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What Is New in Design Studio 1.3? Q&A with the Authors of Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

June 17, 2014

Thank you for registering for our Q&A on SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.3.  Jeroen van der A and Xavier Hacking, authors of the book Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, took readers' questions in this live chat. 

Jeroen and Xavier took questions on technical issues and tools selection, as well as new features in the Design Studio 1.3 release.

Review the chat replay and edited transcript, below.


SAPinsider Online:  Welcome to the chat! We'll kick off the live online chat today at 12:30 pm ET when we're joined by authors and consultants Xavier Hacking and Jeroen van der A. Our moderator today is BI 2014 conference producer Bridget Kotelly.   

Bridget Kotelly, BI 2014:  Thanks for joining us for today’s author Q&A on Design Studio 1.3 - especially during a World Cup match (today, it's Belgium v Algeria.)

Joining us today are Xavier Hacking and Jeroen van der A, authors of Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.   They will be posting their answers today for the hour in our online chat.

Welcome, Xavier and Jeroen! 

Jeroen van der A, Interdobs BV:  Hi Bridget, thanks, hello everyone. Glad to be here!

Xavier Hacking, Interdobs BV: Hi everyone!

Jeroen van der A:  Any Belgians with football stress out there?  

Bridget Kotelly: Thanks for taking some time to answer questions from our readers!  We see a number of early posts already, so I’ll let you get started on those now.

Comment From Jonathan

What are the pros and cons to Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A:  Where shall I start :-). The main thing is that, compared to SAP Dashboards, you don't have an Excel worksheet to work with and you have to push functionality to the backend.


Comment From Guest

What are key features in 1.3 (over and above 1.2)?

Xavier Hacking:

  •     BW integrated Planning support
  •     New Out-of-box templates
  •     Native HANA deployment 
  •     More charting options
  •     More table formatting options
  •     More scripting options
  •     Printing
  •     Design Studio SDK on NetWeaver platform
  •     Application bookmarking         

Comment From Sambit Dash

Recently we have upgraded our BO Design Studio 1.2 to 1.3. Is there any provision in SAP BO Design Studio 1.3 to create dashboards (for charts) using geocharts or we have to install SDK?

Jeroen van der A: There are no standard components. In the SDK for 1.3 you have now the ability to use CVOM add-ons (Lumira add-ons); have a look over there. I've seen some examples for maps over there.

Comment From Guest

Up to now in the Web Application Designer, less coding, compared to Design Studio, was required to add objects and functionality. Has this changed?

Jeroen van der A: Adding components is drag & drop. For functionality, Design Studio relies heavily on scripting. That has increased in version 1.3 and I suspect that will increase in the future.

Comment From Brandon L

When using planning, is there any way to save the values that are changed locally, say to a bookmark, instead of them being saved to the BW system?

Jeroen van der A: You are able to store the state of components with bookmarks. So you could use that to store values in the components and bookmark them. If you're looking for a way to store values that aren't definitive yet perhaps it's better to add a field 'status' to the planning

Comment From Jonathan

Which important features that are currently available for other SAP dashboarding tools are not available yet in Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: The thing I miss the most is the ability to prototype, i.e., you need a datasource to see a graph working. Especially with planning available I would also like to see some sliders to handle data entry.


Comment From Shaan

My question is: We have created dashboards in Xcelsius. We are thinking of switching to SAP Design Studio. I need to import an Xcelsius dashboard to Design Studio to test the functionality. Is there a way we can do this?

Xavier Hacking: Hi Shaan, what do you exactly want to achieve? Do you want to recreate an Xcelsius dashboard within Design Studio? Or do you want to run an Xcelsius dashboard within a Design Studio application?

In case of running an Xcelsius dashboard within a Design Studio application, you could achieve that with a custom component created in the Design Studio SDK. APOS already created such a component: APOS Dashboard Migrator for SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

Shaan: Essentially, we might want to recreate the dashboard in Design Studio. But for now, I need to import the *.xlf to Design Studio.

Xavier Hacking: In that case you could have a look at the APOS Dashboard Migrator for
SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio component ( It allows you to communicate between your Design Studio app and multiple embedded Xcelsius dashboards. This is not a standard Design Studio 1.3 feature, but a third party solution.

Shaan: Xavier - So if I download the SDK, I shall be able to import the *.xlf to Design Studio? Can I just download and run it on my machine, or does it have to be on the server?

Xavier Hacking: No you have to create a specific component that allows you to use Xcelsius dashboards within Design Studio. Please check the APOS component.

Shaan: Hm. So I can use the SDK on my machine and import the *.xlf to Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: There is an example on SCN you might want to look at:

Comment From Guest

My question is similar to Shaan. We have created dashboards using BOBJ Dashboards and want to re-create it in Design Studio. What is the best approach for this?

Jeroen van der A: Basically the challenge is not to copy the old dashboard, but to come to a similar design in Design Studio. When you try to copy you will run into issues that are possible in Dashboard, but hard to do in Design Studio.

Comment From Shaan

Thank you Jeroen and Xavier for taking the time out to answer our questions.

Bridget Kotelly: Thanks for joining, Shaan.


Comment From Brandon L

When switching to planning mode, the filters applied in dimension filters are cleared. Is there any way to retain those filters?

Jeroen van der A:  You can use global variables to store the filter values. That way you can re-apply the filters at any moment.

Comment From David B.

Hi everyone. Is there a way to migrate our BEx WAD reports to Design Studio 1.3?

Xavier Hacking: An 'automated' migration option isn't available yet in Design Studio 1.3. This is however a feature that is stated in the Design Studio product roadmap in the 'future direction' category. But it probably won't be available in the next Design Studio release.

Comment From Brandon L: Thank you for your help. :)

Comment From Jonathan

What is an average duration 'from design to production' for recent Design Studio projects?

Jeroen van der A: That depends more on the design process than the actual technical creation of the dashboard. You can build a nice looking dashboard in a day, and you're able to respond fast to changing requirements. Typically projects take 3 to 4 weeks. You can make a great head start using the new templates. Show them to your users and you have a nice discussion starter.

Comment From Angie

Is it possible to access to the new templates in Design Studio without having the tool, to check and get a feel for it?

Xavier Hacking: SAP created a video in which the new Ad-hoc Analysis template is being demonstrated. It gives a pretty good overview. By the way I think this template is a great starting point to create your own analysis app!  Check the video here.


Comment From Jonathan

What would be your argument to move from BEx WAD to Design Studio (and, for example, not towards Xcelsius)?

Jeroen van der A: Xcelsius is based on Flash and Excel, and SAP wanted to start over using techniques such as HTML5 rather than rebuilding Xcelsius. So the way forward is, in my eyes, Design Studio instead of Xcelsius.


Comment From Guest

Is it worth investing an 'upgrade' from BEx WAD or Xcelsius applications towards Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: To give a safe answer, "that depends." If you're on WAD the payback starts immediately because Design Studio is much easier to work with. From Xcelsius, it depends on how large your dashboard portfolio is that you have to redesign.

Comment From Eric

In terms of UI/UX development, how does Design Studio measure up against SAP Dashboards?

Jeroen van der A:  Now in 1.3 the number of options comes close to SAP Dashboards. What SAP Dashboards still has over Design Studio is the ability to prototype.

Comment From Guest

How do you handle the merged dimension concept in Design Studio? Is it possible to merge datasets from two different queries in the same output table?

Xavier Hacking: I think you are referring to the Merge Dimensions feature in Web Intelligence. This isn't possible in Design Studio. You should create such a merger in the layer below: The SAP BW MultiProvider/BEx Query, the UNX universe, or the HANA view you use as a source for your Design Studio datasource.

Jeroen van der A: For sizing, have a look at the administration help document in For tips on performance, look at this great post on SCN.


Comment From Norman

When will Design Studio have the Excel functionality of binding to Excel to create custom horizontal or vertical tables?

Jeroen van der A: You can bind an Excel file to a universe and connect Design Studio to that universe.

Comment From David R

Hi guys, I have a quick question. Is it possible to perform date arithmetic within a script?

Jeroen van der A: Date arithmetic, such as adding months/weeks, etc., is not really possible. Personally I resorted to creating an SDK element for that kind of calculation.

Comment From Angie

Regarding questions from some others - is it still possible now to use Design Studio for complex applications with BI-IP, including Fox, etc.?

Jeroen van der A: Design Studio can be considered as a front end for the planning application, so in the backend you can create the application you need.

Comment From Guest

Can you clarify installation options/components for 1.3? For 1.2 there was just a single download from marketplace. For 1.3 there is BIP ADD ON, DS CLIENT 1.3, DS HANA 1.3, DS NW 1.3?

Jeroen van der A: That is indeed quite overwhelming. For local development, the client is enough. From all the others you only need one that suits with the platform you have (BusinessObjects, NetWeaver or HANA).

Comment From Guest

So there is no Excel intermediate, nor an aggregation engine like Webi?

Xavier Hacking: Exactly. You have to prepare the dataset pretty much in your source, but you can change the initial view from within Design Studio. This means a lot less flexibility and room for tricks like it was with the spreadsheet layer in SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius).

Comment From David B.

What is the level of integration of Design Studio 1.3 with the other BOBJ products ?

Jeroen van der A: With opendocument you can open other BO documents and add parameters for passing filter values. Also you can use the universes. You can use analysis views as datasources for Design Studio.

Comment From Greg K.

Design Studio has simpler WYSIWYG controls and properties. Does this mean that this dashboard is less customizable in comparison to Xcelsius (current Dashboard Design)?

Jeroen van der A: I think you still can say it's a little less customizable than Dashboards. (I am not sure, as there are now three tabs full of options.)

Comment From Guest

Our BW system is really slow. Can I schedule to have reports refreshed only once instead of refreshing every time when users run Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: You can set the datasources to not load at startup and then invoke script to load the datasource(s) when you want to.

Comment From József

Is it possible in 1.3 to use a datasource for multiple objects at different aggregation levels, thus without having to run two queries for basically the same data?

Xavier Hacking: You can use data selection to use only a selection of the objects in your datasource. That way you can use the same datasource for multiple charts/crosstabs.

Comment From Guest

Can we use Design Studio 1.3 with Business Objects 4.0?

Jeroen van der A: I am not sure. For version 1.1 it was already 4.0 SP5. I expect that has increased. Check the PAM for details.


Comment From Angie

My area is more the area around WAD and BI-IP. Is it still possible today to switch to Design Studio for planning application like the way in WAD?

Xavier Hacking: In fact with Design Studio 1.3 the planning features are introduced to Design Studio. So we can now finally make use of them. :-)

Comment From David R

I see the ability to handle arrays (multi-dimensional?) and looping constructs as huge benefits from a developer's point of view when going from 1.2 to 1.3.
I'm curious what either/both of you found to be the biggest benefit going from 1.2 to 1.3 from a developer's perspective? I need to persuade my client to upgrade to 1.3, if only in the test environment to begin with.

Jeroen van der A: The arrays are indeed a step forward. I would have liked them to be global as well, but that is something we can hope for. :-)  
In 1.3 the big steps are the planning, and the numerous new options for graphs and tables. Additionally you have the bookmarks now and the ability to publish in HANA.

Comment From Wolfgang

Is the target group for Design Studio IT only, or can I offer it to the business department with very limited programming skills?

Jeroen van der A: I've seen Business people coming back from a TechEd and making simple dashboards very fast. But when things get more complex it tends to be too overwhelming, especially now as the amount of options has increased so much in 1.3.

Comment From David R

I have created custom components in the 1.2 SDK and am curious to know if there will be any issues with these components going to 1.3. My gut tells me there should be no issue but I wanted to confirm.

Jeroen van der A: I've programmed quite a lot of them and haven't seen any issues yet. I think because you're based on JavaScript with jQuery and D3 you can be quite certain you will not run into issues, but I can't guarantee it.

Comment From Guest

What programming language does the SDK use?

Jeroen van der A: The SDK uses mainly JavaScript, CSS and XML to define the components. In JavaScript you have access to the D3 library, the jQuery library and SAPUI5. You can add your own libraries.

Comment From Wolfgang

Can I publish the Design Studio dashboard to the BI launch pad, and can I view it with mobile devices?

Jeroen van der A: Yes, both are possible. For mobile you have to install the mobile server on your BO platform.

Comment From james

If you had the same set of data, same resulting graphics, which would load faster: Xcelsius or Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: Design Studio is much more a lightweight dashboard than SAP Dashboard can be, because you always have an Excel sheet on board with the latter. What I have seen is that Dashboard can be faster if you have a lot of datasources because DS can only load sequentially.

Comment From J

Which BO services from the platform are used by Design Studio applications for end user activity (viewing/refreshing)?

Xavier Hacking: You'll need an Adaptive Processing Server running in BI4.

Comment From Brandon L

Is there any way to get around the 10,000 data cell limit on SDK components?

Jeroen van der A: Personally I have created a global function to access external JSON data. If you use that route, you have no data binding and no 10,000 rule.

Comment From Rubén Reyes

Is there some kind of specific document about sizing/tuning Design Studio?

Xavier Hacking: Check this blog on Design Studio performance optimization:

Comment From Guest

Is Design Studio database agnostic?

Jeroen van der A: Via the universe you can access a lot of different databases. Design Studio itself can connect to a universe, BW or HANA.

Comment From Angie

Sorry for maybe an old question: Is it today possible to combine two or more different queries in one Design Studio template (maybe one for IP and a normal report query)?

Xavier Hacking: Yes, you can add multiple datasources to your Design Studio apps. If you use the BI4 platform you can even create datasources from different sources (HANA, UNX universes and BW systems) in the same Design Studio app.


Comment From David R

Any idea if/when a standard gauge component is coming?

Jeroen van der A: I don't know, in SCN you can already find / download some examples that install easily.

Comment From Guest

There doesn't seem to be the concept of button groups in DS like WAD, just single buttons and therefore radio buttons may become a common component. Do you know of any easy way to re-size the radio buttons sizes?

Jeroen van der A: A lot of the properties are set in CSS classes. Find the properties and CSS classes by right-clicking and inspect element on the radio button in Google Chrome. Then you can create CSS classes in the custom CSS to change the look.


Comment From Guest

Is it possible to have merged dimensions in Design Studio or merge 2 datasets into a single table, with the data coming from 2 separate queries?

Jeroen van der A:  A component can only be linked to one datasource, so you have to do the merging in the backend.


Comment From Liat

What is the SAP's roadmap regarding the use of Design Studio instead of WAD with customers that run SAP BW web and BEx Analyzer and do not intend on investing with BO products?

Jeroen van der A: You can use BW NetWeaver or HANA as a platform. Design Studio is marked as the replacement for WAD.


Comment From Pavan Mulpur

Hi, I would like to know how different it is in SAP BO DS 1.3 to import data from SAP BW and SAP HANA Studio?

Jeroen van der A: Basically it's the same: Connect to source system, add datasource and work with the initial view to set up the data.


Comment From Angie

What is the current status with drill down functionalities in DS?

Jeroen van der A: You have a lot of options to create them with scripting. Look at the new template that comes with 1.3 that almost looks like a BEx Analyzer.


Comment From Guest

Is off line mode supported in 1.3?

Jeroen van der A: Offline is a future direction, so we'll have to wait for that one.


Comment From Guest

If using BW on HANA and a separate BOBJ enterprise platform, should you use NetWeaver, HANA or SBOP platform for Design Studio?

Xavier Hacking: It depends mostly on what datasources you want to use in your Design Studio applications. If you want to use data from multiple sources (i.e. a HANA system and a BW system), you should use the SBOP BI4 platform to run your Design Studio apps. You can use connections to multiple different systems in the same app.

If you deploy your Design Studio apps to HANA or SAP BW, you can only use that single system as a source.


Comment From Wolfgang

When I want to create a new dashboard, shall I use BO Dashboard which is well known or shall I switch to Design Studio?

Jeroen van der A: If you can start with a clean slate, I would go for Design Studio.


Comment From Steve

What is the best way to bring Live Date into Dashboards today? There are many choices with basic QAAWS, BI Web services, now UNX files directly, and we also have the Live Office options.

Jeroen van der A: Personally I've used the SDK to create live connections; for the future, I expect more standard options.


Comment From David B.

Regarding planning features, is it possible to use complex data binding with DS1.3 as it is with WAD?

Jeroen van der A: You connect queries as the datasource to show data and can use manual input and planning functions to update data.


Jeroen van der A:  1:1!!! [Editor’s Note: Obviously we had to check the game at the end of our Q&A! Belgium went on to beat Algeria 2-1 in the Group H opener.]


Bridget Kotelly:  That wraps up our Q&A – although Belgium v Algeria has a few minutes to go! -   but before we go, I want to again thank Xavier Hacking and Jeroen van der A of Interdobs B.V. for joining us today and taking questions. You can preview a chapter of Xavier and Jeroen’s book published by SAP PRESS, Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studiodownload it here - and available at the SAPinsider Online Store.

Thanks Xavier and Jeroen, and thanks again to everyone who joined us today!   For more on BusinessObjects, including videos from the BI 2014 conference, visit the SAPinsider BI Channel. Look for the edited transcript, and you can watch the chat replay at any time.          

Jeroen van der A:  You're welcome, it was fun. If there are still some questions, people can always reach us on twitter on @hyronimous or @xjhacking.

Xavier Hacking: Thanks all for your questions. This was fun! See you at @xjhacking or at my blog at


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