A colleague of mine in the USA put together the following around what he thinks are the compelling arguments to make Rich Client available to users. Having read the list I thought it was of interest to a wider audience and Kevin kindly agreed for me to reproduce it on my Blog.
- The most significant plus for using WebI Rich Client is where off line interactivity is needed or beneficial. Almost every developer creating advanced/complex reports I come across will use Rich Client for the bulk of their developing. They like not having to keep a web session active, nor the unexpected network slowdown to disrupt progress.
- The business would benefit considerably as analysts will work from home often after hours. It can be especially frustrating to work with the Web version while connecting via a VPN. Moving report elements around and even adding variables can be sluggish over a VPN.
- A big advantage with working in Rich Client is the speed at which you can format large reports. Time savings can be achieved by switching to the ‘Structure’ view in the Web version of the tool, but developers often like to see the actual output of the report while developing. Rich client handles the larger/complex reports better than web based.
- Sometimes developers want to integrate with an existing “Source Safe” tool as the Rich Client allows saving of files to client file system or a shared File Server (i.e. TMS_CPF Integration Shared Docs).
- Having Rich Client would be an effective and efficient tool for any troubleshooting exercises where he needs to isolate an issue as a report issue…or a web application issue. Sometimes odd behaviours are believed to be an issue with the report itself…when it turns out to be a web application issue. Sometimes Rich Client helps you get to a conclusion or bring a problem into greater focus. Not a critical reason…but you are glad you have the tool available in those situations.
- It may be out of alignment with the overall objectives of BI, but some analysts do actively use non-universe data sources (Excel files) to create some reports in an effort to turn around “fire drill” requests. The goal of any BI project should strive to reduce such activity, but not necessarily prevent it. Developing against these file types is possible in Rich Client and not web based WebI.
- A downside to deploying Rich Client to selective users is that it must be kept in sync with the server version. This would be an IT consideration obviously. To help facilitate end user acceptance on the business side, at some point IT has to trust business report developers to use the tool according to any guidelines and support them with keeping the tool up to date.
What are your thoughts? Do you see any other value or negatives in releasing the Rich Client to users?