In this blog we look at the details of the new iPad and HTML-5 support in SAP Dashboards in service pack-5. We look at limitations, our experiences in ComeritLabs and what is planned for SP06, SDK and BI 4.1.
By Dr. Berg
SP-5 for iPad Mobility in Dashboards
As you may know SAP's dashbaord tool has received some updates in ServicePack-5 that was released a few weeks ago. Most importantly was the support for mobile dashboard elements for deployment using HTML-5 on non-flash compatible devices such as Apple's iPad.
There are currently a limited number of mobile dashboard elements supported, but they are the most commonly utilized elements. This means that many of your current dashboards can be converted to mobile with minimal effort. SP-5 also use a new mobile only preview mode. This shows dashboards as they will appear on the iPad before your deploy them. We found very helpful during our devlopment and design efforts. In addition to these items, all standard data connections work on mobile dashboards including BEx and Universe connections.
Figure 1: Supported Objects in SP-5 for Mobile
This week we took a client's flash based dashboard and re-hosted it using the new mobile solution in less than 8 hours, so it can be done fast...
So What is Missing Today?
Some important things to note about the current SP05 are the exclusion of some key elements such as the lack of a prompt selector. There are also no calendar controls and HTML text for labels isn’t supported. Connections in the Data manager are only currently available in the pre-query panel and only the “Nova” theme is supported on mobile devices. We also have no support for the prompt selector for hierarchies in SP05, nor is the 'reset' and the 'save senario' available.
Another major component that is not currently available in SP05 are spreadsheets tables, making tables harder to make. However, SAP supports the use of the URL button in mobile dashboards, so we are making progress. The trick is to use the features supported today and find workaround of those missing as of now.
When converting we found that the new “Mobile Compatibility” tab displays suggestions and warning for optimizing dashboard components for mobile deployment.
Figure 2: Warning messages when converting dashboards to Mobile
Warnings as in this picture, simply means that there are better ways of doing this. The dashboard still works. Error messages means that it will not work. We found this featrue to be very valuable.
We also liked the fact that mobile specific text fonts are marked with “iOS 5+” to show which fonts will work best on our dashboard.
Figure 3: Supported Fonts are
Our Mobile Dashboard and iPad Experience
We at ComeritLabs utilized these new mobile objects this week to create a set of mobile dashboards. We found that it is possible to convert existing dashboards relatively easily to the mobile platform. However, mobile deployment is not yet supported until SAP’s BI Mobile app is version 4.4 is released this month (4.3.11 is the current release).
While we found that our iPad dashboard's to execute fine, we noted that Internet Explorer have a few limitations due to the current HTML-5 support. This is important since future dashboards may be deployed simultaneously to both mobile and BI 4.x Launchpad environments. However, we expect all major browsers will have 100% support for all HTML-5 items in a very short time, and as of now that has not been any show-stopper for any dashbaords in our test. They simply works great on an iPad.
The Future in SP-6, DSK and BI 4.1
While there is no new mobile features planned for dashboards in SP-6, there is a lot of activity with incorporating an SDK in the mobile solution for dashboards.
Currently, SAP is working with Antivia, APOS, Centigon Solutions, and Graphomate in Germany on POCs for mobile enhancements using a SDK that may be incuded in the BusinessObjects 4.1 release (scheduled for the second quarter 2013). If this gets included, there will be significant step to sharing objects and it will open up a whole new set of mobile capabilities that can be added in a short timeframe.
I will keep updating this blog with more demos and screenshots as soon as I obtain a client's permission and SAP's new BI Mobile app is version 4.4 in a few days.
But the short story is that SAP is making mobile headways in a very short timeframe.