SAP Designstudio 1.5 PDF Export comparison with BI excellence openbi Export

Why Export Matters

The modern digital office is paperless. Data can be better and more flexibly organized, structured, analysed and consumed when it is presented in an intuitive app than printed on paper.

We all agree on that. But there are two mistakes that are often made when it comes to exporting:

  1. Export = PrintingExport is not just printing! You may want to store an analysis track in a PDF to share with your colleagues or store on your disk for later reference. You may also be obliged to store signed PDFs to document projects for the authorities. You may frequently create presentations (PowerPoint), briefing books (Word) or lists (Excel) with tables and charts based on data from your BI systems.Conclusion:Even in the paperless office you need an export function from your (BI) applications!
  2. Export is simple and always the sameYou may be tempted to say exporting data is no big deal. You just want to export what you see on your screen.Are you really sure? At bi excellence we have 8 years of experience with exporting from SAP systems.What we have learnt? Each customer, each department, each user has his own requirements on exports – and most of the time, it is based on what they see on the screen, but different: Exclude content from the export, add information, add a logo, export in a template with the corporate design, delete scrollbars to show whole table contents, add the layout of the table!Conclusion:As export requirements are plenty, the best solution is an export toolset!

Exporting has always been neglected by SAP. Remember the features offered by SAP Web Application Designer. If you tried out the export functions of SAP DesignStudio 1.4 you know that the situation is still the same. That is why we have created our DesignStudio Export Add-on (details on www.designstudio-export.com) Now 1.5 is out and offers a PDF Export component. Is it usable? Is there still a use for a third-party export solution? This is what we want to clarify in this blog. Exporting with Design Studio 1.5For a detailed description of how to add SAP’s export feature to your application you can check out our blog “Testing the Export Feature of SAP BO Design Studio 1.5“.With Design Studio 1.5 SAP delivers a technical component, which allows for three ways of exporting:

  • “exportApplication”: Exports all elements of the application one by one below each other, SAP calls this “report layout”
  • “exportApplicationScreen” : Allows you to create a WYSIWYG copy of the application
  • “exportPanelScreen” : Allows you to create a WYSIWYG copy of a specific panel (helpful if you use tabs or page books)

You can call these functions from any button, icon or link on your application. Unfortunately the only thing you can configure is the image that shall appear in the left upper corner of the export document.

When starting the export the user is presented a popup, where page size, orientation and header and footer can be customized – this allows for some additional configuration. But do you really want your users to always enter something there? They certainly expect filters, report titles, page counters or some standard texts to be added automatically. A one click export would be much more convenient!

And this is what you receive as a result:

You can see that headers and footers have a fixed layout. What if a business requirement is to nicely layout the header and footer?  You can add your company logo – fine. But only in the upper left corner. What if you want to have it on the right?For sure you would also like to get rid of some buttons in the print out. E.g. you might like to configure the export to automatically hide the “export” and “clear filter” buttons. This is not possible.Now let’s zoom in to 200%: You can see that the export is not vectorised as you are used to from PDF. Not even the SAP’s standard text components are vectorised! The quality is too bad for a decent print out.

The same problems come up when you choose the “report layout” export:The export then delivers one component by page. You cannot choose a sorting, nor can you hide certain elements from the export. Again, the exports are pure images, not vectorized. And what if I have long tables, e.g. ones with a scrollbar? The scrollbar is deleted – but: The additional lines are not displayed.Exporting with bi excellence 4 sapSo if SAP now already provides a built-in export feature, why should you still look for a third-party solution?Of course, if you just want to bring your data somehow into a PDF document, SAP’s solution will do the job. So from an IT department perspective you could stop reading here. But what about business requirements?A lot of our requests are concerning special and sophisticated Export requirements. And from our point of view, each department in a company working with SAP DesignStudio will raise them sooner or later!First of all, talking about simple PDF export:Charts in the standard export show pixels in the charts. In the modern times of vectorised rendering, this looks really ugly. This is how the same Design Studio application looks in PDF if our export is used – this time even zoomed in to 600%!Also, any department would like to create a PDF in the Corporate Design. As we are used to everything looking neat after the dawn of mobile apps, we also want to have our exports in good quality. This means not only adding some information in the header and footer in some font, but being able to fully customize these areas following Corporate Design guidelines and including any information you want to see. With our DesingStudio Addon you have full flexibility to configure headers and footers using HTML and applying CSS styles. Moreover you can simply show any information of your DesignStudio application, e.g. filter settings or a general chart!This flexibility is the same for the content area: You choose which content you want to show in the report. You can even change the styling of the content to optimize it for the exports!If you do not want to use the WYSIWYG mode, you can even choose where to show the content (via specific print layouts) and change tables that were shown with scrollbars to appear in full size in the export. Repeating headers – of course!The following illustration shows to you our interpretation of the “report layout”: You can flexibly choose what to export, where to export and – most important – the full table is exported!

Now imagine that it is similarly simple to export also to PowerPoint, Word or Excel.You configure which components you want to show in the generated document. You can also upload a template in your Corporate Design layout to receive appealing exports very easily!Of course, also here we support the more sophisticated requirements: You can create ready-for-presentation documents or briefing books, including texts, table of contents etc. and add placeholders for your DesignStudio components. Then, users can create their monthly management presentation or briefing book with just one click.Moreover, you can even choose to split huge tables across multiple slides or pages, you can export them in native tables so they remain editable, keeping the layout from the DesignStudio application at the same time.

And now the tricky stuff – concerning publishing.So far we only talked about returning the content that a user sees directly to her or him in the browser. What if the export process business looks for is a complete different one?

  • Export the dashboard they are currently viewing for different selections at the same time, e.g. for all four sales regions (so called iterative exports).
  • Include not only the currently viewed content, but add detailed information or information contained in other tabs or dashboards.
  • Flexibly choose which views to add in an export – e.g. to document the navigation steps performed during analysis, or to individually create a briefing book.
  • Support PDF signing processes as well as distributing the document to a web service or file share for publication.
  • Sending the document to a mail recipient.

This is all possible with our export toolbox. And even more, as the platform can be enhanced easily to fit your custom requirements!

Ask us for a free trial or low-cost PoC project via sales@biexcellence.com.

The following table shall give you a good overview of standard and our third-party add on export capabilities:

Feature Comparison

SAP

DesignStudio 1.5

bi excellence

4 sap

General

Export Quality

Pixels visible in charts

PDF: vectorised, other formats: up to 5 times screen resolution

Support of Custom Components

P

P

Publish Modes

Online

Online, Mail, Web Service, File System

Corporate Templates / Design

O

P

Tab Support / Hidden Components

P

P

How to papers available

End User Export Dialog / Handling

P

All parameters available in properties pane, custom popup via scripting

Scripting support

O

P

Ready for custom requirements

O

P

Expandable toolbox

Multiple applications in one document

O

P

Multiple selections of application in one document

O

P

Flexible compilation of briefing books via “Add to” feature

O

P

RTL / LTR support

P

P

Architecture

Built in via JavaScript framework

HTTP request to open bi Service on premise / cloud

Target: PDF

WYSIWYG Export

P

P

Explicit Print Layouts

O

P

Headers and Footers

P

P

fully customizable: include filters, logos, HTML, placeholders

Full table content, repetition of headers, split of wide tables

O

P

Change styling of elements

O

P

Documents with title page and table of contents

O

P

via Word Template

Target: PowerPoint

WYSIWYG Export

O

P

Multi-Slide Export

O

P

Text as image / text

O

P

Table as image / native table, split on multiple slides

O

P

Target: Word

Export selected components

O

P

Placeholders for contents

O

P

Text as image / text

O

P

Table as image / native table, header repetition

O

P

Target: Excel

Export selected components

P

P

Corporate Templates

O

P

Formatted Table Export

P

P

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3 Comments

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  1. Marcus Preis

    Hey folks,

    I have tried the new PDF technical component and I like it a lot.

    It works perfectly fine in the normal mode (design studio connected to sap BW).

    If I execute my dashboard, it shows me the new “export to pdf”-window where I am able to choose settings like format etc.

    But as soon as I use the design studio template with the Netweaver Portal (design studio iview), I am running into this error:

    /wp-content/uploads/2015/08/error_ds_769364.png

    Anyone experienced something similar?

    I am using DS 1.5 (most recent version) and SAP NW 730 SP08.

    Thanks and regards,

    Marcus

    (0) 

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