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Carsten Mönning and Waldemar Schiller


In this blog post, we present a pretty straightforward way of setting up an automatically refreshing BusinessObjects Business Intelligence document dashboard with the help of a conventional Raspberry Pi 2 Model B unit. You may take this as an inspiration for a lab project along the lines of “A Hadoop Data Lab Project on Raspberry Pi”, http://bit.ly/1dqm8yO. However, the setup is robust and simple enough to maintain to use it, for example, for the operation of a war room terminal showing an automatically refreshing Web Intelligence key figure report within a BusinessObjects Business Intelligence production environment.

The basic idea is to force a database refresh of a BusinessObjects Business Intelligence document referenced via a standard SAP OpenDocument URL which is reloaded automatically with the help of an auto reload add-on to the Debian “Iceweasel” web browser. The OpenDocument URL will represent the browser’s landing page. For this to be more than a totally meaningless exercise, it is assumed that the data source for the Business Intelligence document is updated at least as frequently as the web browser’s landing page. We have been using this setup in context with the SAP CRM embedded Business Warehouse out-of-the-box “real-time” info providers configured to be updated at 15 minute intervals thereby ending up with a report dashboard of 15 minute accuracy using standard SAP technology (and a Raspberry Pi). With the browser and its landing page set to launch automatically upon Raspberry Pi boot up, this setup can be turned into something like a ‘plug-and-play’ solution for straightforward BusinessObjects document dashboard implementations.

We are assuming a basic knowledge of Linux commands. The installation and configuration process should take no more than 45 minutes in total.

Preliminaries

The following Raspberry Pi 2 Model B bits and pieces are required to get things off the ground:

  • A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (quadcore CPU, 1 GB RAM).
  • 8 GB microSD with NOOBS (“New Out-of-the-Box Software”) installer/boot loader pre-installed.
  • Wireless LAN USB card.
  • Mini USB power supply, heat sinks and HDMI display cable.
  • Optional, but recommended: A case to hold the Raspberry circuit board.

Rather than purchasing all of these items individually, you may want to go for a Raspberry Pi accessory bundle at approximately € 60-70, as shown in the picture below.

RaspberryPiBundle.png

Setup overview

The installation and configuration process consists of the following three main steps:

  1. Raspberry Pi software configuration
  2. Web browser installation and configuration (auto reload plugin and OpenDocument URL landing page)
  3. Autostart and display configuration

Raspberry Pi software configuration

Launch your Raspberry Pi device. If not triggered automatically, enter sudo raspi-config on the command line to start the standard Raspberry Pi software configuration programme and make the following selections:

  1. Enable booting into the Raspberry desktop environment.
  2. Overclock the device to the “Pi 2” setting, i.e. “1000 Mhz ARM, 500 Mhz core, 500 Mhz SDRAM, 2 overvolt”.

BootOption.png

Overclock.png

With the help of setting (1), we will be able to configure the device in such a way that it launches a web browser immediately following the completion of its boot up sequence, whilst setting (2) simply makes full use of the remarkably powerful processing capabilities of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.


Web browser installation and configuration

Establish a LAN or wireless internet connection for your Raspberry device and download and install the “Iceweasel” web browser, the Debian distribution’s fork from the Mozilla Firefox browser, https://wiki.debian.org/Iceweasel (and not to be confused with the GNU browser “IceCat”, formerly known as “IceWeasel”):

     sudo apt-get install iceweasel


Following successful “Iceweasel” implementation, install any auto reload plugin for this web browser, for example, “Reload Every” at http://reloadevery.mozdev.org.

ReloadEvery.png

With both the web browser and the auto reload add-on in place, it is left to the set the browser landing page to the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) document you want to display and to get database-refreshed automatically in regular intervals within the browser. This is where the SAP OpenDocument URL functionality comes in handy, https://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41_opendocument_en.pdf.


OpenDocument comes with your BusinessObjects BI platform installation in the form of a deployed web application. (The web bundle is part of the BOE.war file.) What it does is to process incoming URL requests for BusinessObjects BI documents in the BusinessObjects Central Management Server and delivers the document to the end user. The supported document types include, amongst other things, Web Intelligence documents, Analysis workspaces, Dashboard objects and Crystal reports.


The OpenDocument default URL syntax reads as follows:


     http://<servername>:<port>/BOE/OpenDocument/opendoc/<platformSpecific>?<parameter1>&<parameter2>&…&<parameterN>


where <platformSpecific> is to be replaced with openDocument.jsp in the case of a Java deployment or with openDocument.aspx in the case of a .NET SAP BusinessObjects BI deployment. Note that there are not to be any spaces around the ampersands joining the parameters.


Refer to the SAP help document referenced above for the various OpenDocument parameters available. For our purpose of automatic database refreshing, the sRefresh parameter is the parameter of choice and is used, for example, as follows:

     http://<servername<:<port>/BOE/OpenDocument/opendoc/openDocument.jsp?iDocID=Aa6GrrM79cRAmaOSMGoadKI&sIDType=CUID&sRefresh=Y

In other words, the BusinessObjects document with the CUID, i.e., cluster unique ID, Aa6GrrM79cRAmaOSMGoadKI will undergo a database refresh each time it is opened via this OpenDocument URL.

Set the browser landing page to whatever document of your BusinessObjects BI deployment you would like to refer to using the above OpenDocument syntax. (This is assuming, of course, that your Raspberry Pi device is granted the necessary network access privileges to resolve the OpenDocument URL.) You may want to finish this configuration step by setting the browser to full screen mode by pressing the F11 key.


Autostart and display configuration

Launch a Raspberry Pi terminal session and navigate to the autostart folder via


     cd ~/.config/autostart


Create the new file iceweasel.desktop with the contents as shown below.
Autostart.png

That is:

     [Desktop Entry]

     Type=Application

     Name=iceweasel

     Exec=iceweasel

     StartupNotify=false

     Terminal=false

     Hidden=false       


Finally, prevent your display from ending up in power save mode adding the line xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms to file /etc/lightcm/lightdm.conf.

MonitorPowerSave.png

And that’s pretty much it. Plug in your Raspberry Pi in the dashboard display of choice, restart the Raspberry device and the boot up process should result in your BusinessObjects document automatically getting shown and refreshed within the “Iceweasel” web browser. (Unless you have got a single-sign-on scenario for your BusinessObjects BI environmen up and running, you will need to enter the relevant BusinessObjects BI user and password credentials once and once only immediately following the launch of the web browser.) Set the required refresh frequency with the help of the web browser’s reload tab and that’s it.
ReloadTab.png

A Web Intelligence ticketing KPI dashboard example featuring a 15 minute automatic report update frequency is shown below.

Dashboard.png

DataRefresh2.png


Links

A Hadoop Data Lab Project on Raspberry Pi,http://bit.ly/1dqm8yO

Cooking up an Office Dashboard Pi – https://gocardless.com/blog/raspberry-pi-metric-dashboards

Iceweasel – https://wiki.debian.org/Iceweasel

“Reload Every” auto reload add-on – http://reloadevery.mozdev.org

Viewing Documents Using OpenDocument – https://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41_opendocument_en.pdf

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