SAP BI 4.3: What’s New In Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer
New, simplified and rejuvenated user interfaces for BI Launch Pad and Web Intelligence have been released in SAP BI 4.2 SP4 and improved in the following Support Packages (see here). These new interfaces, based on SAP FIORI and HTML5, came as a complement of the classic interfaces since they were not on parity:
- Only a reader version of Web Intelligence was implemented.
- Only a subset of BI Launch Pad features was available.
With the SAP BI 4.3 release, a new milestone has been reached. Main missing features have been implemented; which make the classic BI Launch Pad version as well as the Web Intelligence DHTML and Java clients obsolete. Only the new FIORI-based interface is released in SAP BI 4.3. No more HTML, Java, or Java Rich Client flavors, one single experience, common to both the Web and Desktop accesses!
Users who have not yet tried the new FIORI version released in SAP BI 4.2 might have to go through some change management to get used to the new interface. But this is balanced by:
- Highly simplified and intuitive interfaces and workflows. Some more specialized interfaces such as the Query Panel or the Formula Editor remain the same, but have also got the FIORI skin.
- Web Intelligence documents have not been changed and expose the same concepts and contents. Only the product user interfaces have been simplified.
- Using FIORI as do other SAP products, which follow the same user interfaces and principles.
Some features are not yet implemented but will be offered in future Support Package 1 or 2. This first SAP BI 4.3 release is the foundation for future enhancements intended to make the Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer the main SAP analytics on premise offering to cover requirements for operational reporting, ad-hoc query, analysis and self-service dashboards. As investments and innovations will be done in this SAP BI 4.3 branch, no new innovations should be expected in SAP BI 4.2. This means that all coming SAP BI 4.2 SP8+ Support Packages will mainly contain fixes, corrections and updates on the supported platforms.
This article is a complement of the official SAP documentation and summarizes the new features in SAP BI 4.3 for Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer:
- BI Launch Pad Overview
- Web Intelligence: Reading Mode
- Web Intelligence: Edit Mode
- Web Intelligence: Rich Client
- Web Intelligence: Document as a Data Source
- Web Intelligence: Geo Map
- Web Intelligence: Formula Language Functions and Formula Editor
- Web Intelligence: Security Rights
- Web Intelligence: Publishing and Scheduling
- Web Intelligence: OpenDocument URL
- Web Intelligence: REST Web Services
- Web Intelligence: Performance Enhancements
- Information Design Tool: 64-Bit
- Information Design Tool: Calculated Column in List of Values Based on SQL
- Information Design Tool: Other Enhancements
- Semantic Layer Java SDK
- SAP BW: Secure Network Connection (SNC)
- SAP BW: InfoProvider
- SAP HANA: S4/HANA CDS Views
- SAP HANA: Variable Mapping
- SAP HANA: HTTP Connection
- SAP HANA: Smart SQL Access for HTTP Connection
- Data Sources: New Supported Data Sources
- Data Sources: ODBC DSN-Less Connectivity
- Data Sources: Multiple Secondary Credentials
- Retired Products
BI Launch Pad Overview ⤒
You can perform a fresh SAP BI 4.3 full install or upgrade your previous SAP BI 4.x system. In both cases, you need a new 4.3 license that can be downloaded from the SAP Support web site.
Once installed and deployed, you can connect to the BI Launch Pad through its Login page, whose URL is by default http://<server>:<port>/BOE/BI
BI Launch Pad: Login Page
After you have authenticated, the Home page presents some tiles that give you access to repository’s resources:
- Folders: to navigate in the BI Platform repository folders.
- Categories: to navigate in the BI Platform repository categories.
- Documents: to display your documents as a flat list.
- BI Inbox: to access the documents and alerts you have received.
- Instances: to give you an overview of all your schedules and publications.
- Recycle Bin: to display and restore documents you have deleted.
Under these tiles, three sections with document tiles are displayed. These documents are the ones:
- You have set as favorites (Favorites)
- You have previously opened (Recent Documents)
- That have been recently processed through schedules (Recently Run).
Finally, the Applications section contains tiles you can click to start the corresponding application hosted in BI Launch Pad. These applications include Web Intelligence.
BI Launch Pad: Applications Tiles
- In the Application Preferences section, click the Web Intelligence tab to display the Web Intelligence preferences. In addition to the usual drill, Excel save or right-to-left orientation options, you can also define your measurement unit (centimeters or inches). This was previously defined at document level and you had to set it for every document.
BI Launch Pad: Web Intelligence Preferences
- In the Appearance section, you can also choose another Fiori theme for the user interface, for example a high contrast display for BI Launch Pad and Web Intelligence.
To open a Web Intelligence document:
- If it is displayed on the Home page as a tile, click this tile to open it in Reading mode
- If you access the document through the Folders, Categories or Documents tile, click the More button () to open the contextual menu. This menu contains the different actions you can perform on this document, including View to open it in Reading mode or Modify to open it in Edit mode
BI Launch Pad: Document Menu
For more details about BI Launch Pad’s new features, see SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3: What’s New.
Web Intelligence: Reading Mode ⤒
The Web Intelligence Reading mode proposes a simplified interface in which users can easily view, refresh and export documents. It proposes some interactivity and analysis capabilities through input controls, elements linking, drill or track changes. In SAP BI 4.3, this Reading mode interface is similar to the Web Intelligence Interactive Viewer FIORI-based interface released since SAP BI 4.2 SP4.
The toolbar contains sections with the following commands:
- : Opens the menu with the Save and Save As
- : Undoes the last actions.
- : Redoes the last undone actions.
- : Opens the Print dialog box to set parameters (report and page selection, page size, orientation, margins and scaling) and generate a PDF that can be printed out.
- : Opens the Export to dialog box to export the report’s or cube’s data into different file formats. The dialog box has been reorganized to better display all possible options (Request 215268) and to propose the Excel format by default (Request 140228).
Web Intelligence: Export to Dialog Box
- : Opens the Send to users dialog box in which you can select the users or groups that are to receive this document in their BI Platform repository inbox.
- : Opens the Online Help on the SAP web site.
- : Displays the Web Intelligence version.
- : Refreshes the document’s queries that have been selected for refresh by the document’s designer. In the new interface, this button is more visible (Request 131476), especially when a data provider has been partially refreshed. In this case, a warning is sent and an orange dot () is added to the Refresh button (Request 206429).
Web Intelligence Refresh: Partial Refresh Warning
- : Opens or closes the Filter Bar used to display and set filters values (see description below). Another icon is displayed () if (a) filter(s) already applies/apply to the current report.
- Drill checkbox: Enables/disables the drill mode.
- Fold/Unfold checkbox: Enables/disables the fold / unfold.
- Show Changes checkbox: If the “Track Data Changes” feature has been enabled, use this checkbox to highlight these changes.
- : Opens the Track Data Changes dialog box in which you can enable/disable the tracked changes, define the dataset reference and the reports to compare. It also displays the fonts and colors used to show the differences.
- : Switches to the “Auto Refresh” mode in which the document is refreshed regularly and automatically (see SAP BI 4.2 SP6). Before entering this mode, you need to define a refresh frequency and answer potential prompts if any. These values are kept for the next refresh actions, as long as you remain in this mode.
Reading Mode: Auto-Refresh
In Reading mode, the Filter Bar is the single place where you can see and, when possible, modify the filters and input controls that impact your document’s dataset.
Reading Mode: Filter Bar
In detail, the Filter Bar contains the following items:
- The Reset button () to reset all input controls to their default values and remove the element linking filtering (Request 144999).
- The prompts that have been answered during the document’s queries execution. Click Prompts () to see these values. To modify them, refresh your document and provide new values for the prompts.
- The document’s input controls () that apply to the whole document, and the report input controls () that apply only to the current report. Click an input control to modify its values using list, multi-list (checkboxes), slider, spinner… depending on the document’s designer choice. For list and multi-list, a search text field can be used to find only the values that match a search string.For a group of input controls, click the group and select the input controls to add. The order in which you select the input controls defines the filter path, i.e. the input controls’ dependencies. For example, if you select Country before City, the selected countries filter your choice of cities.
- Element linking through which a block is filtered by a value selected in a table. Click the element linking icon () to display the value of this element linking and reset it, if needed.
If the window is too small to display the full Filter Bar‘s content, then arrows are displayed on its edges allowing you to scroll.
Reading Mode: Filter Bar Scrolling Arrows
Report Selection and Vanishing Toolbar
In Reading mode, you can move from one report to another by clicking the corresponding tabs displayed under the toolbars.
To navigate in the report, you may use the Vanishing Toolbar at the bottom of the page. This toolbar appears when you move your cursor to the bottom of the page and disappears when you stay idle for a few seconds. This toolbar contains the following commands:
- The controls to go to the first page, previous page, a specific page, next page or last page.
- : Opens the Zoom slider to select the zoom ratio.
- : Toggles between the Print layout and the Draft
- : Fits the page’s width to the window’s width.
- : Fits the page to the window.
Reading Mode: Vanishing Toolbar
Unlike the previous releases, the side panel is located on the right. To open or close this side panel, click one of the buttons in the toolbar depending on the content you want to display:
- : The Navigation Map pane, to quickly navigate in the report based on its sections.
- : The Comments pane, containing the comment threads. Click an existing comment in the document to view its thread or right click a report element in the document to comment it.
- : The Document properties pane, to display the document’s statistics and properties (Refresh on open, document style, …)
Reading Mode: Navigation Map, Comments and Properties Side Panels
Web Intelligence: Edit Mode ⤒
The main improvement in SAP Web Intelligence 4.3 is the Edit mode. It completes the FIORI convergence (Request 209030). This mode has been simplified to improve the productivity of report designers by allowing them to perform tasks faster.
There are several ways to open the Edit mode:
- By clicking the Web Intelligence tile on the BI Launch Pad Home page and creating a new document.
- By selecting the Modify command () on the document menu allowing you to edit this document.
- In Reading mode, by clicking the Edit button to edit the current document.
The toolbar contains only general commands that apply to the overall document. These commands should be familiar and have been reorganized for a simpler and faster access (Request 107473).
Edit Mode: Toolbar
The toolbar contains sections with the following commands:
File, that contains the same commands as in Reading mode
- : Opens the Query Panel allowing you to edit the document’s queries.
- : Opens the Refresh menu described below. As in Reading mode, when a data provider has been partially refreshed, an orange dot is displayed on the Refresh button () to provide you with a visual “document contains partial data”.
- Change Source: Opens the Change Source Wizard dialog box, to change universes, SAP BW or SAP HANA data providers.
- Purge Data: Opens the Purge Data Providers dialog box, to remove datasets from queries.
- : Opens the menu in which you can select tables types and forms to insert into your report.
- : Opens the menu in which you can select one of the default charts types to insert. For further charts types, open the Turn Into section in the Data side panel.
- : Opens the menu in which you can select predefined cells to insert.
- : Adds a section.
- : Inserts a custom element, if you have registered one in the CMC.
- : Opens/closes the Filter Bar (see below). As in Reading mode, an icon is used to highlight that the dataset is filtered ().
- : Opens/closes the Formula Bar (see below).
- Drill, Fold/Unfold, Show Changes checkboxes: As in Reading mode, click these checkboxes to enable/disable drill, enable/disable fold/unfold or show document changes.
- : Opens the Track Data Changes dialog box.
- : Opens the Manage Formatting Rules dialog box.
- : Opens the Zoom slider to select the zoom ratio.
- : Toggles between the Print layout and the Draft
- Structure checkbox: Use this checkbox to switch between Structure and Data
- : Fits the page’s width to the window’s width.
- : Fits the page to the window.
Navigate contains the same controls as in the Vanishing Toolbar of the Reading mode to navigate in the report’s pages.
Depending on your screen size, some commands are reachable by opening the More menu ().
Edit Mode: Filter Bar
Click this button to open a menu with the following commands:
- New Input Control: Opens the New Control dialog, in which you can provide the different parameters to create an input control (the impacted object, its scope document or report, the interface item used to modify it…)
Edit Mode: New Control
- New Group of Controls: Once you have selected the scope of the group to create (the whole document or the current report), the New Group dialog box opens. You can give the new group a name and click Add Control to select the input controls to add in this new group. If needed, you can click New Control to create an input control on the fly and add it.
Edit Mode: New Group of Input Controls
- Manage Filter Bar: Opens the Manage Filter Bar dialog box listing all input controls and groups. Select a group or input control and click the Edit icon () to edit it or the Delete icon () to delete it.
To define the position of a group of input control on the Filter Bar, select it and use the arrow buttons ( and ) to move it up and down in the list.
You can also create a group or an input control from this dialog box by clicking + Add.
- Reset All: Resets all input controls to their default values and removes the element linking filtering.
Another way to edit an input control’s properties is to click first the input control in the Filter Bar, then the Settings icon () and finally Advanced Settings. This opens the Edit Control dialog box.
In the Formula Bar, you can enter a value or a formula in a cell. This Formula Editor supports auto-completion: while you type a formula, a menu proposes the objects, functions or operators that match the letters you have typed (Requests 236699 and 241647). You may select the one to use by clicking it or by using the arrow keys and pressing [Enter].
Edit Mode: Formula Bar
The Formula Bar contains the following four buttons:
- Display the Formula Editor: Opens the Formula Editor that can help you to type the formula.
- Create a new variable using this formula: Opens the Formula Editor allowing you to create a variable from the formula in the Formula Bar.
- Restore the initial formula: To cancel the formula you have entered and restore the previous one.
- Validate the formula: To validate and save the current formula in the cell.
In the document, you access a report by clicking the corresponding tab below the Main Toolbar and Filter Bar.
Edit Mode: Report Menu
The last command in the menu (Copy Link of the Report) copies the Opendoc URL to this report into the clipboard. You may copy and share this URL that can be used to directly open this report.
Main Side Panel
The Edit mode proposes two side panels and as in Reading mode, they are located on the right. By default, only the main side panel opens. It contains two stacked panels:
- Report Structure: This panel displays the report structure with the different blocks it contains.
- My Objects: This panel displays the document dictionary with all objects retrieved by the queries and also the enrichments added by the document designer.
Like in Reading mode, the buttons on the toolbar can be used to display the Navigation Map, Comments and Document properties panels in the main side panel. In Edit mode, they replace the Report Structure and My Objects panels when selected. Document properties panel allows you to modify document’s options and properties in Edit mode.
Edit Mode: Main Side Panel
Main Side Panel: Report Structure
As in previous releases, the Report Structure displays a tree of all items in the current report: header, footer, charts, cells, tables, …
Edit Mode: Report Structure Side Panel
It can be useful to understand how a report is organized and access a specific block rather than looking for it in the document: if you click the More icon () beside an item, the Format and Data commands open the Format and Data panels described below.
Main Side Panel: My Objects
The My Objects panel lists the document’s dictionary. In this panel, you manage the objects retrieved from the document’s queries, the enrichment you defined for these objects as well as the variables and references you create. For example, to add a new variable, click Add Variable, to opens the Formula Editor and create your variable.
Edit Mode: My Objects Panel
- Enriching a dimension by making it a geo or time dimension
- Merging / unmerging objects
- Managing groups
- Editing object properties
- Setting the measure type to Number or Decimal
- Defining a custom sort for the object
Edit Mode: My Objects Contextual Menu
This panel works in a similar way than in previous releases. There are, however, a few usability enhancements:
- You can delete several variables at the same time (Request 208832).
- The focus remains on the current variable when you edit it (Request 208418).
- In Queries View, you can directly edit a query and open it in the Query Panel by clicking the Edit Query icon ().
Build Side Panel
- Data, defines the data structure of the item you have selected
- Format, defines the format of the item you have selected
You can switch from one panel to another by clicking their respective header.
They are contextual panels and the displayed properties depend on your selection. When you select an element, it automatically displays the relevant properties.
The properties you set in the Data panel are immediately applied to the selected item. You can decide to automatically apply the properties you picked in the Format panel by selecting the Instant Apply checkbox at the bottom of the panel. As these format changes imply regular requests to the server for each modification, you may prefer to unselect this checkbox and rather click Apply in one request to the server.
Edit Mode: Format Panel Apply Options
This new side panel is one of the main enhancements of the document authoring workflows. As described in the next two sections, setting a format or organizing a block feed is much easier through this side panel than via the previous dialog boxes (Requests 109434 and 107959).
Build Side Panel: Data
The Data panel is available when you select a chart or a table and is used to define the data and structure of this selected table or chart block. The corresponding properties of the Data panel are organized in tabs, and only tabs relevant to your selection are displayed. These tabs are:
- : The Feeding tab contains the Turn into command used to select the table or chart type for this block. If you have registered custom elements in the CMC, they appear in the last menu of the Turn Into command.
Edit Mode: Selecting Custom Element (Courtesy from Need4Viz)
The Data Assignment section defines the objects used in the selected table or the chart. You may easily add objects to this block by drag-and-dropping them from the My Objects panel. Drag and drop can also be used to more easily change the objects’ order in the block.
Edit Mode: Adding Objects to a Table Through Drag and Drop
- : To manage the Filters and Element Links for the selected block. If a filter has been defined, then a dot is displayed on the tab. This tab provides an overview of all filters that apply to this block by listing also the input controls.
- : To manage the Sort that applies to the selected block. If sorts have been defined, the number of defined sorts is displayed on the tab.
- : To manage the Ranking that applies to the selected block. If a ranking is defined, a dot is displayed on the tab.
- : To manage the Breaks options of the selected table.
Edit Mode: Data Sub-Tabs for a Chart
Build Side Panel: Format
The Format panel contains all formatting properties for the selected item: report, cell, table, table cell, chart… To select a specific area of a chart (axis, title, legend, …), you can either:
- Click this area in the chart itself.
- Or select the chart and then the desired chart area in the menu located beside the chart’s name in the Format
Edit Mode: Chart Area Selection
The properties you can set depend on your selection, since some may not be relevant to your selection. These properties are organized by categories in the Format panel’s sub-tabs.
- : Contains Display settings. For tables, it includes the properties that define what must be displayed or hidden: header, footer, object name, hide when empty, duplicate rows aggregation… For charts, it also includes the components to be displayed or not: title, data label, legend, …
- : Contains Appearance settings, like background color, borders’ definition, spacing, padding…
- : Contains Text settings, like its police, font, color, alignment, …
- : Contains Styling settings for charts, like palette, markers size…
- : Contains Layout settings. For pages, it includes print layout, margins and scaling properties. For blocks, it includes relative positioning regarding other blocks, size and page break options…
Edit Mode: Format Sub-Tabs for Charts
At the top of the panel, beside the name of the selected block area (that can be changed as in the Data side panel), you may open the Format Painter menu ( ). It contains the Copy Format and Reset Format commands to respectively copy or reset the format of the current block.
Edit Mode: Format Menu
When you create a document or add a query to an existing document, you are asked to select a data source type and then the data source itself.
Query Panel: Data Source Type Selection
The Query Panel opens, and you can select objects to create a query and retrieve the corresponding dataset. This Query Panel depends on the data source type. In SAP BI 4.3, these Query Panels are similar to the ones available in SAP BI 4.2, except for the FIORI skin, and propose the same features.
Query Panel: Universe Data Source
Query Panel: Excel Data Source
To run the query and close the query panel, click Run. If your document contains several queries, you can open a menu from this button and select the query to run.
Query Panel: Selecting Query to Run
Refresh and Purge Queries
- Refresh to refresh all authorized queries.
- Refresh Data For to open a dialog box that provides some statistics about the queries’ last refresh. You can explicitly select the data sources to refresh during the next document refresh.
Refresh Data Providers Dialog Box
The toolbar’s Data section also contains the Purge Data command that opens the Purge Data Providers dialog box. The content of this dialog box is the same as in the Refresh Data Providers dialog box. However here, you can explicitly purge data from the data providers of your choice by selecting the checkbox in front of the data providers and clicking Purge (Request 143679).
Purge Data Providers Dialog Box
Web Intelligence: Rich Client ⤒
SAP BI 4.3 also offers Web Intelligence Rich Client for desktop usage. It is not a Java application any longer bur rather reuses the same interface as the SAP BI 4.3 web version in BI Launch Pad.
As all desktop tools in SAP BI 4.3 (Information Design Tool, Universe Design Tool…), it is released in 64-bit (Request 107828).
You can start Web Intelligence Rich Client from the Start menu or by double-clicking a locally-saved Web Intelligence document. You land on the login page the process of which has been simplified (Request 127659). You are required to enter the system name, your credentials and the authentication mode. With the toggle button, you can choose to work in Online or Offline mode (used to work disconnected after you have retrieved resources locally on your desktop).
The Standalone and ZABO modes (allowing you to download and install Web Intelligence Rich Client from BI Launch Pad) are not yet released.
Web Intelligence Rich Client : Login Page
If your login parameters are valid, Web Intelligence Rich Client displays the Welcome page.
The new Web Intelligence Welcome page design is similar to the Home Page of BI Launch Pad.
Web Intelligence Rich Client: Home Page
Three tiles are displayed at the top of this page. They offer actions that follow the workflows of your documents:
- Import: To select a document in the BI Platform repository and explicitly import it toa local folder so that you can edit it.
- Open: To open a document you have previously imported on your local file system.
- New: To create a local document.
The Welcome page also displays two other sections:
- The Recent Local Documents section displays tiles for the local documents you have previously opened. These tiles contain a thumbnail of the document, a snapshot taken the last time the document was saved, as well as its last save date. Click a tile to open the corresponding document.
- The Open Documents section displays tiles for the documents that are open in this session. These tiles show a thumbnail of the active report of the document. You can also click this thumbnail to quickly switch to this document or click the cross icon in the tile’s header to close it.
Web Intelligence Rich Client: Recent and Open Documents Tiles in Welcome Page
The drop-down menu at the top of the Welcome page header, contains the following commands:
- Settings: to set Web Intelligence Rich Client parameters like the local documents’ default folder, the drill options, the locales or the measurement unit.
- Help and About: To open the usual Online Help and About dialog box.
- Log Out: to logout and return to the Login page.
- Exit: to exit the tool. When exiting, all local Web Intelligence processes are terminated.
Web Intelligence Rich Client: User Menu
Web Intelligence Rich Client: Settings Dialog Box
Creating a Document
To create a local document, click the New tile in the Welcome page. The interface and workflows to create a document are the same as in BI launch Pad:
- Select the data source type, then the data source itself. (The data source you can select must be stored in the repository; local data providers are not yet supported.)
- Create and run your query.
- Add charts, tables, formatting… to your report and add new reports and queries
Basically, you can take advantage of the same Edit and Read modes as in the web version, except for some features that are not yet supported or not yet available:
- You can view comments but cannot modify comments on local documents.
- You cannot send a document to BI Platform users.
Once you have finalized your document, you can:
- Save it locally by selecting the File > Save You can reopen it later by selecting the Open tile in the Welcome page.
- Publish it in the BI Platform repository by selecting the File > Publish to Enterprise command, and then select the destination folder in the Publish Document dialog box.
Web Intelligence Rich Client: Publish Document Dialog Box
Importing a Document from the Repository
If you have already some documents in the BI Platform repository, you can work on them in Web Intelligence Rich Client. Start Web Intelligence and connect to the BI Platform repository. In the Welcome page, click the Import tile to open the Import and Open dialog box and select the document to import and open.
Web Intelligence Rich Client: Import and Open Dialog Box
The selected document is copied to your file system, and this copy is opened for you to work on it using the same interface as in BI Launch Pad.
Once you have finalized your changes, you can save it in the BI Platform repository again by selecting the File > Publish to Enterprise command first, and the destination folder in the Publish Document dialog box as a second step.
You may prefer to save it locally for further changes before publishing it. In this case, select the File > Save command or select the File > Make Copy one to create another local copy.
In both cases, depending on your security rights, you may save it:
- With document access to all users, so that all repository users that have provided their credentials can open it.
- While removing the document’s security, so that users do not need to authenticate anymore.
- While keeping it secured for you only.
Later on, if you restart Web Intelligence Rich Client in Online or Offline mode, you can reopen this local copy by clicking the Open tile in the Welcome page.
Web Intelligence: Document as a Data Source ⤒
The support of Web Intelligence document as a data source for another document is a new capability offered in SAP BI 4.3 (Requests 107970 and 109142). The source document can be considered as a virtual universe and a database; and their metadata and data can be shared and leveraged by other documents.
This feature covers several use-cases:
- A document that queries a large dataset can be refreshed during quiet periods through a schedule and then be used as a data source for other documents. These documents do not query the initial data sources, but the dataset saved in the source document. This prevents initial data sources from being too solicited and improves the refresh time.
- A power report designer may prepare metadata (merged dimensions, geo-dimensions, time dimensions, variables) and share it through a source document.
- Likewise, a document that queries multiple heterogeneous data sources can be exposed as one single metadata provider and hide the complexity of the data sources it queries.
Creating a Query
When you create a document or add a query to an existing document, you can select Web Intelligence document in the list of possible data sources.
Web Intelligence: Adding a New Query
You are then asked to select a document in your Personal folders or in the Public folders of the BI Platform repository.
Web Intelligence: Document Selection
Once you have selected the source document, the Query Panel opens and displays the document’s objects: its dimensions, attributes, measures, hierarchies or variables… You can define a query by drag-and-dropping objects in the Results Objects section. You can also add filters in the Query Filters section to narrow down the dataset to retrieve from the source document.
This Query Panel is very similar to the one used for universes, although it does not yet support features like combined queries, advanced filters or query stripping.
Query Panel: Web Intelligence Document Data Source
If the source document contains hierarchies, you may use the Member Selector to select the members to query. This Member Selector supports the same operators as for SAP BW data sources: Children, Descendants Until and Descendants Unit Named Level, but not Ancestors nor Parents.
The refresh retrieves the dataset from the source document. If your query contains filters or member selections, they are applied when it is sent to the source document.
After the refresh, the objects that your query consists of appear in the My Objects panel. You can use them to feed the tables and charts in your report like you would for any data source. If you have enriched the source document with merged dimensions and/or geographical or time dimensions, they are retrieved as well and can be reused in the new document.
During this refresh, the source document is not refreshed. This is the reason why a source a document defined as being refreshed on open or based on an SAP HANA Online data source, cannot be used as a data source. The source document must be explicitly refreshed, either manually or through a schedule. If the Smart View option has been selected in the CMC, the data is retrieved from the source document’s last scheduled instance.
The aggregation of variable defined as measure is delegated to the source document. If you change the aggregation scope, the measure returns #TOREFRESH. Refresh the document to send the query against the source document so it returns the new aggregated value for the measure.
View-Time Security Filtering
The date of the dataset retrieved from the source document corresponds to the source document’s last refresh time. At refresh time, it is secured with the security profiles that apply to the user who is running the query. As the source document is not refreshed, it might be an issue if this source document dataset is shared with other users who do not have the same security profiles.
If the source document queries a universe created with Information Design Tool and secured with a Business Security Profile, you can enable the Apply security filtering at view time option (see SAP BI 4.2 SP6) to filter the dataset when a document based on this source document is opened.
If you set this option for the consuming document, the Business Security Profiles that apply to the user are enforced on the fly when the document is opened and without refreshing the source document, nor the document created on it:
- Display Data Business Security Profiles prevents a denied object and its data to be displayed.
- Only rows that match the filters conditions defined in the Filters Business Security Profiles are displayed.
If you set this option for the source document, the filtering is applied when data is retrieved from this source document:
- Display Data Business Security Profiles prevents a denied object and its data from being retrieved.
- Only rows that match the filters conditions defined in the Filters Business Security Profiles are retrieved.
You can also set this option for both documents.
As this security relies on universe’s Business Security Profile, it applies only to source document queries based on universe created in Information Design Tool.
In the BI Platform repository, a link is created between the source document and a document that uses it as a source. Hence, dependencies between these documents are properly displayed in Life Cycle Management, Promotion Wizard or in the CMC if you use Tools > Check Relationships.
CMC: Source Document Relationship
Web Intelligence: Geo Map ⤒
To provide more accurate geo dimensions, the Here geographical database used by Web Intelligence has been updated with its 2019 version:
- Borders and regions take geographical changes into consideration, e.g., new French regions are available (Request 144513).
- Regions, sub-regions and cities have been added in some countries for better coverage.
- New cities have been added, some have been removed, considering the 100,000 inhabitants limit, except for the United States of America.
Geo-Map: New French Regions
If you have created geo charts in SAP BI 4.2 with a mapping by name, you need to remap these names when editing these documents in SAP BI 4.3 due to ID changes in the geographical database.
Web Intelligence: Formula Language Functions and Formula Editor ⤒
In the Data Provider category, DataProviderType has been updated to return the correct data provider type. The possible values are: “Universe”, “Text”, “Excel”, “Web Services”, “SAP BW”, “SAP HANA”, “Free-Hand SQL” and “Web Intelligence” for the new Web Intelligence document data source. Besides NumberOfRows, NumberOfColumns has been added to return the number of objects of a data provider.
- string DataProviderType ( Data provider dp )
- int NumberOfColumns ( Data provider dp )
In the Document category, DocumentPath, DocumentParentFolder and DocumentParentFolder have been added to respectively return the document’s path (Request 108755), the name of its parent folder (Request 206442) and the document description (Request 144988). QuerySummary has also been updated to return the correct data provider type (cf. DataProviderType).
- string DocumentPath ()
- string DocumentParentFolder ()
- string DocumentDescription ()
- string QuerySummary ()
In the String category, Trim, LeftTrim and RightTrim have been extended to allow you to define the character to remove from the string (Request 217310). By default, this character is the space character.
- string Trim ( string str [; string ch] )
- string LeftTrim ( string str [; string ch] )
- string RightTrim ( string str [; string ch] )
To create more readable and maintainable formulas, you can use the classic comments usually supported by most programming languages (Request 111272) in the formula language:
- To comment the end of a line, you may use //
- To comment a block in the formula, you may use /* */
When you open the Formula Editor, all category folders are closed by default (Request 202146). To find a function more easily, the All category (that contains all functions) is displayed at the top of the categories’ list.
As in the Formula Bar, the Formula Editor supports auto-completion. When you type a formula, a menu displays the objects, functions or operators that match the letters you typed (Request 241647). Select the one to use by clicking it or using the arrows keys and pressing [Enter].
Auto-Completion in the Formula Editor
Web Intelligence: Security Rights ⤒
To adapt the new interface and deployment modes, the Web Intelligence security rights have been updated:
- Names and categories have been simplified and aligned (Request 214981)
- Two new rights are introduced to secure the use of Free-Hand SQL (Request 219070): Query: Edit Free Hand SQL script and Query: View Free Hand SQL script
The following table lists Web Intelligence application security rights, with their equivalent in SAP BI 4.2.
|SAP BI 4.3 Security Right||Previous SAP BI 4.2 Name|
|Data: Enable data tracking||Data – Enable data tracking|
|Data: Enable formatting of changed data||Data – Enable formatting of changed data|
|General: Enable Desktop client access||Desktop interface – Enable Web Intelligence Desktop|
|Desktop: Publish to Enterprise||Desktop interface – Export documents|
|Desktop: Print documents||Desktop interface – Print documents|
|Desktop: Remove documents security||Desktop interface – Remove document security|
|Desktop: Give access to everyone||Desktop interface – Save document for all users|
|Documents: Disable automatic refresh on open||Documents – Disable automatic refresh on open|
|Documents: Enable autosave||Documents – Enable autosave|
|Documents: Enable creation||Documents – Enable creation|
|Documents: Publish and manage content as web service||Documents – enable publish and manage content as web service|
|General: Edit Web Intelligence preferences||General – Edit ‘My Preferences’|
|General: Enable Web client access||Interfaces – Enable web viewing interface|
|Query: Edit script generated from universe||Query script – Enable editing (SQL , MDX, …)|
|Query: Edit Free Hand SQL|
|Query: View script generated from universe||Query script – Enable viewing (SQL , MDX, …)|
|Query: View Free Hand SQL|
|Reporting: Create and edit breaks||Reporting – Create and edit breaks|
|Reporting: Create and edit conditional formatting rules||Reporting – Create and edit conditional formatting rules|
|Reporting: Create and edit input controls and group||Reporting – Create and edit input controls|
|Reporting: Create and edit predefined calculations||Reporting – Create and edit predefined calculations|
|Reporting: Create and edit filters and consume input controls||Reporting – Create and edit report filters and consume input controls|
|Reporting: Create and edit sorts and rankings||Reporting – Create and edit sorts|
|Reporting: Create and edit formulas, variables, groups and references||Reporting – Create formulas and variables|
|Reporting: Enable document change||Reporting – Enable formatting|
|Reporting: Merge objects||Reporting – Enable merged dimensions|
|Reporting: Insert and remove reports, tables, charts, and cells||Reporting – Insert and remove reports, tables, charts, and cells|
In the CMC, the following rights are prefixed with the “Obsolete_” tag since they are either useless in SAP BI 4.3 or their security intent is replaced by customization when it is supported:
- Disable Export to BI On Demand for this user
- Disable Import from BI On Demand for this user
- General – Enable right-click menus
- Interfaces – Enable Rich Internet Application
- Left pane – Enable document structure and filters
- Left pane – Enable document summary
- Desktop interface – Save documents locally
- Desktop interface – Import documents
CMC: Web Intelligence Application Security Rights
The following rights are still exposed in the CMC but will be leveraged once the corresponding features are supported:
- Desktop: Send by e-mail
- Desktop: Enable local data providers
- Desktop: Install from BI Launch Pad
- Shared: Publish shared elements
- Shared: Insert shared elements
The following table lists Web Intelligence document security rights, with their equivalent in SAP BI 4.2.
|SAP BI 4.3 Security Right||Previous SAP BI 4.2 Name|
|Edit Query||Edit Query|
|Export the cube’s data||Save as CSV|
|Export the report’s data||Export the report’s data|
|Import document locally||N/A|
|Refresh List of Values||Refresh List of Values|
|Refresh the report’s data||Refresh the report’s data|
|Use Lists of Values||Use Lists of Values|
|View SQL||View SQL|
The Save as Excel or Text and Save as PDF security rights have been removed since exporting or scheduling report’s data into PDF, Excel, HTML archive, Text or CSV archive is now simply covered by the Export the report’s data right.
Two new rights have been introduced:
- Export the cube’s data: This right allows the user to export a document’s cube data or to schedule it into a CSV file. (Request 134236)
- Import document locally:This new right replaces the previous application Desktop interface – Save documents locally and Desktop interface – Import documents security rights and is used to allow the document to be saved locally so that it can be opened in Web Intelligence Rich Client.
The Publish shared elements right is still exposed in the CMC but will be leveraged only when the corresponding feature is supported.
Web Intelligence: Publishing and Scheduling ⤒
When the new BI Launch Pad has been released in SAP BI 4.2 SP4, it was possible to schedule documents but not to distribute them through publications. In SAP BI 4.3, this missing capability has been implemented in BI Launch Pad and offers the same options as in SAP BI 4.2.
BI Launch Pad: Publication in the Create Menu
In the New Publication page, enter the publication parameters. These parameters are organized by sections, displayed in two tabs. Depending on the document type, some parameters appear only after the source documents have been added to the publication.
BI Launch Pad: New Publication
To navigate into the possible parameters more easily, you may click the following tabs, and select the section in the corresponding menus:
- General. This tab contains the generic publication parameters: publication details, source documents, destination, recurrence, enterprise and dynamics recipients, events, …
- Report Features. This tab and its sections appear if your publication contains a Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports document. It contains publication properties that are specific to this document type. For Web Intelligence, this covers the publication formats, personalization, prompts and delivery rules.
- Summary: This tab displays the publication’s most common parameters.
BI Launch Pad: Publication Menus
When the publication is defined, click Save or Save and Close.
In SAP BI 4.3, you can still schedule a document. To provide the same look & feel as in New Publication page, the Schedule page has been modified.
BI Launch Pad: New Schedule
When defining a schedule, you can move to specific sections through two tabs and the corresponding menus.
- The General tab contains the generic sections that define a schedule, like the schedule’s destinations and recurrence, its attached events, …
- The Report Features tab contains the sections specific to a Web Intelligence document. Formats, Prompts and Delivery Rules are available, but Caching properties are not yet implemented.
BI Launch Pad: Schedule Menus
Both schedule and publication take advantage of the new options introduced in SAP BI 4.3:
- When you define the publication or schedule frequency in the Recurrence section, you can select business days and hours for the schedule to run.
- Another new option, Allow Retries, can be used to define if a failed schedule must be re-run and if so, how many times and when.
BI Launch Pad: Recurrence Options
- In the BI Launch Pad Home page, click the Instances tile to display an overview of all schedules and publications run by you and their status. At the top of the page, you can find controls to filter this list by date, status, scheduled object type or just by name.
BI Launch Pad: Schedule Instances Page
Web Intelligence: OpenDocument URL ⤒
The Copy Link of the Report/Table/Chart/Cell commands previously described allow you to directly generate an Opendoc URL to access the corresponding item. You can also get the link to access a document by opening the document’s contextual menu in BI Launch Pad and selecting the Details command. The Opendoc URL you can share is provided in the Document Link field.
BI Launch Pad: Document Details Dialog Box
With the Web Intelligence user interface simplification, the sViewer option is no longer used by the Opendoc URL and is skipped when it is processed. Some options like instance are not yet supported in SAP BI 4.3 and will be supported in future Support Packages.
To allow your user to directly access a folder, you can select the Details command in a folder’s contextual menu, and share the URL provided in the Folder Link.
BI Launch Pad: Folder Details Dialog Box
Web Intelligence: REST Web Services ⤒
In the Web Intelligence REST Web Services, some new APIs have been added:
- To get, create, edit and delete referenced cells in a document
- To get, create, edit and delete table’s calculations (Average, Count, Max, Min, Percent or Sum)
- To get the details of a publication
Some existing APIs offer additional options and can be used to:
- Purge a document
- Set a table cell as a section
- Change the position of a report element in the layout (front, back…)
- Delete all breaks of a table
- Update or delete all breaks on a table axis
- Get, edit or delete all custom formatting of a report element
- Get the details of a hierarchy member
- Re-order input controls
- Create a custom format for number or datetime
- Get the marker palettes, the gradient orientations and the locales supported by the BI Platform server
Web Intelligence: Performance Enhancements ⤒
To improve the performance of Web Intelligence, several enhancements have been implemented:
- The most visible one is the progressive disclosure, aka lazy loading: to avoid blocking the user while the document is fully displayed, the document skeleton is computed and displayed first, followed by the charts in the background. The gain is particularly significant on document a that contains many charts.
- The Web Intelligence REST Web Services calls used by the new Web Intelligence interface have been optimized
- Documents with the Refresh on open option are automatically purged when saved in order to reduce the document opening time (Request 110058).
- A Web Intelligence document stores details related to the universes it queries. If one of these universes has been modified, the updated details are retrieved from this universe when the document is opened. A warning message is displayed to recommend that you save the document, to avoid the same update next time it is opened.
Information Design Tool: 64-Bit ⤒
Like other client tools in SAP BI 4.3 (Web Intelligence Rich Client and Universe Design Tool), Information Design Tool and Connection Server drivers are released in 64-bit only (Request 210604).
Information Design Tool: Calculated Column in List Of Values Based On SQL ⤒
In a data foundation or a business layer, a list of values based on custom SQL can reference a calculated column (Request 212610).
In the SQL defining the list of values, you must pass the calculated column name with the @CalculatedColumn function. This is similar to the support of derived table in SAP BI 4.2 SP6 through the @DerivedTable function.
This @CalculatedColumn function is automatically added when you double-click or drag and drop the calculated column from the Tables list.
Using Calculated Column in List of Values Definition
Information Design Tool: Other Enhancements ⤒
Some enhancements have been done to simplify the use of Information Design Tool:
- In the data foundation, when adding a table to a view, the list of views is alphabetically sorted.
- In the data foundation and business layer editors, the search in the filter pop-up is case-insensitive (Request 222473).
- In the Edit Business Layer View dialog box, you can order views by selecting them and clicking one of the two arrow buttons. This was already possible by dragging and dropping these views in the list. Views are displayed in Query Panel in the order you have defined.
Business Layer Views
- When exporting a business layer as a Text, HTML or PDF file, the objects’ CUID are also saved if you select the Object CUID checkbox in the Save As dialog box.
Save As Dialog and CUID in Generated HTML
Semantic Layer Java SDK ⤒
The Semantic Layer Java SDK is available in 64-bit (Request 138464).
When creating an object, you can set this object CUID with a new method the signature of which is as follows:
<T extends BlItem> T createBlItem(Class<T> type, String name, BlContainer parent, String cuid);
If you do not pass any string to define a CUID, then a random one is assigned, like in SAP BI 4.2.
SAP BW: Secure Network Connection (SNC) ⤒
SAP Secure Network Connection is a protocol that secures SAP system accesses. In previous releases, it is already supported by BusinessObjects BI Platform servers and Universe Design Tool to encrypt communications with SAP BW servers.
In SAP BI 4.3, Information Design Tool and Web Intelligence Rich Client also use SNC encryption to connect to SAP BW servers. To leverage this capability, SNC must first be configured in the CMC (in Authentication > SNC Settings) and on each machine running these client tools (see SAP Note 2183696).
SAP BW: InfoProvider ⤒
When using SAP BW as a data source, you are no longer limited to SAP BEx queries and you can query one of the following SAP BW Info Providers (Request 138931):
- Advanced DataStore Object – ADSO (Request 239793)
- CompositeProvider – HCPR (Request 227149)
- InfoCube – CUBE
- MultiProvider – MPRO
- Open ODS View – FBPA
This support is available in both:
- Web Intelligence: After the selection of an SAP BW data source, you can directly browse it and select an SAP BW Info Provider
- Information Design Tool: You can create a multidimensional universe (UNX) on top of an SAP BW Info Provider. This universe can then be used as a data source in Web Intelligence.
Web Intelligence SAP BW Direct Access: Browsing InfoProviders
In both cases, you connect to an OLAP connection (BICS-based) and can leverage multidimensional concepts (hierarchies, levels, member selectors…)
SAP HANA: S/4HANA CDS Views ⤒
When using S4/HANA as a data source, you can directly query the S/4HANA CDS views defined as #CUBE or #DIMENSION in the Data Definition script from ABAP Development Tool. In SAP BI 4.2, only the ones defined as #QUERY are supported.
This support is available in both:
- Web Intelligence: After the selection of an SAP S/4HANA data source (in the list of data sources, select the SAP BW option), you can directly browse it and select a CDS view.
- Information Design Tool: You can create a multidimensional universe (UNX) on top of an S/4HANA CDS view. This universe can then be used as a data source in Web Intelligence.
This access uses OLAP connection (BICS-based, but not HTTP) and leverages multi-dimensional concepts, like CDS hierarchies and CDS variables.
SAP HANA: Variable Mapping ⤒
In SAP HANA Studio or Web IDE for HANA, a metadata designer can create HANA cascading variables by mapping the input parameters or variables of an external view with the input parameters or variables of a calculation view.
Web Intelligence can consume these cascading variables as cascading prompts.
SAP HANA: HTTP Connection ⤒
In SAP BI 4.2, some products like Analysis for OLAP or SAP Design Studio support HTTP-based connections to access SAP HANA. In SAP BI 4.3, such connections are also supported by the Web Intelligence / Semantic Layer stack:
- In Web Intelligence, you can directly query SAP HANA information models through direct access by selecting an HTTP connection.
- In Information Design Tool, you can create a multi-dimensional universe based on an HTTP connection.
This HTTP connection, based on InA service, supports the following SAP HANA features:
- Analytic and calculation views
- Hierarchies and member selections on hierarchies
- Variables and input parameters
- Filters on hierarchies, attributes and measures
This HTTP connection can be created in:
- Information Design Tool, through the New OLAP Connection dialog box
- Since SAP BI 4.2, in the OLAP Connections tab of the CMC
SAP HANA HTTP Connection in Information Design Tool
SAP HANA: Smart SQL Access for HTTP Connections ⤒
In Information Design Tool, when creating an HTTP connection to an SAP HANA database, you may optionally select the Allow SQL access to the remote database checkbox and provide the parameters to query this SAP HANA database through SQL.
Defining SQL Parameters in SAP HANA OLAP Connection
When connecting to SAP HANA through direct access, Web Intelligence rather uses SQL if you select this Allow SQL access to the remote database checkbox and if the query contains no hierarchy as it’s faster than HTTP in this case. However, if the query contains hierarchies or is generated from a universe created in Information Design Tool, it is sent through HTTP.
For the time bieng, the Allow SQL access to the remote database checkbox can only be set in Information Design Tool, and not in the CMC.
Data Sources: New Supported Data Sources ⤒
In addition to the relational databases supported in previous releases (see the SAP BI 4.3 Product Availability Matrix), Connection Server supports the following additional data sources in Information Design Tool:
- IBM DB2 Warehouse 3, through native driver (with single sign-on support) and JDBC driver
- Denodo 7, through JDBC driver (Request 201192)
- Google BigQuery, through native driver (Request 140996)
- Snowflake, through JDBC and ODBC drivers (Request 205399)
- SAP HANA Cloud through SAP HANA JDBC and ODBC connections. You can create a relational universe on SAP HANA Cloud tables. The SAP HANA client interface version must be equal to 2.4.167 or higher.
- SAP Data Warehouse Cloud through SAP HANA JDBC connection. You can create a relational universe on SAP Data Warehouse Cloud tables and views. The SAP HANA client interface version must be equal to 2.4.167 or equal.
- And Java Beans for custom drivers that can be written by developers or partners (see Connection to custom sources with a JavaBean for more details).
For big data sources, Connection Server supports Hive, Impala and Spark and hence also, the distributions that embed them:
- Cloudera CDH1 with Hive and Impala
- Hortonworks HDP 2.5 with Hive
- Hortonworks HDP 3.1 with Hive and Spark
- MapR MEP 6.1 with Hive, Impala and Spark
Relational Connections List
Data Sources: ODBC DSN-Less Connectivity ⤒
To simplify the use of ODBC connection, Connection Server supports the ODBC Data Source Name (DSN)-less connection for databases that support it. When creating the connection in Information Design Tool, you can also enter the required parameters (host, port, …). Hence, you avoid defining the DSN across all machines that access the database through this ODBC connection.
In Information Design Tool, when creating an ODBC connection for SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Teradata, Oracle MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle databases or IBM Informix, you can select:
- The Use existing data source radio button to continue defining the DSN as in previous releases.
- Or the Use connection string option, and then provide parameters that depend on the selected databases (Driver, Host, Database, Service, Protocol…)
Defining ODBC DSN-less Connection
Data Sources: Multiple Secondary Credentials ⤒
In SAP BI 4.2, you can define secondary credentials for each user in the CMC. When a user uses a relational or OLAP connection the authentication mode of which is Use BusinessObjects credential mapping, his or her secondary credentials are used to authenticate him to the corresponding database. But as only one set of credentials can be defined per user, the same credentials are used for all connections with this authentication mode.
In SAP BI 4.3, multiple credential mappings can be defined per user through the new concept of Data Source Reference. To create a new Data Source Reference, select the Data Source Reference tab in the CMC.
CMC: New Data Source Reference
Once created, the Data Source Reference appears in the page and you can later edit or delete it there.
Data Source References Page
In the Database Credentials section of a user’s properties page, you can set the credentials for this user and for each individual Data Source Reference you have created.
CMC: Defining User’s Credential Mapping
When you create a connection in Information Design Tool and select Use BusinessObjects credential mapping as authentication mode, in the Data Source Reference drop-down menu, you can select the mapping to use. If you do not select any, the default one is used.
Information Design Tool: Data Source Reference Selection in Connection Definition
When a user accesses the database through this connection, he is authenticated with the credentials defined in the CMC for this Data Source Reference and for this user.
On Windows, the eFashion and Rio sample databases are released on SQLite and no longer on Microsoft Access.
In this first SAP BI 4.3 release, the following features are not yet supported and will only be supported in a future Support Package:
- Authoring of Query / Document as a Web Service
- Web Intelligence: Extensions
- Web Intelligence: Customizations
- Web Intelligence: Text files as a data source
- Web Intelligence: Authoring of Shared Elements
- Web Intelligence: Authoring of intra-document and intra-document links
- Web Intelligence Reading mode: Freeze headers
- Web Intelligence Edit mode: Lock Copy Format
- Web Intelligence Rich Client: ZABO and Standalone modes
- Web Intelligence Rich Client: Local Text and Excel data providers
- Web Intelligence: Authoring of SAP HANA Online documents. Migrated SAP BI 4.2 documents can still be read and refreshed, but you can’t create new ones or edit the migrated ones.
- Web Intelligence: Some key shortcuts have not yet be implemented.
Retired Products ⤒
The following products and components are no more supported and released in SAP BI 4.3:
- SAP BusinessObjects BI Widget. For more information, refer to 2837139.
- SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. For more information, refer to 2824537.
- SAP Crystal Dashboards and Presentation Design. For more information, refer to 2739919.
- Upgrade Management Tool. For more information, refer to 2776738.
- Report Conversion Tool. For more information, refer to 2801797.
- Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack.
The PeopleSoft, JD Edward, Siebel and Oracle EBS Integration Kit are in maintenance mode and supported only for authentication. For more information, refer to 2776738.