SAP Enterprise Portal brings a range of powerful features to your
SAP BW solution: role-based data access, Drag&Relate features for
accessing information across systems without separate log-ins, and (best
of all for your development team) easy integration right out of the box.
But if you really want to dazzle your users, you can further enhance the
functions of the portal with client-side eventing. With
eventing among BW iViews in the portal, users can make a change in one
iView in their portal screen and see it instantly generate related information
in other views in the portal.
For administrators, consultants, and developers,
the good news is that with a little work, you can bring this capability
to your users. SAP provides plenty of detailed information on how to successfully
support BW eventing in your SAP Enterprise Portal environment. And you
can do it as soon as you’ve integrated your SAP BW 3.0/3.1 solution
with SAP Enterprise Portal 5.0 or higher.
In this article, we’ll start with
a quick look at how users might leverage this function and an overview
of how it works, along with references to the documentation and code that
will get you started.
If Users Already Have Drag&Relate, Do
They Also Need Eventing?
Users might use both eventing and Drag&Relate in a single browser
session — both are powerful features for easily getting information
to users. Here’s a closer look at them both.
Drag&Relate is built
right into SAP BW, and SAP Enterprise Portal tools support it by including
it as part of the portal. Suppose a user is looking into the products
a customer has purchased over the last couple of months. The user can
view that information in one iView tied to the BW system.
To gather additional information about
the top customer purchase, the user simply selects the product name and
drags it into a second iView linked to the backend system. There the user
can find master data — product specifications, available colors
— all without a separate log-in.
Drag&Relate also helps users access
outside systems — for example, by dragging the item to Google, CNN.com,
or Amazon, they can see whether it is mentioned on those sites. In other
words, Drag&Relate allows users to jump from a single iView to another
system or application seamlessly.1
Eventing provides another
kind of easy access to information — it
allows iViews to
communicate with each other. Suppose
a portal page for the BI
Analyst role contains several BW iViews.
The user needs to see products and materials
listed by ABC classification2
from a single portal page, and to view this
information from multiple perspectives — pie
charts, Gantt charts, tables, and so on —
each presented in a separate iView. (Why not
show all these views in one single iView? See
the sidebar below.)
|When It Comes to iViews,
Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better!
You’ll often see a number of different iViews on a single portal
page. By creating multiple iViews instead of a single iView with multiple
functions, you give users much more flexibility in the look and functionality
of the portal page — users can pick and choose just the iViews
they need. If they want data presented as an ABC chart but not as
a table, they can remove one iView from their portal page and replace
it with another, more applicable iView.
||An iView for Selecting the Typce of ABC Classification
In this scenario, an “ABC Selection” iView can give the user
a choice between “ABC Classification Vendors” and “ABC
Classification Material” (see Figure 1). When the
user makes a selection in this iView, the other iViews on the page will
change accordingly, and display the requested information in various formats
— pie chart, table, etc. (see Figure 2).
||Updating Other iViews Based on the "ABC Selection" iView
How Client-Side Eventing Works
SAP provides a wealth of “how-to” information — including
code and step-by-step instructions — for installing client-side
eventing (see the Resources sidebar). While we won’t delve into
all those details here, we will provide a brief overview of how the eventing
process works (see Figure 3).
||An Overview of the SAP Enterprise Portal Framework
Client-side eventing makes it possible for iViews to communicate with
one another on the client side and to communicate with the portal itself.
the browser events. The connection permits iViews to exchange data even
if the “Sender” and “Receiver” iViews are not
aware of one another. The eventing mechanism is implemented so that a
single sender (event producer) can have multiple receivers (event consumers).
When the user makes a selection — generates an event — in
the Sender iView, the data object passes to the Enterprise Portal
Client Framework (EPCF). The EPCF is a service in the portal
simplifies the client-side programming of Web components. The EPCF then
forwards a parameter to each of the receiving iViews that subscribe to
the event (see Figure 3). The iView is then updated in the portal page.
EPCF, the so-called Client Data Bag, which is a memory store located on
the client. All the data from one session is stored in one location, where
the iView can read and publish client-side data. The Client Data Bag and
all the data it contains are automatically deleted at the end of the browser
session or when the user logs off from the portal.
Resources for Implementing Client-Side Eventing
in Your SAP Enterprise Portal
For more information on implementing client-side eventing, visit
the SAP Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com/bw
and, under Documentation, click on the “BW How-To... Guides”
link in the “Related Topics” area. The Service Marketplace
includes the following How-To Guides:
- Client Side Eventing with the BW 3.x and EP 5.0
- Enhance the Context Menu in Web Applications
- Enhance Your Web Query with the Table Interface
You can also find documentation
on “BEx Web Applications” at http://help.sap.com.
To make it even easier to add client-side eventing, for each BW iView
(epcfproxy.js), which is added to the HTML coding to provide you with
all relevant functions for client-side eventing in the portal.
For more information on bringing client-side eventing to your integrated
BW and Portals solution, please see the resources listed here. They include
step-by-step documentation and code to help you provide your BW users
with even greater ease-of-use and access to the information they need
from SAP Enterprise Portal.
1 See “World-Class
Business Applications Need World-Class Technology” in
the January-March 2003 SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com)
and the article by Franz-Josef Fritz in this
issue of SAP Insider.
more details on Unification and Drag&Relate,
see the article by Scott Braker in this
issue of SAP
Eric Schemer has been working for SAP AG for the last five years. He
is currently Product Manager in the area of Business Intelligence (BI)
and is responsible for the following areas: BW Web Technologies, Business
Explorer Suite, Portal Integration, and Mobile Intelligence.
Heike Guder joined SAP AG in 2001. She is a developer in the area of
Business Intelligence (BI) and is responsible for the proof-of-concept
of BW technology on the basis of customer scenarios within the following
areas: BW Web Technologies, Business Explorer Suite, Portal Integration,
and Mobile Intelligence.