Common SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) bugs and how to solve them

This post is about SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly known as Xcelsius) and its intricate form of work. If you are an assiduous dashboard developer or just beginning to work with the tool, you will notice some bugs that interfere with your developing and slows you down. My main goal is to talk about the bugs or "misfortunes" that I have commonly faced in SAP BO Dashboards (Xcelsius) and the workarounds that I have found to save you some time when working with this tool. My second objective is to open a discussion where you can comment on other SAP Dashboards issues and solutions you found.  

Formulas: from the Excel to the flash

There are some formulas that are supported in Excel but do not work after compiling the flash file of your dashboard. Also, Xcelsius does not work with formula arrays or date comparison. This happens because when you compile, the Excel file data is transformed via a flash tool so it can be interpreted by the dashboard. You should always read the SAP Dashboards guide with the allowed formulas (Chapter 23 page 387 in the following document. You will know that you have come across this issue if after compiling, no new data is showing in the dashboard (but in the snapshot the data is showing in the Excel) or when the Excel snapshot has blanks where the data should have be.


Mapping: cell selection while the cells or tabs are blocked

There are times when you need to block an Excel book, tab or cell (or maybe you just happened to inherit a project from a coworker that needs to be updated and it is protected with a password you do not know) within SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards. If this is your case, you won’t be able to map your web services, queries or connections to the Excel file. The solution for this is to select the desired cells before selecting the connection and the mapping. By doing this, you will make sure that the default cells that appears in your mapping are the ones that you want. This also applies for an object in your dashboard that needs to get data from or input data in the Excel file.


Web Services: load information issue

When you have this kind of connections to data, suddenly a problem could arise and leave your flash file without data as if you had not mapped any object or web service. First of all, make sure that your network is working properly. If it is, then check that the connections are working fine, you can do this by looking at the reports where the Web Service is mapped. Also, make a snapshot and see if there is data in the Excel file. If you have gone through all these steps and you still do not know why the data is not showing in the dashboard, my recommendation would be: patience my friend! You probably have encountered a period of time where your network is being heavily used and the Web Services times out. So, your options are: wait until you see the data by refreshing occasionally, update the time out value to a higher number or talk with the users of the network. The key is not to despair, because this will probably be a very common problem that does not depend on you or your project.


Objects: If you are not able to move them with the arrows

Sometimes you will lose the capability to move your objects with the arrows without warning. This is very common and believe it or not, I solved this by inserting a new Text Box object, writing something on it and as if it were magic objects can be moved again. Of course, make sure to erase the inserted Text Box after you have done this.


Moreover, I would like to give you some tips that I find useful:

If the preview takes too long, export the .swf file and save time

This will allow you to see the flash file in your explorer and test your dashboard; the downside is that you are unable to export the snapshot of the data with this solution.


Make sure you always save after ANY change

You may think that this is a trivial tip, but you would be surprised on how much time you could lose by not doing this. You should save after every change, not only after big ones. The Excel file can become corrupted, objects will stop performing well, data is erased, the Excel or SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards will close without notification, among many other things.


I hope that you find these tips useful for your dashboard developing with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards;

If you know more bugs and how to solve them please write them below so we can all learn about it. If you have any questions or anything to add to help improve this post, please feel free to also leave your comments.