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SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio: What’s New in Version 1.5

by Dr. Berg and Brandon Lucaciu

May 29, 2015

In this blog, we take a quick look at the new features included in version 1.5 of Design Studio. We also explore a few of the enhancements and additions to the tool and discover how these new features can enrich any dashboard, scorecard, or mobile web application.

Overview

With this new release (May 2015), SAP placed heavy focus on improving performance. Along with these optimizations, new components and enhancements to existing components are being implemented. Here are a few of the features being introduced in this release: 

  • Geo Map
  • Commentary Solution
  • Advanced Analysis Templates
  • Online Composition
  • Export to SAP Lumira
  • Navigation Panel
  • Export to PDF/Printing

Geo Maps and External Data

Most data used today has a geospatial element that is being unused. With the introduction of geo maps, users can now get a different view of the data, which allows for deeper analysis and more granular results. Mapping technology has been desperately needed by developers and this addition to Design Studio is a large step forward. 

Design Studio 1.5 

The map supports 10 different layers. Each layer can utilize different data sources and display data in three different ways: points, areas/regions, and charts on regions. If a company needs to pinpoint each of its store locations, it can utilize latitude and longitude to place points on the map. Using shape files for regions, sales can be broken down by country, state, county, zip code, or any other region possible.

Charts can even be displayed on each region to further analyze year-over-year sales or compare inventory between different warehouses in an area. The possibilities are almost endless with the implementation of geo maps within Design Studio.

In addition, Pitney Bowes has also made its Spectrum Spatial map solution available to run inside Design Studio and Web Intelligence. That means that if you buy this additional license, you can now get access to the company's vast databases on demographic and sociographic information on stores, incomes, house values, customers, census data, and other important consumer and business trends. These maps and data points can be incorporated directly into your Design Studio applications. This also allows you to merge your data from SAP BW, HANA, or any other source directly with detailed maps that also include the features found in Google and Bing maps (such as satellite images and street views).

With these mapping solutions, Design Studio is now much more visually oriented. Applications and dashboards can be built that are far more interactive than in the past versions.

 

Performance Optimization

There are also a number of long-awaited performance improvements in the new 1.5 release of Design Studio. For example, queries can be assigned to processing groups, which allows them to be run in parallel. Developers can now simply ensure that the required sources are displayed once the application is loaded in their respective process groups and that the maps are completed first and as quickly as possible. This can greatly decrease initial load times when opening Design Studio applications.

In addition, a new HANA provider can be used for connections to a HANA dataset. This connection is based on an HTTP connection, rather than OLAP connections which are used on the BI Platform. So when utilizing hierarchies or multiple variables, performance can be greatly improved.

Variables can also be unmerged to allow separate selections to be made for different data sources, therefore keeping result sets smaller. Lastly, optimizations have been made to the backend coding utilized within Design Studio. Better use of caching and the consolidation of component request calls all lead to quicker load times and better in-application performance.

 

Templates

Templates can be very useful when needing to create a simple and quick application that requires very little coding to achieve a lot of functionality.

New templates are being introduced as part of 1.5 including a standard analysis template that allows quick slicing and dicing of data, much like BusinessObjects Explorer. Users can use this template to select which data source they would like to analyze and create their own custom view with very little development needed. A Lumira template is also be provided to allow quick analysis of data and give users a view to information in a more familiar format.

Design Studio 1.5 

 

Templates can also be created and exported for use within the company. Having multiple developers creating Design Studio applications, each one can have a drastically different look and function, making each of them difficult to use. A template can be created and exported that features all the functionality necessary while having the same look and feel throughout all applications.

 

Online Composition and Offline Applications

Users will be able to share bookmarks and fragments with other users to create applications together. This further pushes the development into the hands of end users, therefore letting them see what they want to see and gain insights into information that they may not be able to discover in pre-built applications.

Design Studio applications can also be recorded and used offline. This can be utilized for training purposes or when applications need to be operated without available Internet.

 

New Components and Features

With the ability to share applications, developers can utilize Integrated Planning for a commentary solution. Commentary can be saved to the BW system and shared throughout all applications, therefore providing a way for users to communicate within the tool. Users can also share their applications by exporting to PDF. This ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) component can export charts, crosstabs, text fields, and SDK components into a document.

Design Studio 1.5 

A new horizontal filter, or filter line, allows users to easily add and remove a series of filters that requires very little scripting by developers. A new navigation panel will also be implemented which uses drag and drop to add and remove dimensions and measures from the results.

A chart type picker makes developing dynamic applications much easier by allowing end users to select the chart type they want to see without the need to script every type.

 

Summary

In short, version 1.5 of Design Studio greatly enhances an already powerful tool. Whether you are a developer, power user or end user, the new components and performance optimizations will prove to be great enhancements. So, be sure to update your version of Design Studio as soon as possible to take advantage of these outstanding new features.

I will be leading several hands-on Design Studio labs on basic and advanced topics at the annual SAPinsider BI and HANA conference in Nice, France in June 15-18.  If you have a chance, stop by and get some hands-on experience with this very cool tool…

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