The other day I gave a presentation on the new features of Web Intelligence introduced with BI 4.1. One of the new features is grouping, which lets you define custom groups on dimensions in a report. This is a big deal and something the Desktop Intelligence (aka “Deski”) users have been whining about for the past several years as missing functionality that prevented them from being able to migrate to Web Intelligence. Yes, I did intentionally say whining with the effort to offend. I mean really- how many years has it been since BusinessObjects told us Deski is going away, please migrate to Web Intelligence?
I was sitting here reflecting this morning and thought, “Crap! Xcelsius is the new Desktop Intelligence, and I am one of those whiners I like to disparage”. I was recently starting a new Dashboard development effort and by default started up Dashboards (Xcelsius). I only paused for a moment to ask myself “could I do this in Design Studio”? I quickly rationalized all the reasons why I had to use Xcelsius:
1) It’s just going to be quicker to build using Dashboards
2) I might want to use some advanced features not support by Design Studio
3) Data Connectivity would not allow me to cache results the way I could with a BIWS
So lets take these one by one
1) This one is just lame.
2) Every new release of Design Studio adds new functionality and if you really need something that is not available the SDK has been opened up so third party components can be created.
3) This is my last hold out. Recently BW, HANA, and Universe based queries were added to Design Studio. What I would really like to see is BIWebServices, since they would allow us to run against the latest instance of a Web Intelligence report instead of running a live database query. If you are lucky enough to have SAP HANA as a data source this is not as much of an issue, but for anyone on a traditional database performance is a constant struggle.
So the moral of this story is don’t let your skills get rusty. Design Studio is here to stay and the sooner you learn it and make it a part of your visualizations tool set the better off you and your clients will be.