Explaining Data Connections of Xcelsius 2008 – XWIS
In this post I’d like to introduce, and recommend, a great data connectivity type of Xcelsius, Xcelsius Web Intelligence Integration Suite, or XWIS for short. Though not a native connectivity that shipped along with Xcelsius itself, XWIS is also widely used. XWIS has won many prizes and has been enjoying a high reputation since born.
What it is
XWIS is an add-on of Xcelsius, developed by Antivia, for you to connect to Web Intelligence document hosted on your Business Objects Enterprise environment from within your Xcelsius dashboard, easily and quickly.
If you have read the chapters about Xcelsius SDK of this book, you know that we can develop custom UI or data connectivity components with Xcelsius SDK. XWIS is one kind of custom data connectivity component, and the best one so far. To be accurate, XWIS is a SUITE of add-ons, with many custom UI components aside from the data connectivity component.
What you can achieve with it
Sometimes if you want your Xcelsius dashboard to consume data from Web Intelligence documents, the traditional way is to insert parts of the Web Intelligence documents into a Live Office-enabled Excel worksheet and then add Live Office connections in Xcelsius, or to publish data in blocks of the Web Intelligence documents as web service from Web Intelligence Rich Client. The disadvantages are that this way is not very straight-forward, requires many steps in Excel and Xcelsius environments, and you can’t drill in Xcelsius as you do in Web Intelligence documents.
Basically, with XWIS you can connect to Web Intelligence documents, directly. You needn’t bother to create a Live Office document, import it into Xcelsius, or add Live Office connections. This can dramatically reduce your dashboard development time and cost.
Of course, XWIS is more than simply connecting to Web Intelligence. First, you can bind data from Web Intelligence documents directly to UI components without the intermediator of the embedded Excel spreadsheet. The power of this is that you can forget the maximum number of rows limit of Xcelsius, to bind data of as many rows as there are to your UI component such as a Filter.
Second, it provides out-of-the-box drill down and slice and dice capability. That’s, if you have defined hierarchy in Web Intelligence document, you can also drill down inside Xcelsius, as what you do in the original webi document. For example, you can put a custom List View component provided by XWIS to your Xcelsius canvas and bind it to the Web Intelligence data to show the original data, and insert the data to a cell range in the embedded spreadsheet. You then put a Chart of Xcelsius near the List View. The consumer can drill down along the hierarchy in the List View, and in the meantime, the corresponding data for the current level is displayed in the Pie chart.
Another useful functionality of XWIS is that you can even disconnect from live data source (BOE) and take your dashboard offline for sharing or presentation. With Live Office you can also take your dashboard offline with snapshot data, but XWIS is more than that – drill down and slice-and-dice are still available when disconnected.
Last but not least, the users can leave comments within the dashboard to share their opinions – this can be very useful in collaboration and decision making.
How you use it
Antivia website provides a detailed step-by-step video about how to use XWIS to connect your Xcelsius dashboard to Web Intelligence. If you have problem in using it, you can leave comments to this blog or contact Antivia directly.
The famous custom UI components package, XComponnets, developed by Donald MacCormick, is now also hosted on Antivia. Donald is so kind to provide so many useful custom UI components, for free.
Great article on XWIS. Three things I would add :-
1) XWIS provides Xcelsius with connectivity directly to Crystal Reports inside BOBJ and to standalone SQL and OLAP databases
2) XWIS also allows you to broadcast dashboards to users with secure, user specific data (aka bursting)
3) There is a version for mobiles and tablets in development, see http://bit.ly/9s2q8c