to use properties allowing for unlimited combinations of sleek aesthetics. This dashboard example utilizes four Background Builder components configured using various images, textures, bevels, shadows, colors, and highlights. Without this component, I am limited to four or five background styles, or spend hours in Photoshop and still don t come close to the Background Builder.
Dynamic Sort is a powerful component that allows you to sort a range of data without using a single line of logic. This example evaluates the range displayed within a chart, then sorts based on a selected measure. To replicate the Dynamic Sort functionality, it would have taken me over an hour of creating extensive logic, rather than linking two properties.
Reverse Selector streamlines what-if analysis capabilities within a dashboard using a single value component to change many input variables. This example uses two sliders that modify 40 input variables without any logic. Before the Reverse Selector existed, I would have stacked 40 components on top of each other and linked them using dynamic visibility. That is well over 100 bindings, vs 6 with the Reverse Selector. The time I have saved using this component makes it a must have if you build calculators or input forms with Xcelsius.
This may be the most obvious component not only because of the familiarity of Google Maps, but also because of the opportunities a mash-up component like this can create. This add in Xcelsius component is available as a free beta and still needs some work before it is ready for prime time, but still has enough built in functionality to navigate regional data. I am excited to see where the GMaps Plugin component goes as it moves on its current beta form.
You can get a free trial of the components at the Centigon Solutions website. They are unlimited usage trials which let you test the full capabilities of each component. The trial restrictions go into affect when you publish a SWF from Xcelsius. It is then that the components stop functioning seven days after the publish date. This gives you a lot of flexibility to share and test before you or your customer will need to purchase anything.www.centigonsolutions.com.
Article by Ryan Goodman