If I were to ask an SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard developer what the most time consuming aspect of a dashboard project is, I would most likely get one of three answers: organizing the data for it, the design and aesthetics of it, or the time spent building it due to the difficulty in having multiple developers on a single project.
More often than not, a dashboard project tends to be a group effort; those who have a say in the look and feel of it, those who want to be hands-on in the development process and those who dictate the changes and enhancements for end user consumption. However, anyone who has worked within SAP BO Dashboards may attest to the fact that sharing an .xlf (dashboard file format) is not easy. In most cases, when we attempt to share dashboards with one another, in order to have multiple developers on the project, we risk original file corruption, component failure, and performance issues.
Why does this happen? SAP Dashboards just does not like to be opened on many different machines, within different versions, or many times throughout the day. It was not until recently a solution well worth looking into appeared in the components gallery as a third party add-on to our favorite data visualization tool. This component, appearing similar to a multi-tab selector, is Advanced iFrame.
Runali Ghosh, a long time InfoSol Dashboard developer, consultant, and expert on data visualization projects, hosted a fantastic webinar on February 20th 2018 on this exact solution: How to develop a dashboard in half the amount of time by allowing multiple developers to work on it while improving the performance of the dashboard immensely.
Advanced iFrame is a third party solution which allows multiple developers to integrate a dashboard designed from their individual desktops and bring it together into a single Dashboard model. The concept of how this works stems from a Parent > Child relationship between models so each model can communicate as well as pass parameters to and from one another, regardless if the pieces are developed separately. Because of this, a developer is able to split the development of a complex dashboard project into individual models and then use Advanced iFrame to essentially “stich” them back together into a cohesive, seamless dashboard.
I believe, the best third party solutions out there which integrate with SAP BusinessObjects are the solutions that enable developers to use the fantastic SAP toolset productively and efficiently. These time-saving solutions not only help us develop reports and dashboards in these tools to the maximum of their capabilities but also inspire us to develop creatively. I look forward to seeing more dashboard use cases leveraging Advanced iFrame.
For a list of some of these add-on components and to learn more about Advanced iFrame, visit this page that provides an overview of getdVeloping, Inovista, Centigon and Data Savvy components.