SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise BI 4.0 – What’s New with the SDKs?
I’m a Senior Support Engineer with the SAP Business Intelligence SDK Support Group, specializing in the SDKs provided with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise, Crystal Report, and Web Intelligence.
My particular interests are in new functionalities, little-known or not-well-documented corners of the SDK, and curiousities that I occasionally come across in my daily life as a Support Guy.
You’re welcome to suggest a topic for me to discuss – I’m always on the hunt for the shiny new or the strange and wonderful.
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise BI 4.0, the newest version of the world’s best Business Intelligence suite, is now in Release! It’s currently in Ramp-Up – meaning limited in availability to a few select customers – but will be going into General Availability soon next year.
I’ve been participating in its internal Beta this past year, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. When you start working with it, you’ll see why – there’s marked advancements in new features and usability over XI 3.1 (and that version was pretty impressive in its own right when it came out).
There’d be no way I’d be able to discuss all the cool new things that come with 4.0 in my blogs. For good introductory material to get you started, I highly recommend Bringing new innovations to the way we learn BI in 4.0 where she describes the fruits of the e-Learning efforts she took part in coordinating.
What’s new in the SDK front? The SAP BI suite has always accommodated custom coders, integrators, OEM and Partners, and this new version is no different. Some of the new stuff is just plain awesome!
In this and upcoming blogs, I’ll highlight some of the new features that I particularly find compelling.
Let me briefly describe some of them here:
- Platform Search API. BI 4.0 Platform Search is the successor to the Content Search functionality introduced with XI 3.0. There’s vast improvements in searchability, usability and scalability in the search query engine and indexer.
But most significantly, from my perspective, there’s now a public API integrated within the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise SDK.
I spent a morning reading the API and writing a single page of code, and got what amounts to a Google for your Business Intelligence documents.
If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to find a particular report within Folders or Categories, you’ll be happy to know that 4.0 now brings a new organizational metaphor – the Search Paradigm.
- Data Access Connection SDK. A Java-based API for creating and modifying Universe, both old (unv) and new (unx), relational data connections.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Universe Designer SDK, that was used for this purpose in previous versions. But for a lot of tasks, one doesn’t need all of its functionality, and you often encounter limitations imposed by it being based on COM.
One common task for which the DAC SDK is ideal is in implemented automated security updates to the data connection identity passwords.
Crystal Reports export enhancements. (a) New export formats like the read-only RPT (RPTR) format, and (b) ability to modify the export format list in the Crystal Reports viewer.
Auditing. One significant feature of 4.0 auditing is the ability to trace workflow via actions. So if you see that one of the Enterprise servers requested, say, a Crystal Report service, you’ll be able to trace back via auditing to determine what application or other server requested that service.
This extends to custom applications. An enhancement to the Enterprise SDK allows for registering a custom application with the auditing framework, such that it’ll be able to record which custom application was used to log a User on. You’ll then be able to trace what services the User requested via the custom app.
A very useful feature for determining client usage and identifying bottlenecks within your BI system.
Monitoring Probes. The monitoring framework – new with 4.0 – allow for periodically probing the state of your Enterprise servers by periodically scanning server metrics and running reports determining success/failure and performance. We provide you with a comprehensive set of ‘probes’ for you to utilize.
But only you would know your BI system the best, and determine what kinds of tests are required to determine the health of your system.
This is where the Monitoring Probes API comes in – with a bit of code, you can create your own probes.
Before 4.0, usually this functionality was implemented using a bit of Java Program Object coding, but that never really integrated fully into the Enterprise system, nor did they provide standard interfaces to 3rd party monitoring systems.
Multilingual InfoObjects. Now, with 4.0, your BI contents may be given locale-dependent names and descriptions, managed by the enhanced Translation Management Tool. This is certainly a must for any global organization.
The Enterprise SDK has been enhanced to work with such multi-lingual InfoObjects.
In subsequent blogs, I’ll give more details concerning each of the above, including bits of sample code. As I write each blog, I’ll update this one to link it forward. So keep an eye on this page!