Solution Manager 7.1: The return of the widget
Widgets, everyone has heard of them, small and simple applications that provide the end-user with relevant information. Some years ago widgets were a real hype and SAP had a specific widget available for SAP Solution Manager and the necessary guides and information on how to build your own widget. That widget is not available anymore though but I invite you to read on and find out about the return of the widget.
Let’s be honest, the system monitoring functionality in the new SAP Solution Manager 7.1 simply looks great! I only took a screenshot of a small part of my screen to show the way CPU metrics are displayed. In my opinion the new monitoring features on their own are already reason enough to throw out Solution Manager 7.0 and install Solution Manager 7.1 or to upgrade an existing Solution Manager 7.0 to Solution Manager 7.1.
It’s not just the monitoring itself that is nicely done, the integration into other area’s of Solution Manager is also a very positive pointer and the results into a powerful combination of tools and services to help you manage your SAP system landscapes.
The return of the widget
Solution Manager 7.1 features a widget in the system monitoring scenario. You can find the widget by navigating to the Technical Monitoring work center and then going to the System Monitoring feature (see picture 1.1). After selecting one or multiple SAP systems from the list in the right pane and clicking the System Monitoring button to start the system monitoring application.
On the top right you will notice the download link “Download widget” (see picture 1.2). After clicking the link a pop-up will appear (see picture 1.3). To get the widget up and running simply follow the instructions which are referenced in the pop-up.
Getting the widget up and running
To configure the widget (see picture 1.4) to connect to Solution Manager you need to maintain the Widget Preferences. You can access the Widget Preferences by right clicking the widget and clicking on the Widget Preferences menu option (see picture 1.5). The first tab is the System Monitoring Settings which you can see in picture 1.6. In the input field of the Web Service URL* you have to enter the web service url. Note that the port 80<instance number> is used so 8001 is only valid for the specific SAP Solution Manager system I used for this example.
Web Service URL*:
In picture 1.7 you can see the configuration of which monitoring objects you wish to display on the widget. By default there the maximum amount of monitored object you can display equals to five. You can look-up the monitored object name in the monitoring tree that resides on the same page as the download widget link (reference picture 1.2). Note that picture 1.7 and 1.8 are examples in which I erased the SAP system identifier (picture 1.7) and the SAP system identifier and the host name (picture 1.8). This means you would normally use AA1~ABAP for example as monitored object.
If you have been reading this blog very carefully you might have noticed already that the widget in picture 1.9 does not look the same as the widget shown previously in this blog (ref picture 1.4). After the widget was up and running (see picture 1.9 for an example) the customer stepped into the office and told us that looks cool but the red icon is not very visible on the dark blue background. At moments like those the wheels in my head are set in motion, crackling perhaps, they start spinning and ideas flow in. I was like mm interesting, we should look into changing this widget. I started to search for a widget editor but I couldn’t directly find any tool that seemed to offer what I was looking for.
Lets try something
After the failed quest for a proper widget editor I decided to just take a peek what was inside of the .widget file and I renamed the .widget file into a .zip file and opened it up with winrar. To my surprise (maybe a bit exaggerated) I could just extract the widget content to my disk 🙂 .
After unpacking the widget I started to look into the different files that are available out of which the widget is build. You can clearly see in picture 2.0 that the widget is build using the MVC (Model – View – Controller) method. This brings back memories of the old days (I know I’m not that old yet but hey it’s a catchy phrase to use).
I’m not going to spool the fun just yet and spill out each location of what is what and what is where. I’ll leave that for you to find out yourself for now at least. If you can’t figure it out you probably better leave the widget as is but I might write another blog post somewhere in the future to give some hints to those who are not into programming.
What changes have I made to the widget so far? Not that many actually. I just played around with it during a relative short amount of time and changed the overal color scheme of the widget. To do that I edited the picture parts in GIMP (freeware) and shaded the widget a lighter blue color and I adjusted the stylesheet of the widget to use different font sizes, family and color. Another test I did was adding a sixth monitored object which also works fine. As I mentioned before the default maximum is five.
After you have adjusted files in the extracted folder, pack the widget back in using winrar (or another zip tool) and make sure you end up with the same folder structure again. Then simply rename the .zip to .widget and load the widget using the Yahoo Widget applications on your desktop.
*Tip: Use a different folder name for the start folder. The default is symon, if you name it symon2 and you pack it up like that into symon2.widget, you have a second widget instead of replacing your original widget.
Imagine what other widgets can be build based on this source. Is it legal, are you allowed to by SAP? No idea to be honest. It used to be legit for sure since there are multiple sources on SCN that are related to building these kind of widgets. For some reason there is an older Solution Manager widget which is no longer available for download. Although it was largely based on a similar concept the links are no longer working and you are referenced to another page.
The source code of the widget from Solution Manager 7.1 contains everything you need though to build your own widgets.
There are also still lots of informations sources available on SCN concerning widgets. Search for keywords such as “widgets” to find out more.