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With the help of various authoring groups at SAP, the Business Objects Publishing Team recently released the BusinessObjects XI 3.1 documentation library in Eclipse plugin format. This allows you to serve up BusinessObjects documentation on your corporate intranet (or locally on your own computer) using an Eclipse Standalone Information Center, which is a browser based application.

 

Why is this a good thing? Instead of searching through numerous PDF files, you can search all documentation at once and navigate the BusinessObjects library through a single interface.

 

In this quick tutorial, we’ll download and deploy an Eclipse Information Center and plug in the BusinessObjects documentation library.

 

Downloading the BusinessObjects XI 3.1 documentation plugins and installation guide

 

1. Navigate to http://help.sap.com/.

2. Click on the SAP BusinessObjects tab

3. In the left pane, click the SAP BuisnessObjects link.

 

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4. Locate the “Documentation Library” download. The documentation library is available in a number of languages. In this example, we install English, so we select the “Documentation Library” download. Download it to your computer.

 

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Tip:  Here’s a direct link to the zip file to save you some time: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir3/en/xi3_doclib.zip

5. The Documentation library zip file (xi3_doclib.zip) contains the BusinessObjects documentation plugins and a PDF with setup instructions.  Extract the contents of the zip file to a folder on your machine (e.g. a folder on your desktop).

 

Deploying Eclipse

 

1. The installation guide tells us that the doc plugins have been tested with Eclipse version 3.3.2. There’s a later version of Eclipse but we will stick with this one since it has been tested. You can download the Eclipse 3.3.2 package for Windows directly using this link:

http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/download.php?file=/eclipse/downloads/drops/R-3.3.2-200802211800/eclipse-platform-3.3.2-win32.zip

2. Deploying Eclipse is simply an extract procedure. Extract the zip file  to a directory you want to use for Eclipse. I extract the contents to my C:\ drive:

 

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Once the Eclipse zip file is extracted to your machine, the C:\eclipse directory appears as follows: 

 

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Starting (and stopping) Eclipse

 

Next, we will start Eclipse. This is done via a java command from a command window. The installation guide provides an example command. We will use a slightly modified version of this command suited to our installation. To make life easy, I like to place the command in a .bat file and save it to my desktop.

To create a BAT file for starting Eclipse:

1. Open a text editor.

2. Copy the following command into the file:

java -classpath c:\eclipse\plugins\org.eclipse.help.base_3.3.1.v20070813_33x.jar org.eclipse.help.standalone.Infocenter -command start -eclipsehome c:\eclipse -port 8081 -nl en -locales en

3. Name it something like “starteclipse.bat” and save it to your desktop.

———————————- 

What have I modified in the command above compared to the command example in the installation guide?

  • My java location is defined as a classpath environment variable on my machine, so I don’t need to explicity define it in the startup command. You will need to define the java path in your classpath environment variable to use the start/stop commands I’ve defined in this tutorial.
  • I’ve changed the location of my Eclipse installation. I installed to C:\ instead of D:\
  • I chose port 8081, because I can
  • -nl and -locales parameters are set to ‘en’ for English since this is an English only setup.

———————————- 

While I am at it, I am going to create another BAT file for stopping Eclipse:

1. Open a text editor.

2. Copy the following command into the file:

java -classpath c:\eclipse\plugins\org.eclipse.help.base_3.3.100.v20080617.jar org.eclipse.help.standalone.Infocenter -command shutdown -eclipsehome c:\eclipse -port 8081

3. Name it something like “stopeclipse.bat” and save it to your desktop.

You will need to stop and restart eclipse to update plugins.

Now, let’s start Eclipse and make sure it works. Click on the starteclipse.bat file. When you run this bat file, a command window opens (shown below). The command window stays open after you run the command. Minimize it.

 

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With Eclipse started, you can now open your browser and launch the Eclipse help system using the following URL:

http://localhost:8081/help/index.jsp

I use “localhost” as my server name since I am launching the information center on my local machine. If opening the Information Center from another machine, you would specify the machine name/server name instead of ‘localhost’. e.g. (http://yourmachinename:8081/help/index.jsp)

The Eclipse Information Center appears as follows:

 

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Deploying the BusinessObjects library plugins

 

Next, we’re going to deploy the BusinessObjects library plugins to the Eclipse Information Center. We’ll also remove the default Eclipse Workbench User Guide doc plugin.

1. Stop Eclipse by clicking on the stopeclipse.bat file. The command window that opened previously when you started Eclipse will appear, then close.

2. Return to the folder where you extracted the contents of the xi3_doclib.zip file. In this folder there are two zip files.

  • xi3_doclib_en.zip (XI 3.1 BusinessObjects Library)
  • xi3_doclib_navigation.zip (High level navigation topics) 

 3. Extract the contents of these two files to C:\eclipse\plugins

 

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4. Before restarting the Elcipse Information Center, let’s remove the default Eclipse Workbench User Guide plugin. This is a BuisnessObjects library, so we don’t need the Eclipse documentation.

In the C:\eclipse\plugins directory, locate the org.eclipse.platform.doc.user_3.3.0.M20070913-1400.jar file and delete it.

 

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5. Start Eclipse again by running the starteclipse.bat file.

6. Launch the Eclipse Information Center by opening your browser to the following URL: http://localhost:8081/help/index.jsp

The Eclipse Information Center now displays the BusinessObjects Library which includes 14 doc plugins.  

 

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Performing a search

 

The first time you perform a search, Eclipse creates a search index. This will take a few minutes.

A search on “SAP” returns the following results:

 

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And that’s it. The installation guide contains more information you might be interested in, including additional parameters for the java startup command and information about customizing the Eclipse Information Center – something you may want to do for your corporate intranet.  

Side note: Other companies such as IBM deliver documentation in Eclipse plugin format. It might involve a little work but you could conceivably serve BusinessObjects documentation with other vendor documentation plugins (such IBM DB2 database documentation plugins) from a single online help system on your corporate intranet. Creating your own Eclipse doc plugins is also quite easy.

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2 Comments

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  1. Harry van der Kolk
    Dan,

    Great blog!!

    Only the command to stop Eclipse doesn’t work (at least for me). The file ‘org.eclipse.help.base_3.3.100.v20080617.jar ‘ is not available in the plugin folder.

    I just copied the start command and changed: -command start to -command shutdown

    Now everything is working just fine.

    Cheers,
    Harry

    (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Thanks for catching the error in the command statement for stopping Elicpse, Harry. I’ve made the correction in the blog.
      (0) 

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