How my first Extension Point experiment will bring Maps to Webi
For those of you who have been around in the SAP BusinessObjects ecosystem long enough, you may remember an awesome labs feature for Webi called Extension Points. Now it is back in a slightly different form as an officially supported Extension Points SDK. I have been fantasizing about integrating our location intelligence solution into Web Intelligence for years so Evan Delodder (wrote the book on SAP Dashboards SDK) and I dove in head first to give Extension Points a shot. The goal was to integrate SAP Dashboards and CMaps Analytics, which uncovered Extension Points as a hidden jewel inside of the BI4.1 platform!
What do you need to get started with Extension Points?
What is possible?
Armed with the right resources, the results can be extremely rewarding for your business users. Extension Points treats a panel as a empty shell, where you can code just about anything you can imagine. This level of control and flexibility is exactly what you want from an SDK. While our initial goals to utilize a narrow span of functionality, we found that with Extension Points SDK you can:
- Embed new input controls
- Consume data from Webi report parts into new embedded tools
- Change the structure and layout of your report document
- Create new visualizations
- Integrate third party tools and applications
- Dynamically control various report behaviors
What did we accomplish?
Rather than re-building 150 input properties for our CMaps Analytics tool in Webi, we wanted to use SAP Dashboards as our initial vehicle for delivering maps to Webi. However the end result needed to look and feel as seamless as possible for end user. In short, we built the beginnings of a deeply integrated bridge between SAP Dashboards and Webi. Currently our CMaps Analytics Extension Point consumes data from a single WebI report part, and then refresh itself as you drill or filter. With a solid foundation in place, we are onto exposing prompts, filters, and refined workflows to create an integrated experience that customers have always asked for.
I am happy to take your feedback or questions as you approach Extension Points, and will certainly report tricks and tips as we move forward.