With the introduction of SAP Business Objects 4.0, SAP has introduced a new tool for building universes, the Information Design Tool (IDT). In just about every way, IDT is a big step up from its predecessor, Universe Designer. The IDT makes development easier by providing better tools for data profiling, testing, multi-user development, OLAP universes, data federation, security and many other areas directly in the tool. IDT creates universe with file extension UNX. Designer, which is still alive and has been renamed as Universe Design Tool in 4.0, handles universes with the file extension UNV. IDT has the ability to convert a UNV universe format to the new UNX format.
While working on a migration plan, the question that many will run into is: “Should I convert my universes from the UNV to the UNX format?” and the answer is “It Depends”.
SAP clearly signals that the UNX format generated by the IDT is the future. The flagship products that are part of the enterprise suite support the UNX format in favour of the UNV format. As of service pack 6, there are still a few stragglers that support only the UNV format.
Steps to Convert BO Universe to IDT
Step 1: Open IDT
Step 2: To open a Universe Session click Insert session, as shown in the following figure. Then select the specified connection where Universe is present and import the required BO Universe.
The following screen appears and prompts for the login credentials.
Enter the Login credentials as required.
Step 3: Click OK. The following screen appears:
Step 4: To create a Project click File -> New -> Project. The following screen appears:
Step 5: Enter the Project Name and then click Finish.
Step 6: To Convert a BO Universe to IDT right click the Universe, which you want it to convert to IDT and then click Convert .unv Universe as shown in the following figure:
Step 7: Now select the Destination Repository Folder and Destination Local Project Folder, where IDT is to be Stored. Project is used to segregate similar IDT’s into one Folder
Step 8: Click the check box, Automatically convert @Prompt expressions into universe named parameters, if you want to convert the prompt also to IDT. Also click the check box Save for all users, if applicable and then click OK as shown in the following figure:
The following alert appears if converted successfully. Click Close.
Step 9: Click Yes or No, as required..
Step 10: The BO Universe will be converted to the following files:
• Business Layer. ( .blx File)
• Data Foundation. ( .dfx File)
• Connection ( .cns File for Secured Connection)
Step 11: To Publish an IDT right click the .blx file -> Publish – > To a Repository
Note: To use the IDT for reporting purpose it needs to be published to a specific repository. Please refer the screen shot for publishing IDT.
Step 12: Click Check All and Check Integrity and then click Next.
Step 13: Now select the folder where you want to publish the IDT and click Finish as shown in the following figure:
The following screen appears. Click Close.
Step 14: To change the Pointing of Universe from a WEBI Report following steps need to be followed:
I. Open the Webi report in Edit mode.
II. Go to Data Access — >Tools –> Change Source
III. Click Specify a New data Source and then click Next.
IV. Select the IDT from list of Universe and IDT, as shown in the following figure and then click Next. for e.g. IDT_QMR.unx
V. Check the Old and New Objects listed and click Finish.
Organizations not constrained by the tools will need to base their decision according to the features available in the two tools. For instance, IDT has better integration with OLAP data sources, provides enhanced security and provides tools for making multi-developer projects possible. However, IDT does not allow for universe linking which is a widely used feature in Designer.
There is one extra hurdle to clear if the universe relies on an OLAP data source. The IDT wizard does not support converting a universe with an OLAP data source. This should not provide a big problem as OLAP universes are auto generated and there is no work on the data foundation layer. The majority of the work is customizing the navigation of the business layer and can be completed quickly by a developer.
While converting, it should be kept in mind that the conversion process creates a copy of the universe and does not replace the old UNV universe. You will need to identify reports using the old universe and manually change the source from the UNV universe to the UNX. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent when converting universe formats.
The decision to convert the universe is clearly not always an easy decision to make. Most organisations will find themselves somewhere in the middle of the two choices. If all else is equal and given time and budget, it is recommended to convert to the UNX format. This lowers the hurdles to start using some of the exciting new Business Objects features and gives more flexibility in the future.
As with all projects, make sure you test the conversions thoroughly. Although it is said that conversion is a straightforward process, it must be remembered that a wizard is a tool and it has its limits. Hence with all the projects, like universe conversion projects, one must always remember to test and validate thoroughly.