With the latest patch releases for SAP BusinessObjects, customers may be wondering if the Java cup is half full or half empty. Beginning with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 (BI4) Support Pack 4 Patch 4 (aka Patch 4.4) and continuing with BI4 Support Pack 5 (SP5, expected in mid-November), SAP is no longer including the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in its software distribution (see SAP Note 1767716) . With these new patch levels, Web Intelligence users must manually install a compatible version of the JRE as a prerequisite to using Web Intelligence. This platform change is quietly documented in ADAPT01636098 in the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 SP4 Patch 4 Release Notes (see SAP Note 1729424).
The Java applet edition is typically preferred by users because it contains more features and a more robust UI compared to its HTML-based siblings. The Java applet also provides the code foundation for the Web Intelligence Rich Client that was introduced in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.0. In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, there are just two brower-based editions: a Web edition (HTML-based) and a Rich Internet Application edition (Java applet-based). The Web Intelligence Rich Client also continues on the BI 4.0 platform. Historically, SAP has included a fairly recent version of the Java 6 JRE with the SAP BusinessObjects platform. If a user attempted to use the Web Intelligence Java applet but did not have the JRE installed, InfoView (or BI Launch Pad) offered to pre-install a compatible version of the JRE prior to running the Web Intelligence applet.
While not explicitly stated, there are two factors driving the JRE change in SAP BusinessObjects. First, Java 7 is the first major version of Java to be released since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. Second, Java 6 will reach its end of life in February 2013 (see related Oracle announcement).
Java 7 support is coming to the SAP BusinessObjects platform and outlined in SAP Note 1736762. For SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1, the Java 7 JRE is supported on Service Pack 5 Fix Pack 3 and higher (including the XI 3.1 Service Pack 6 expected next year). For SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0, Java 7 JRE support is coming to Support Pack 5, which is expected next month (November 2012). Support Pack 5 is going to be a big deal, as it also adds support for the first iteration of HTML5 dashboards.
For many organizations, the omission of the Java JRE from the SAP BusinessObjects platform isn’t a big deal as Java is already managed by their desktop support teams. However, SAP BusinessObjects administrators should coordinate with their peers in desktop support to make sure that Java 6 continues to be supported until the organization upgrades to a version of the SAP BusinessObjects platform compatible with Java 7. As always, check the supported platforms document that corresponds to your installed version.
The Java JRE for both versions 6 and 7 are available from Oracle’s Java site.