Shared Elements in SAP Web Intelligence 4.2

Save Time Building WebI Reports by Automatically Copying Queries, Variables, Charts

We’re all looking for ways to make things a little easier for ourselves and in the latest iteration of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2, Web Intelligence has done just that.

Save yourself time and frustration by utilizing Shared Elements in SAP Web Intelligence.  Shared Elements is a new feature introduced in version 4.2.  The main objective of Shared Elements is to simplify report creation by publishing and reusing commonly used, or highly formatted, report blocks and charts.  Another use case could be made for highly complex queries such as queries containing many conditions, multiple sub-queries or unions.

A Shared Element is created in WebI Design Mode.  Any block, chart, custom element, embedded picture, category or comment can be saved as a Shared Element and then reused by other WebI developers in their reports, as long as the WebI developer’s security profile allows them to see the Shared Element, picture or category and query the universe(s) used within it.

To create a Shared Element, simply select the block or graph you wish to save, then right click and select “Linking,” then “Save As Shared Element.”  You can also accomplish this by using the Linking tab under the Report Elements menu.  You can only save one block or graph at a time as a Shared Element.  However, adding multiple Shared Elements that use the same query as a source to a document only adds one query to support both elements.

Adding a Shared Element to a document is done in almost the same manner as creating one.  Right-click in any open space on the document, select “Insert” from the menu, then click on “Shared Element”.  A plus sign will appear like when adding a graph or new block to the document, allowing you to place the Shared Element on the page where you like it.

When placed, a popup will appear allowing you to search for a Shared Element in the repository.  Once found, you can either double-click on the element or select it and click “Open.”

When you insert a Shared Element into a document, Web Intelligence creates a link between the Shared Element and the document.  A query is also created within the document to provide the Shared Element with data.  Since a new query is created within the document to support the Shared Element, they can be added to existing documents or new documents created with no data source.  Once added, if desired, the query or block can be modified without breaking the link with the given element in the CMS repository; meaning that new dimensions, metrics or conditions can be added to the Shared Element and used within the report.

Changes done to the block or query within the Shared Element are not available to other users, however, unless the Shared Element is republished/saved back to the repository under the same name.  The security profile of the person making the changes to the Shared Element would also need to be set so that they can save in the folder where the Shared Element is located.

Subsequently, the content of the shared element is not automatically updated if a new version is available.  You can automatically update Shared Elements each time you open the document by enabling the option “Update Shared Element(s)” on open in the Properties of the document.

However, if this option is checked, any modifications that you’ve made to the block or query will be replaced by the content of the Shared Element in the CMS repository and all your modifications will be lost.

Manually updating the Shared Element is also available by clicking on the Shared Elements Icon, selecting the element you wish to update and clicking the “Update” button.  From this panel, you can also check for new versions, unlink the Shared Element from the CMS repository and browse for other Shared Elements.

The Shared Elements pane also shows you if revisions are available for any Shared Elements in your report.  In the pic below, you can see that the Shared Element included in the document has five versions.  The Revision column is showing you that you are currently using version three and’ if selected, you would update to version five. There is no way to update to a specific version.  Updating the Shared Element will always give you the latest version.  The Shared Elements icon also changes when there are revisions in the CMS repository.  The picture below shows the icon with the refresh sign in place of the bottom circle.

Conclusion

Utilizing Shared Elements in SAP Web Intelligence can be a big-time save, particularly if you create multiple reports with the same or similar functionality. When utilizing a Shared Element in another report, all queries, variables and other elements are copied to the new document, but can be altered, allowing for one Shared Element to serve similar, but not necessarily identical, uses.

If this blog didn’t quite answer your question or you have other Business Intelligence questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

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By |2018-09-02T17:39:36+00:00April 13th, 2018|Kingfisher, Web Intelligence|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mike is an accomplished Senior Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing consultant with Consultancy by Kingfisher. His background in large scale Retail Data Warehousing and Analytics projects provide a perfect blend of technical and functional experience and allows him to delve into a company’s data and extract meaningful, actionable intelligence. When he’s not coaching or watching rugby, he can be reached at Michael.Schwenker@kingfisherinc.com.