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Using Visual difference – Lets make the difference

Dear All,

After a long time here in SCN, I am writing this blog about one of the quite interesting feature in BI 4.x i.e. Visual difference.

Visual difference provides an opportunity to compare two versions of BI content in order to identify the changes incorporated in each version. This will allow you to track the changes made in every version of the BI content and the content could be a Report, Universe or even a LCMBIAR file.

Visual difference background

Visual difference is one among the hosted service in APS and consumed by both Promotion management and Version management. It is not necessary to have a dedicated APS for hosting Visual difference service unless otherwise majority of your users are using it exclusively apart from Promotion/Version managements.


What & How to compare

You can compare the BI contents present in any one of the below locations

  • CMS – from a BusinessObjects repository
  • VMS – from a Version Management system repository
  • Local File System  – from a local file system


In CMS, you can select both reports and Universes.


Post selection you can compare them across repositories (CMS/VMS/LFS)


You can even schedules the difference generation similar to reports


Visual difference use case for each user category


  • Difference log – What are the changes made in my current report/Universe with reference to my previous version so that I can proceed with my development from the required version
  • Change history – What are the consolidates Changes made since from my initial Universe version (Version 0)

Test Analyst

  • Changed section – What are the only modified objects in the Universe so that I can use my test cases only for the required objects for faster testing approach?


  • Difference log – What are the changes made in user’s current report/Universe comparing earlier version?  Based on this as per user requirement I will restore my universe/report.
  • Consolidation for easier maintenance – What are differences between Sales universe and marketing universe? Can I merge both of them and create a single universe to fulfill the reporting requirements for both the departments?

Hope the blog is interesting. Let’s start using visual difference and make our work even simpler & smarter. Thanks for reading!

Comments are closed.
  • Hi Manikandan,

    Thank you for information sharing.Will try soon.

    In admin perspective is it possible to find the user rights/access level changes?

  • Mani,

    Welcome back.

    I am not sure what version you have currently. But up until BI 4.0 SP5/Patch13, you cannot select the reports and universes individually to check the visual difference. It support only LCM jobs and LCMBIAR.

    Admin Guide of 4.1 SP2 also says that “

    LCMBIAR Metadata: comparison of the job details like name, created by, time.

    Primary Objects: comparison of each of the explicitly selected objects in the LCMBIAR against Dependent Objects: comparison of the selected dependent object in the file against a similar

    If objects other than LCMBIAR or Promotion management job are selected , the following error message is displayed “Plugin not found.”

    if you select the reports or universes individually, you will get an error  “Plug in not found ” error. SAP KB article mentioned that “1548074  – Plugin not found error. (VDS 00007) error displayed when using Visual Difference in BI 4.0 CMC

  • Hi Mani,

    Thanks for the information you shared..:)

    I tried with BO 4.0 SP09 but getting the error “Plugin not found error. (VDS 00007)”.

    Could you please assist?



  • Hi Mani,

    Initially we used BO4.0 SP09. I was able to select the reports and universe to compare in the visual difference but upon running it gave the above error. Now I have upgraded the system to BO4.1 SP06 but it not even allowing me to select the universe or reports except the LCM folder. Can you please let us know which version you tried?



    • Same here. But if you enter a report/universe name from the search engine ( let’s say efashion) you will be able to see list of reports/universe having efashion word to it. however, comparing them throws error message as you have mentioned. 

      I think it is not so great tool unless it has options to compare reports/universe along with Biar and LCM jobs.


  • LCM Job view.png


    How were you able to see the folder (Reports) and universe options ? I’m able to see only LCM job folder

    – refer screenshot above.

    We are on 4.1 Sp4 and Admin guide says that we can compare only LCMJobs , Biar .

    We are planning to upgrade to SP6 from SP4. We would like to use this tool to compare reports and universes.

    Also, does it compare if there are any report formatting , report functionality differences ( Like sections/breaks/variables) and unv functionalities ( Joins , context , class, objects ,etc ..) ?

    Appreciate your help on this.

    Thank you,


    LCM Job view.png
        • Jawahar,

          Yes, my read gave me this info already. However, if you see Manikandan Elumalai blog , I see a screenshot having  All Folders/universe options( which can be selected). Not sure where he got them from or which version he was using.

          Apprecaite if you can enlight me on this and thanks for your response.

          Thank you,


          • He never answered my question. Based on Massod comment above, it looks like SAP might have enabled the feature BO 4.0 SP9 or it may be bug never worked, later on they might took out the option.

            4.1 SP6 release notes also did not mention about the feature officially,

            Currently we are on 4.1 sp5, we cannot select universes or reports.

            Check this KB- It clearly says, it does not support.

            1548074  – Plugin not found error. (VDS 00007) error displayed when using Visual Difference in BI 4.0 CMC

          • Yes, I went through this KB already. I wish Manikandan Elumalai could reply. I wanted to get an understanding on what level of comparison can this tool perform. Comparing timestamp, CUID ,parentID, etc is not going to be a huge advantage for me. I was wondering if this tool can compare if there are any formatting , Variable ,breaks, section differences ( in WEBI) and Joins , context , object name, object type etc differences in Universe.

            Thanks again.


          • Hi Chakra/Jawahar,

            Sorry for replying only now as I was in Paternity for a while. I can confirm that this is issue is still exist in BI 4.1 SP6 and my document describes only the steps to utilize the feature.

            Since apologies for the delayed response.



          • Hello Mani,

            Looks like a lot of confusions here.  Like the rest of us, I can only see the LCM folder once logged on to a CMS.  I tried both 4.1 SP05 on a RHEL6.6 deployment and 4.1 SP06 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 deployment, and I got the same result.  Can you please provide more detailed information about your blog?

            • What was your platform, Windows or Linux?
            • What version of BO have you tested?
            • What were the steps to navigate into other folders and universes?



Comments are closed.