Information Design Tool
The information design tool is an SAP BusinessObjects metadata design environment that enables a designer to extract, define, and manipulate metadata from relational and OLAP sources to create and deploy SAP BusinessObjects universes.
A universe is an organized collection of metadata objects that enable business users to analyze and report on corporate data in a non-technical language. These objects include dimensions, measures, hierarchies, attributes, pre-defined calculations, functions, and queries. The metadata object layer, called the business layer, is built on a relational database schema or an OLAP cube, so the objects map directly to the database structures via SQL or MDX expressions. A universe includes connections identifying the data sources so queries can be run on the data.
The role of the universe is to provide the business user with semantically understandable business objects. The user is free to analyze data and create reports using relevant business language regardless of the underlying data sources and structures.
Universes created using the information design tool can be used by the following SAP BusinessObjects data analysis and reporting applications starting with version BI 4:
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence -SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise -SAP BusinessObjects Explorer -SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard Design
To enable the designer to create universes, the information design tool provides the resources necessary to do the following:
Create connections to data sources. Extract a complete OLAP cube schema. Extract tables and joins to build a relational schema called a data foundation. Create metadata objects from the cube or the data foundation. These objects are contained and organized in a business layer. The SQL and MDX expressions within objects can be validated and queries run against the target databases to test the business layer. Share resources to allow multiple designers to work on the same resources concurrently. Publish a universe, which compiles the business layer, the data foundation, and the connections into a single universe file (.unx): Publish a universe to a repository to be implemented in deployments of SAP BusinessObjects data analysis and reporting applications.
Publish a universe locally, to be implemented by client applications in standalone mode (for example Web Intelligence Rich Client).
Create security profiles to define user access to universe data and metadata.
Who uses the information design tool? The universe designer may be a database administrator, an applications manager or developer, a project manager, or a report creator who has acquired enough technical skills to create universes for other users. A security administrator also uses the information design tool to define universe security profiles. There can be more than one universe designer in a company. The number of universe designers depends on the company's data requirements. For example, one universe designer could be appointed for each application, project, department, or functional area.
About resources in the information design tool
The information design tool provides the following design resources to extract metadata and build universes.
Starting the information design tool
The information design tool is installed with the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform Client Tools. For more information on installing the BI platform Client Tools, see the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite 4.0 Master Guide, or the SAP Crystal Server 2011 Getting Started Guide.
Once the client tools are installed on your machine, for example in a Windows installation of the BI platform, you can start the information design tool with the command: Start > All
programs > SAP BusinessObjects BI platform 4 > SAP BusinessObjects BI platform Client Tools > Information Design Tool.
No authentication is required to use the information design tool in offline mode (not connected to a repository). You can begin creating and editing local resources.
About the information design tool interface
The information design tool interface is composed of views and editors that let you navigate and work on different resources. For more information about each view, see the Related Topics.
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Setting preferences in the information design tool
To set preferences, from the information design tool main menu, select Window > Preferences. The following table gives a brief description of the types of preferences you can set. For more information, see the related topics.
Setting preferences for check integrity
In the check integrity preference page, you can select rules to be run automatically whenever you save a resource. You can also change the severity of the messages returned by each rule.
From the information design tool main menu, select Window > Preferences. In the "Preferences" dialog box, expand the Information Design Tool node, and select Check Integrity. To select rules to be run automatically when you save a resource:
- Select the Enable background check integrity on save option.
- Select the rules to include in the background check.
- The Cost column indicates the relative processing time required to execute the rule.
To change the severity of the messages returned by a rule, click in the Severity column for the rule. Select a severity from the list. To restore the default values for check integrity preferences, click Restore Defaults. To save the changes and continue editing preferences, click Apply. To save the changes and close the "Preferences" dialog box, click OK.
The background check takes effect immediately.
Setting preferences for the Data Foundation Editor
The Data Foundation Editor preference pages allow you to change detection options, how objects are displayed in the Data Foundation Editor, and print options for the data foundation.
From the information design tool main menu, select Window > Preferences. In the "Preferences" dialog box, expand the Information Design Tool node and select Data Foundation Editor. The "Data Foundation Editor" page allows you to select options for how connections are displayed in the data foundation. To change other display options, expand the Data Foundation Editor node and select one of the following pages:
Appearance-Set display options for columns, tables, and joins in the Data Foundation Editor
Directions-Set whether or not to automatically detect tables, joins, and cardinalities when inserting tables into the data foundation
Performance-Set options that impact how graphics are displayed in the Data Foundation Editor.
Printing-Set print options when saving the data foundation as a report.
To restore the default values for preferences on the current page, click Restore Defaults. To save the changes and continue editing preferences, click Apply. To save the changes and close the "Preferences" dialog box, click OK.
Setting languages used by the information design tool
From the information design tool main menu, select Window > Preferences. In the "Preferences" dialog box, expand the Information Design Tool node and select Languages. To change the language of the user interface, select the language from the "Product Languages" list. To change the Preferred Viewing Locale, select the language from the list.
For information about the Preferred Viewing Locale and how it impacts the language display, see the related topic about multilingual universes.
To save the changes and continue editing preferences, click Apply. To save the changes and close the "Preferences" dialog box, click OK. Exit and restart the information design tool for the language change to take effect.
Setting middleware for secured relational connections
The secure connections middleware preference applies only if the "Download connection locally" right is granted in the Central Management Console for the connection.
When running queries on secured relational connections in the information design tool, you can choose to run queries on the server using the server middleware driver, or locally using the local middleware driver.
From the information design tool main menu, select Window > Preferences. In the "Preferences" dialog box, expand the Information Design Tool node and select Secured Connections. Select the middleware to use:
Server middleware To use the middleware driver on the repository server.
Local middleware To use the middleware driver on the local machine.
To restore the default value, click Restore Defaults. To save the changes and continue editing preferences, click Apply. To save the changes and close the "Preferences" dialog box, click OK.
How to create a universe with the information design tool
Make sure the middleware drivers are configured for the data sources to which you want to connect.
For more information about middleware configuration, see the Data Access Guide.
For information about supported data sources, see the Supported Platforms documentation available at the SAP BusinessObjects Support site at http://service.sap.com/bosap-support.
Make sure you have the appropriate rights defined in the Central Management Console (CMC). See the related topic about CMC rights for information design tool users.
Decide if the data foundation type should be single-source or multisource-enabled. The type and number of connections available, as well as the SQL syntax that is used to define SQL structures, depends on the data foundation type. For more information, see the related topic about data foundation types.
Connections for multisource-enabled data foundations must be secured, relational connections, and are managed by the data federation service. Information about tuning the data federation service can be found in the Data Federation Administration Tool Guide.
The procedure to create a universe varies slightly for different types of data sources. More information is available about the following types of universes: Universes on SAP NetWeaver BW
- Universes on SAP ERP
- Universes on Microsoft Analysis Services (MSAS)
- Universes on Essbase
- Universes on SAS
- Multilingual universes
Note: For OLAP universes, you do not need to create a data foundation. The business layer is built directly from the objects you select in the source cube.
Links to more information on each step in the procedure can be found in the Related Topics.
Create a local project. In the Local Projects View select File > New > Project. The resources you use to build the universe are created and stored in the project. Define the connections. Connections can be local or secured:
Create a local connection if you want to publish the universe on the local file system. Later, you can publish the business layer to a repository.
Create a secured connection if you want to create a multisource-enabled universe, or if you want to publish the universe in a repository without first publishing locally. For secured connections, you must create connection shortcuts in the local project to reference the secured connections in the repository.
Create the data foundation (relational data sources only). In the Local Projects View, right-click the project folder and select New > Data Foundation.
- For a single-source universe, select a single connection identifying the database source.
- To build a data foundation with multiple relational connections, create a multisource-enabled data foundation.
The data foundation opens in the editor. To build the structure of the data foundation, see the related topic.
Create a business layer. In the Local Projects View, right-click the project folder and select New > Business Layer.
For relational business layers, select the data foundation to be the basis for the business layer. You can choose to automatically generate objects in the business layer for all data foundation structures, or select columns to be mapped as objects.
Note: To build a universe on multiple data sources (relational data sources only), the business layer must be based on a multisource-enabled data foundation.
For OLAP business layers, select the connection to the OLAP cube. Objects are created automatically for all structures in the cube.
The business layer opens in the editor. To build the business layer, see the related topic.
In the business layer, you can create and run queries to validate and test the universe. Publish the business layer:
- Business layers based on local connections must be published to a folder on the local file system. Later, you can publish the resulting local universe to a repository.
- Business layers based on one or more secured connections must be published to the repository on the same Central Management System where the secured connections are stored.
Follow the steps below if you created a local universe and now want to publish the universe to a repository. Business layers based on local connections can be changed to reference secured connections and published to a repository.
In the Local Projects View, right-click the local connection and select Publish Connection to a Repository.
When asked, create a connection shortcut.
For relational connections, edit the data foundation and change the connection to use the connection shortcut.
For OLAP connections, edit the business layer and change the connection to use the connection shortcut.
In the Local Projects View, right-click the business layer and select Publish > To a Repository.
Define universe security. To open the Security Editor, on the information design tool main menu, select Window > Security Editor. Open a session on the repository where the universe is published.
Use the Security Editor to define security profiles on the published universe. You also use the Security Editor to assign profiles to users and groups.
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