SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) Query Browser limitations

Introduction: Query browser is a brand new addin in SAP Business Objects 4.0. Before dashboards 4.0 when you want to source the dashboards with corporate data, you would use QAAWS/live office (query as a web service). From 4.0 onwards SAP has given a provision to connect to the universes directly using query browser. That’s only one side of the enhancement. The other side being that you can connect to a BEx query directly from the query browser. This has replaced the need for using the SAP Netweaver BW connection.

Advantages of using Query Browser: Before looking at the limitations of this topic, let’s look at the advantages of using the Query browser. SAP is promoting the query browser big time. Let’s look at why

Non SAP Data

  1. No need to use QAAWS or live office for sourcing the dashboards
  2. No need to maintain a separate set of WSDLs in the repository
  3. Parallel processing of the multiple queries brought into the dashboard.
  4. Tighter integration with better performance.
  5. Ability to pass multiple values into the queries.
  6. Ability to pick up list of values for each of the prompts

 7. Ability to answer the prompts directly without binding to the excel

answer filters directly

8. Ability to map the components directly to the query elements without binding them to the excel

map components directly

9. Ability to refresh the query right after making the selections in the query panel

data preview

10. Two new dashboard components for using the query browser prompts and connections. Query Prompt selector :Exclusively used for selecting and refreshing the prompts from one query to a set of queries. Refresh Query component used to set query trigger preferences for each or combination of the queries. Its more like a convenience to the developer where a combination of refresh query scenarios can be achieved in a simpler fashion.

11. Also the query prompt selector is one of the best components which can be used for multi selection. previously we only have an awefully looking list builder.

SAP data

  1. Parallel processing of the multiple queries brought into the dashboard.
  2. Tighter integration with better performance.
  3. Ability to pass multiple values into the queries.
  4. Ability to pick up list of values for each of the prompts
  5. Ability to use the Member selector feature in the query panel for hierarchy enabled objects.
  6. Ability to map the components directly to the query elements without binding them to the excel
  7. Ability to refresh the query right after making the selections in the query panel

As you can see the advantages of query browser for the SAP data is limited when compared to that of the non-SAP data. This is where the focus of the blog shifts to, i.e. presenting the limitations.

Limitations of Query Browser with SAP data.

1. Cannot bind the variables/prompts to the excel cells.

unable to map bex var to excel

Yes Bex queries brought in from query browser cannot be mapped to excel sheet.

The traditional way of passing parameters to the web services (QAAWS)/Live office etc…  is to bind the prompts to the excel sheet and refresh the queries on insertions of new values to the excel sheet.  Now because of the query browser we are unable to do that anymore.

 Below are the set of limitations on your dashboard from a design perspective.

  • The only way to refresh the bex queries is to use the query prompt selector
  • If the user wants to click on elements like charts/scorecards or other dashboard elements and refresh the Bex queries then its not possible.
  • The dashboards are now limited to use only query prompt selector as thier selection option. It means a bunch of selector options like radio buttons/check boxes/list boxes etc… cannot refresh the queries.
  • If you need to pass values between dashboards using flash variables then its not possible.

2. It is not possible to answer the variables from a Bex query directly using the dashboard components(unlike universe prompts.)

 3. It is not possible to use Bex variables and dashboard variables(created at the query level) in the same query . When used, all the Bex variables get greyed out.

Conclusion:

Query browser is a good enhancement from performance perspective but using it will pose major limitations on the dashboard design. The above limitations should be considered (or further limitations should be explored) before coding the requirements. 

How would you overcome some of these limitations ? follow my next topic about BIWS usage in the dashboards.

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