SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP3 was released to the general public in August of 2016. For a support pack, there are quite a few exciting new features. We’ve highlighted a few in this article that we have found to be the most helpful for report developers working with JD Edwards ERP data along with other corporate data sources.
To view the SAP official platform release notes click here.
Java vs HTML
Probably our most anticipated feature of SP3 is what SAP refers to as “Client Parity” for Web Intelligence. The challenges of using the Java applet as the primary tool for creating and editing reports with current browsers have been mounting over the past few years. If you did not want to use Java, your options would have either been to install the Web Intelligence Rich Client or use the HTML viewer. The Rich Client gave you all the same features as Java but as a clunky client install. The HTML viewer has always been nice for viewing reports but lacked many report authoring features for developers. In 4.2 SP3, BusinessObjects has added many of the critical functionalities needed to build effective reports into the HTML interface. However, we have noticed a few bugs with charting that may still require a developer to revert back to Java or the Rich Client on occasion. (Hopefully this gets resolved in the 4.3 release!) In sum, from our early testing, almost everything needed to build a report can be done using HTML interface which is a big improvement for SAP.
Merge Dimensions on Variables
This might be our favorite new feature of SP3! Before, you could only merge dimensions on objects that existed in a universe. Now, BusinessObjects allows report developers to modify a dimension before merging without having to go back to the universe. Whether it is adding a trim function or creating custom groups it can now be handled in the report, thus eliminating several steps that slowed you down in previous versions.
Cascading Input Controls
Input Controls are filters that can be set up on the left panel of a Web Intelligence report and enable the users to select report data with check boxes or radio buttons or a handful of other formatted options. They have always seemed really cool but if you wanted more than one, you would quickly saw their shortcomings. In earlier versions of BusinessObjects, if you selected a value in one input control, you still had a complete list of values in any other input controls. Now with cascading input controls, you have the ability to group the input controls so that you get a cross-filtered list of values in related input controls as you select a value in another.
Publishing and Scheduling Web Intelligence Reports
“Web Intelligence now supports recipient delivery rules, making it possible to send the publication only if it contains data or if it has been fully refreshed.” 1 This was previously only an option with distributing Crystal Reports. Now to avoid sending blank or incomplete documents, users can set up publications of Web Intelligence reports based whether the content has data or only when the data has been fully refreshed.
Business Analysts will be thrilled to learn that Live Office is now supported on Microsoft Office 64-bit and Office 2016, allowing excel users the ability to analyze universes directly in their tool of choice.
- SAP 4.2 SP3 Release Documentation. September 2016. http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo42/en/sbo42_whats_new_en.pdf