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Author's profile photo Dallas Marks

Browser Envy

After several years of browser boredom, the race for the fastest and most standards-compliant browser is heating up. This month, Microsoft made a splash at SXSW with the formal release of Internet Explorer 9.  Mozilla released Firefox 4, also to great fanfare. Google updates Chrome frequently.  And Apple continues to release its Safari browser, currently on version 5, for both Mac and Windows.

I’m generally pretty quick to update the browsers on my home computers.  But updating at the office is a different story due to application compatibility issues.  SAP BusinessObjects is no different than other web-based applications – browser versions must be validated by the vendor, sometimes with accompanying patches.

A list of supported browsers is available in the supported platforms document, which can be downloaded from either the SAP Community Network site or the SAP Support Portal.  For example, you can view the latest revision (February 22, 2011) of the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 supported platforms here. On the Mac, XI 3.1 SP3 currently supports Firefox 3.0, Firefox 3.5, Safari 3.2.x, and Safari 4.0.3+.  For the PC, it’s Firefox 3.0, Firefox 3.5, IE 6.0 (SP2/SP3), IE 7.0 and IE 8.0 (using compatibility mode).

It’s important to work with your organization’s system support staff to insure a new version of a browser isn’t pushed out to users until fully tested and supported by SAP.  Although nothing formal has been announced, we should expect to see an expanded list of browsers supported when SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 goes into general availability (GA) later this year. SAP executives have also indicated that the full SAP BI suite will be mobile by the end of 2011 (Web Intelligence on a tablet – SWEET!).  This implies mobile browser support for Apple iPhone/iPad, the RIM Blackberry Playbook, and Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom.  It’s also reasonable to expect that SAP will either add additional browsers and versions to the XI 3.1 SP3 supported platforms document after rigorous testing or release a service pack later this year to broaden browser support. Remember that as of June 2010, XI R2 is no longer on patch support and may not work properly with the latest browsers.

In the meantime, keep your user’s SAP BusinessObjects experience trouble-free by sticking with supported browsers.  But don’t stop having fun with the latest browsers at home.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      My preferred choice of browser is FireFox. So naturally, I am hoping that SAP will support FireFox 4 very soon (and I think they will).
      The good thing about browsers is that they can co-exist. Therefore, I am using IE 8 to access Infoview and CMC, and FireFox 4 for everything else. 🙂
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Great blog entry, Dallas!

      I've been fighting the browser wars for many years and yes it is recommended we stick to Supported Platforms.... however, this is easier said than done.  There are many combination and permutations of Browser versions + Java + Flash + Acrobat reader... etc that would make any admin go mad.  We add more trouble when users come from external companies making our lives very interesting trying to support them.  This is what Steve Lucas calls the "second class citizen on Monday morning". At home (during the weekend) we can enjoy the latest technologies but when we come in Monday morning we "have" to use IE 6 :-). 

      Java and Flash sometimes get push to the users without them knowing it and the symptoms are only visible when they use BOBJ. We have countless issues installing and uninstalling add-in and browsers.  One more thing that frustrates is the fact that each browser has to have specific parameters set (trusted sites, display mixed content, etc) that of-course may or may not change from version to version of the browser.  In the end, we are left with a plethora of browsers + add-ins which may or may not work well together.  In my world, I choose one browser + one java version + one Flash version + etc that works great with BOBJ enterprise... if the user decides to deviate then "use at your own risk".  Unfortunately this caveat doesn't stop them from entering a support ticket and use resources to troubleshoot.


      Author's profile photo Dallas Marks
      Dallas Marks
      Blog Post Author
      Today Mozilla unleashed Firefox 6.  I realize that the folks at Mozilla need to prove that they can keep up with the Google Chrome development team.  But seriously, folks, neither enterprise software vendors nor enterprise customers want to move that fast...  On the other hand, SAP still isn't officially supporting Firefox 4, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari for MS Windows.