Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Many Blogs

I thought I would be able to keep up with all these blogs but I cannot so I am posting to let you know that I will only be blogging at Essbase Labs.  You will find some of same content but geared more towards Essbase instead of general EPM...

http://essbaselabs.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Browsers and Oracle EPM

Whenever there are new browser technologies I am interested to see how our existing EPM products will do in them.  Right now there are 2 large browser betas first IE8 and second Google Chrome.  Both are nice browsers with rich application support but they are both betas so there are plenty of bugs.  I tried IE8 first because IE is the most popular browser and it usually does a nice job with our EPM products.

imageI was able to open Oracle EPM workspace in IE8 and logged in just fine.  The explorer screen showed up and I was able to select and open a report.  Opening the report caused a Java script error that messed up my navigation from that point on.  The script errors caused frustration but it was useable.

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clip_image002[5]I tried the same thing with Chrome and got nowhere fast.  I got a gray screen when trying to load the logon page and it just kept trying to load...  I tried 9.3.1 to see if the older stuff was any better and it let me login and get to the explorer screen but I could not navigate.

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So the only conclusion I can come to is that for EPM products stick to supported browsers and use the betas to play with other web sites. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

JavaFX Preview SDK

In previous posts I have attempted to show how RIA’s (Rich Internet Applications) can be used for delivering EPM and BI data to end users.  Until now I have focused mostly on Microsoft’s Silverlight and have gotten some grief.  Well  now I have another option; JavaFX has launched their preview SDK and it is time to see how it compares and what the user experience will be like. 

For this test I plan to see If I can create some Essbase ‘gadgets’ that can be used in the browser and then dragged to the desktop (cool feature shown in a JavaFX video).  Comment if you have ideas and stay tuned for posts on my progress.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

System 9 Gadgets

A while ago I created some System 9 gadgets for the Windows Vista sidebar.   The project went well but when Hyperion was bought by Oracle it kind of got lost and forgotten.  Well I found the source while going through some old files and I decided to dust them off.  I removed the old branding and made sure they worked with the newest version of System 9 (11.1). 

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There are 2 gadgets, one that lets you browse the System 9 repository and another that stores favorite reports that you set in the first.  The gadgets are great for the user that opens the same key reports on some sort of periodic basis.

I think these are pretty useful and some users may want them.   Next steps are to figure out how to post them and to see if I can quickly convert them to Google gadgets.  I will update the blog when I get them posted.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Guess I was Wrong

About a month or so back I did a post on Silverlight and that post lead to a comment on iPhone support.  At the time I completely punted on my response saying that the mobile market will have to narrow before you will see any sort of BI applications for the phone.  Well I am officially eating crow and admitting it.  Here is a press release from yesterday…

Oracle Announces Oracle® Business Applications for iPhone Available on Apple App Store

Ok, Ok I was wrong, and I admit it but the real news here is that this helps make my case about User Experience being a key driving point for future BI applications.  If users get this great experience on their phones they will also expect it on their desktop or in their browser.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Silverlight and EPM

So we went on a mission to see if we could build our first Rich Internet Application for BI and EPM and here is what we did and what we found out.

We used Silverlight for our first try.  We selected Silverlight over other RIA technologies because; one we knew C# and two there is a pretty good beta available for Silverlight.  We are considering other technologies but wanted to start with what we could use and get running the fastest.

We started with lots of research and came up with two projects.  The first project consisted of building what we called a Provider DLL (thanks Mike) that talked HTTP and XML to the existing Smart View back-end.  This gave us access to the Planning and FM repositories (Forms, Business Rules and Calculations) and access to Essbase (Data and Calculations).  The second project was the UI, this was done with a mix of Expression Blend and Visual Studio.  This turned out pretty awesome and was very easy but we did find that there is not a whole lot out there as far as controls go for BI and EPM.  We had to build all of our own controls.  Here are some screen shots.

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The really cool part about the application is the async nature of RIA’s.  Basically everything is async and this really makes for a rich and crisp UI experience…  No browser lockups, fast operations, run multiple operations at once, etc.  Overall RIA’s seem to have a place in more than just consumer applications and we will continue to explore the possibilities of applying this technology to BI and EPM.  Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Another Site Specific Browser

I got a comment pointing me in the direction of another site specific browser Bubbles.  This is a Windows SSB that has many of the same features as the ones I spoke about in my earlier post on this topic.  This one also has some cool extension capabilities that enhance the SSB experience.  For example you can get an extension for Yahoo mail and you will get System tray notifications when you get new mail.  I applied this to Workspace and every thing worked great, here is a screen shot:

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The extensions could be powerful in the context of BI and EPM.  The first thing that comes to mind is notifications like the ones in Smart Space or some how tie into the notifications in Workspace.  For now I just like having Workspace always running in my system tray.