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An Improved Table Experience

In the past months, we received a lot of user feedback for the table widget in SAP Analytics Cloud – from long loading in-cell charts to different row heights or an unpleasant scrolling behaviour. Of course, this is not what we would like to hear, so we had to act. Now with wave 2020.05 we are delivering the following improvements:

Smooth scrolling 
Scrolling is an important function in tables as we usually display more than a couple of rows or columns. The scrolling behaviour was column and row based, now we changed it to pixel based. This feels much smoother and natural for the user, especially on mobile devices. The viewer of a story or application can scroll by hovering over the table and there is no more need to click into the table.

Faster loading In-Cell charts and thresholds
With just one click the values of a measure can be turned into a chart. But the loading times of the little bar charts were a big pain point. Now we have implemented a much-improved solution that gives users an optimal performance.

Consistent row heights 
Row heights sometimes varied when users were drilling down in the table. Now all rows are always equally distributed. Also, the designer can set the row heights in the styling side panel to a custom height or use predefined FIORI heights (Default, Cozy, Condensed) which are adopting automatically to the used font size.

Responsive vs. Unresponsive
We simplified the responsive logic of columns that all content is always visible. This might lead to wider columns with a horizontal scroll bar. To reduce the width a wrap on the column can be used. In case the columns are not fulfilling the whole table size, the leftover white space is distributed evenly.

The unresponsive logic is made for a pixel perfect design. The designer can resize single, multiple or all columns at the same time and specify the width to an exact pixel value.

Table title 
The table title will be always shown and does not scroll with the content anymore. Its height is automatically adjusted to the title’s font size. Of course, everyone can still hide the whole title via the context menu if not needed at all.

Linked analysis 
For tables using linked analysis, CTRL + left mouse click now deselects a member and ESC clears the whole selection.

How to try it out
We decided, for now, not to make these changes as default as we are working on more improvements in the upcoming waves. Nevertheless, there is no big deal in trying it out. In the table’s builder panel, the designer can select the checkbox ‘Beta Table’ and all new functions are directly available.

Further information are available behind the little info icon next to the check box or on our SAP Help portal. Have fun!

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23 Comments
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  • Nice to see feedback in action, Steffen! When are you pulling the trigger in replacing the old Table Design? Will old stories be updated automatically (super important imo!)?

    • Hi Moritz,

      next goal is to get rid of the current limitations and make it the new default behavior (flag enabled when creating a new table). For existing tables you will then be able to use the story preferences and switch all tables to the new behavior with 1 click.

      Regards,

      Steffen

  • Excellent news!!

    This is by far the weakest point of the product, especially with BW Live connections.

    For which Wave are these improvements planned? Will it alternatively be deployed via patches?

     

    And inded, please be sure that existing tables won’t break (anymore). 🙂

    This is forcing us to spend many hours to make sure that new releases or changes in stories or even sometimes simple navigation don’t break tables, formatting, even whole stories.

    A question: Can anyone recommend any automated testing tool for SAC (and Live connections with SSO)?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Inigo,

      the improvements were deployed with wave 2020.05 for fast track customers (released March 15). This ends up into the May release for quarterly updated tenants.

      As we need to set this flag manually, there is no disruption to any existing tables.I know that the impression might be different, but believe me priority number 1 is not to break anything as this hits all of us hard. 

      Thanks for your feedback,
      Steffen

      • Hi Steffen,

        Well, after all our testing we have migrated only 2 out of around 200 tables.

        In both cases there was a huge improvement in the scrolling experience as most columns include in-cell graphs. The scrolling is still not perfect if you have some lines frozen, but the performance is much better!

        For most cases, activating the beta table experience had some side effects, like loosing custom formating, i.e. fonts and custom column widths. So I am afraid that, there are some disruptions (as expected on the other hand).

        One of the main problems with the previous experience is, that text wrapping does not work properly and for instance the wrapping in the column headers gets lost when a story filter value is changed. Or during scrolling.

        Hopefully it will continue to improve in the upcoming releases. So it won’t be called beta anymore 🙂

        Regards

  • Hi,

    Great news!

    I’m checking it on my tenant (2020.6.3), my findings are:

    1. I can’t resize column widths.
    2. In-cell chart performance is much better.
    3. Scrolling with high number of rows is still not smooth.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Erdem,

      thanks for your feedback. To your points:

      1) For responsive logic we simplified the logic to show all content and adopt column width automatically instead of manual resizing. Unresponsive column width allows pixel perfect resizing.

      3) A high amount of rows might lead to some hickups when requesting the next batch of rows. We are continuously working on enhancing this behavior and performance overall.

      Regards,

      Steffen

      • Hi Steffen,

        When column widths can not be resized, wrapping is also handled after a chracter limit I guess.

        It will be necessary to set the wrapping point manually.

         

         

        ,

  • Hi Steffen

    Do we have any data volume recommendation for populating Table, Or do you see any benchmark number, where we can say post “n” number of records, scrolling will get impacted or response time will go down. I am asking this question because we are positioning Operational Reports Scenarios in SAP SAC instead of traditional BOBJ tools. Do you see any challenge in these Use Cases.

     

    • Hi Tarun,

      we have a safety belt of 30k cells which can be extended when reaching that limit in the table details. In general more rows and columns lead to more time spent on requesting and rendering the data. What amounts of data are you targeting to display?

      My colleagues from the Web Intelligence team are currently working on reporting in SAP Analytics Cloud, so we are definitely targeting this scenarios as well.

      Regards,
      Steffen

  • Hi Tarun,

    I see the improvement in the scrolling which is a good start.  My main issue with the table component, still present in Beta mode, is that when you have a measure it always has to be on the far right of the table.  Also when adding the measure it adds ‘Measures’ label and the actual measure name is not aligned on same row with the dimension headers.  This also then causes problems when exporting to excel as shown in screenshot where filters should be on same header row.  Is product group working to have dimensions and measure on the same line for the header?

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    • Hi Christopher,

      thanks for your feedback. Saw many BW users displaying the unit in that header cells, but agreeing when it is empty it leads to extra effort when using the Excel export. It is currently not our highest priority, but I will check whats possible.

      Regards,

      Steffen

  • Hello,

    I have the same problem as Christopher, when I export the table to Excel file, the file contains 2 rows: one for dimension headers and one for measure headers. After it is necessary to modify the file manually.

    This issue also exists when I export the table to CSV file (2 rows for the headers).

    I hope it can be fixed in new waves. Thanks.

    Regards,

    Miquel

     

    • Thanks Miquel, I understand that this extra steps are unnecessary overhead in Excel and will check whats possible. What are the biggest gaps in SAP Analytics Cloud that users are still using the Excel export so heavily in your point of view?

  • Hi,

    Great enhancements, much better!

    Some observations:

    • Selecting the entire table (with grid selection or with Ctrl-A) and then copy paste to excel doesn’t seem to work anymore in Beta mode tables.
    • Defaulting to ‘condensed’ size would be my preference
    • When refreshing a table with no records due to filters, it shows an empty row with yellow color for input enabled fields. Which is abnormal if the table is only a report (not planning-enabled)
    • Units/Currencies are very weird for some KPI’s like Net Sales / Quantity. It will show “14k Units” if Net sales is set to ‘Currency’ and Quantity to ‘Units’
    • Account type (EXP/INC/..) is not always respected properly in calculated measures when using filters
    • We can’t hide the ugly / generated ID of calculated measures when displaying accounts with ID-description
    • Accounts with scaling ‘Percentage’ and label ‘%’ do not properly show % behind their values
    • In the Account dimension, we cannot display leaf members of a certain hierarchy node (without showing its parents).
    • Cannot disable expand icon
    • Default color fill for editable cells is too dark orange, is confusing with the orange color after data changes. Lighter yellow (#ffffe0) would be better.
    • Thanks Jef. The copy and paste issue is already in progress and will be fixed with an upcoming release. I believe the others are general feedback regarding the table. I will review them with our UX designer. For the account type an example via a support incident would be helpful as this looks like an issue.

      • Ok, will do!

        Can you perhaps also tell us why the new feature “Automatically resize table vertically.” is only made available in the old table version and only with Canvas pages? Because we would like this in the new ‘beta’ table with Responsive pages!

      • Also, when scrolling down tables:
        – Freeze Panes (for example on a top row) flickers the screen heavily, which is not nice for end-users
        – Custom Styling Rules with ‘Read-only’ formatting is not applied correctly when scrolling down. Maybe this has to do with the lazy loading, but this could result in very unwanted effects in planning applications

  • Hello Steffen,

    It is great that table widget is getting improved!

    What do you think about external js libraries for data grid that could be implemented within SAC as a custom widget? Is there any room for them in the long run? How do you see the use of custom data grids? Some of them have been developed for longer than SAC with great features. I do have planning functionalities in mind in particular – custom data grids could offer more flexibility similar to what we know from BPC reports/input forms in Excel.

    https://www.angularminds.com/blog/article/15-useful-javascript-based-data-grid-libraries-for-web-app-development.html

    Regards,

    Krzysztof Grzymala

    • Hi Krzysztof, interesting idea. Definitely something we should bring up to the team who are working on the custom widgets and get their opinion about it.

  • Will the new table support Top N and Bottom N?

     

    Is there an ability to display a variance bar in the table? From the screenshot I am not sure whether than was a measure from the datasource or is it done at the table level similar to the Chart variances.

    • Hi Deepu, Top N and Bottom N you find in the context menu on the data cell. Pretty much the same functionality as for charts.

      The variance bar is an incell chart. This can be used on any measure coming from the datasource or on a calculation defined in the table directly.