Use Crystal Reports Data Consumer and subreports to burst complex Xcelsius dashboards

More often than not Xcelsius dashboard developers are being asked to come up with ways to burst the dashboard. It makes perfect sense. Dashboards are typically high level executive summaries, designed for management consumption, and managers typically prefer to have information pushed to them then go pullingĀ  for it. The more “executive” the dashboard is, the stronger the requirement to be able to “email” the dashboard is. The problem is that at the moment, with BOE version 3.x, there is no native way to schedule and email Xcelsius dashboards. They are designed to be consumed online. There are third party tools that can handle this (like InfoSol), but if you are looking to stay within the constraints of the “out-of-the-box” BOE platform, this can be quite a challenge.
One way to work around this problem is to leverage Crystal Reports as the “container” for the dashboard. You can use Crystal for two purposes:
1. Crystal reports that embed Xcelsius .swf files CAN be scheduled and bursted, as PDF for example, from InfoView
2. You can connect Xcelsius to live data using the Crystal Reports Data Consumer connection to get data from the universe populated in real time into the dashboard
The main limitation on the Crystal Reports Data Consumer connection is that you can only have one of those in any .xlf file. Well, luckily, Crystal provides a good solution to that problem in the way of subreports. You can create multiple .swf files and “connect” them in a single master Crystal reports as individual subreports.

There are additional limitations to this approach, and highly complex dashboard will not lend themselves to this method, but for moderately complex dashboards that require combining multiple data sets that span different granularities, this can be a simple and clean solution.
You can find the sample .xlf, .swf and .rpt files here. The samples use the e-Fashion universe for live data

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4 Responses to Use Crystal Reports Data Consumer and subreports to burst complex Xcelsius dashboards

  1. ron tyndall says:

    One other question. Why do the reports prompt me to log into Enterprise when I try to open them?

  2. ron tyndall says:

    I am trying to use your files from the
    ‘Use Crystal Reports Data Consumer and subreports to burst complex Xcelsius dashboards’ article but the efashion database does nto have an efashion_query object in the default database.

    Is it possible to get the database you are using in the examples?

    Thank You for any help you can provide.
    Ron Tyndall

    • Ron Keler says:

      Ron, thank you. In this example, Revenue_Quadrant1.rpt contains the Year and Sales revenue objects from the e-Fashion universe, Geo_Quadrant2.rpt contains the State and Sales revenue objects, Managers_Quadrant3.rpt contains 2 queries: [Name of manager], [Sales revenue] and [Margin], second query contains: [Name of manager] and [Discount], the queries join on manager name and Product_Quadrant4.rpt contains [Year], [Lines] and [Sales revenue]. This should be all you need to recreate the rpt files using the e-Fashion universe in BusinessObjects.

      • ron tyndall says:

        For the Managers_Quadrant3.rpt I am not sure what tables you are using. I do not find any table with Name of Manager, Discount or Margin, etc.

        Thanks for the help.

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