Posts Tagged ‘Centigon Solutions’


Integrating Xcelsius into Crystal Reports Series – 2 of 3

As usual, before getting started I want to provide a quick recap of where we are with the Reportapalooza competition. This is the last week of voting before the final winner is announced on Nov 22th!

  • Challenge #1 (Done) – Winner , Mico Yuk (Check out my Coffee Consumption Calculator)
  • Challenge #2 (Done) – Winner, Mico Yuk (based on traffic sent to Report a Hero Page)
  • Challenge #3 (Done) – Winner, Brian Durning (voted best Crystal Reports Video by Community)
  • Challenge #4 (Done) – Winner, David Deitch (voted best Charity Dashboard by Community)
  • Challenge #5 (In Progress)What this series of blog post is about.
  • Community Dashboard Challenge (In Progress) – Vote until Nov 12th, 2010 for your favorite community dashboard.

In Part 1 of this series I went over some Q&A on what it would take to embed your Xcelsius visualization (in this case a map) into your Crystal Report, as well as some pros and cons.   In Part 2 I am going to cover how to set up your map in Xcelsius so that it can be consumed by Crystal Reports.  For this example we will be using Google Maps (compliments of Centigon Solutions) as it much more robust than the out of box maps in Xcelsius.

5 Simple Step to getting your Xcelsius (aka #SCDD) model ready!

1.       Install Google Maps Plug-in for Xcelsius (more details on how to do this here)

2.       Add the  GMaps Plugin to your Xcelsius dashboard

3. Configure your Excel spreadsheet to hold 2 columns of data for the Google Map: 1) Map Address 2) Map Labels

4.       Go to Data Connections in Xcelsius -> Add the ‘Crystal Reports Data Consumer’ Connection

5.       Configure the ‘Crystal Reports Data Consumer’ Connection so that the ‘Row Headers’ are bound to the  Excel cell area you created in Step #3

In Part 3 I will focus on the final step:  Bringing your Xcelsius Map into Crystal Reports.

One last thing, please don’t forget to cast your votes on the 3 dashboards that were submitted by the community to show your support.

Mico Yuk is a 2010 SAP Mentor and the founder of the Xcelsius Guru Network and the Everything Xcelsius blog. To learn more about her, please visit our About Us page.


Break Boundaries with Custom Components

A commonly requested feature in SCDD custom components (formerly Xcelsius 2008) is the ability to share data between custom components, across separate SWF files. Usually, developers turn to Flash Vars or other methods of workaround, which present limitations and additional work. Fortunately, there is another more streamlined approach if you wish to share data between 2 SCDD swf’s. This method comes with a couple of caveats, the first being that the swf’s need to be loaded via the SCDD SWF Loader component, and second, that the 2 SWF’s share the same Application Domain (the “This” option on the SCDD SWF Loader). If you can live with these 2 requirements, this can be a powerful approach for passing large volumes of data from component-to-component while completely bypassing the Excel model, if desired.

How it’s done

To accomplish component-to-component communication across swf’s is fairly straight forward. All you need is a ModelLocator-type singleton that both component’s share data through. The components don’t even need to be the same, they just need to refer to the same ModelLocator class and corresponding ModelLocator variables in order to share data. You can see how this is done by downloading the sample source code.

Next week, we’ll explore the possibilities of sharing data globally between swf’s using this approach. Globally, meaning that any SCDD component can access the data exposed by our custom component that leverages the ModelLocator.

Evan DeLodder is a Senior Software Engineer focused on the development and application of cutting edge Rich Internet Application technologies in the Business Intelligence space. To learn more about him, please visit our Gurus page.


The Slow Death of a Gauge

When I started educating customers on business intelligence dashboards in the early 2000s, we used a term “eye candy for executives.” This term was coined thanks to the flashy graphics and over the top shiny look and feel for Xcelsius. This emotional effect that Xcelsius has on customers is amazing and to this day I truly enjoy sharing the technology with new customers. This emotional effect that Xcelsius had on businesses helped propel the Xcelsius forward because it simply looked better. The gauge visual control was certainly the most exciting item that every customer wanted. I am guilty as charged for using these controls over the years, but can’t remember the last time I used one in a customer project… and there is a very good reason.

Dashboards provide an appealing user experience to dive into business information. The customers and professionals who deploy dashboards are collectively more educated, thanks to the specialists who have provided guidance on effective methods for communicating quantitative information. When web 2.0 and business intelligence collided there were only a few places consumers could go to for education on visualization for business intelligence. Now there are large communities focused on this topic, just like EverythingXcelsiusDashboard Insight is my favorite. Though gauges are extremely effective in gaining your attention, it only slows down an you ability to digest the information. Gauges also take up valuable real estate, even when you cut them in half!

So what is the alternative to a gauge? You have a few options:

1. Use a text value- If you create a gauge and can’t figure out what the min and max values should be, delete the gauge immediately. You are best served placing a value or text control on the screen to display the value(s).

Use a bullet chart- If your value has an associated target, the bullet chart is your best bet, especially if you have multiple values that you would like to display with un-like measures or scales.

Use a bar / combo chart- If you have more than 3 gauges with the same measure and scale, you should replace them with a single bar chart or combination chart. With Xcelsius you also have an interesting vertical bullet chart capable of showing actual/target.

Hopefully if your are researching using gauges for your dashboard this article will help steer you clear of dis-servicing your end user. I would love to hear your opinions on this long lasting Gauge debate.

Ryan Goodman is the Founder of Centigon Solutions, an SAP® software solution partner, that is strategically focused on developing add-on products for use with Xcelsius®. To learn more about him, please visit our Gurus page


NEWS: First FleXcelsius Bootcamp!!

Interested in learning how to use the Xcelsius SDK?  Then don’t miss this one time opportunity to learn from the best of best, none other than the FleXcelsius Gurus, as Centigon Solutions hosts the first ever FleXcelsius Bootcamp!

In this is a one of a kind boot camp, you will learn how to transform Flex components into configurable Xcelsius add-ons as well as learn how to maximize the Xcelsius SDK with your existing Flex development skills and create brand new components. Our bootcamp instructors will arm you with enough hands on experience and sample code to tackle custom component and connections for your organization’s Xcelsius dashboard initiatives.

At this Bootcamp you will receive:

  • 2 days of intensive hands on Flexcelsius training
  • Training material + labs source code
  • 2 functional components with source code included
  • Lunch is provided on both days
  • Perfect San Diego weather!
  • And more….

Unfortunately we only have a few seats left so Register Now!

Evan DeLodder is a Senior Software Engineer focused on the development and application of cutting edge Rich Internet Application technologies in the Business Intelligence space. To learn more about him, please visit our new FleXcelsius page.


News Alert! – Centigon Webinars 3/12 and 3/19 !!

Just a reminder that Centigon has to 2 upcoming Webinars over the next 2 weeks. They will be presented by Ryan Goodman, owner of Centigon Solutions and Flex + Xcelsius dashboard expert (Ryan’s secret weapon) Evan Delodder. We wanted to provide our take on each webinar and why you might not want to miss out!

Webinar #1

  • Date: Thursday, March 12, 2009
  • Topic: Introducing Centigon Solutions Plugin Components for Xcelsius 2008
  • Presenter: Ryan Goodman, Evan Delodder (if you don’t know who Evan is then its worth just getting on to meet this guy. He is Ryan’s secret weapon and one of the only developers we have met personally that has truly mastered both Xcelsius and Flex!)
  • Target Audience: Xcelsius Developers (particularly those who want to save time) / Customers (particularly those who want to save money on their Xcelsius development)
  • Items to be covered: How the components work, Real Example cases and success stories, Sneak Preview of what is coming next!