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Art of BI: Download Smart View from OBIEE Presentation Services
In previous, blog posts I’ve talked about the power of Smartview, how it came from Hyperion, and all of that jazz, but today we want to learn how to immediately integrate Smartview and OBIEE. The burning question is, How can the end-users download smartview to their workstations? We’ll if you’d like to see the option to download Smartview in the “More Products…” menu along with the Oracle BI for Office add-in download, then continue on, you’ll be delighted you did.
Here is what we want the users to see.
Making it Happen
At a high-level, in order to accomplish this, changes must be made to the instanceconfig.xml file. The Oracle BI instanceconfig.xml file is a wonderful configuration file. Anyone who truly implements OBIEE should become familiar with it in detail if they are not already. We need to modify the file to include the element SMARTVIEWINSTALLERURL which includes the file reference to the actual Smartview.exe file that will be downloaded by the end-user. Once this is done, presentation server services will need to be restarted to see the change, and you should be money.
Don’t forget, this file is approximately 118K, so if your network has any bandwidth issues for this size file, you may want to have a stern word or two with your networking department.
First locate the SmartView.exe file
If you are not in a development environment then you will most likely have distributed your Essbase/Foundation Services/Planning installs on a separate server than your OBIEE install. Of course, that is what you should do in a large scale environment. However, to find your Smartview.exe file you will either need to look at your Essbase server, Foundation Server, or your Planning server (if part of your implementation). During the installations of Essbase, Foundation Services, and Planning a Smartview.exe file is deployed to the file system during each installation. That’s right, three times. And, Yes, it is the exact same file, smartview.exe.
Just note that SmartView.exe can be found in the following locations per server:
- Essbase Server – <HYPERION_HOME>productsEssbaseapsredist
- Planning Server – <HYPERION_HOME>productsPlanningbinSmartView
- Foundation Server – <HYPERION_HOME>productsFoundationworkspaceAppServerInstalledAppsworkspace_staticSmartView
In the Essbase Server path you will also notice a SmartViewHVE.exe executable. That executable includes the Hyperion Visual Explorer. If you haven’t played with HVE you are again missing out on some serious high-level visual analytics that would make most finance analysts thank you with a free lunch just for showing it to them. In this example, I will only use the SmartView.exe and I recommend using the SmartViewHVE.exe only for special users that require more power in a tool.
Modify the InstanceConfig.xml File
As I mentioned above the instanceconfig.xml file must be modified. Add the following XML element syntax anywhere under the <webconfig><serverinstance> element. I chose to add the new element syntax above the element BIFOROFFICEURL which is basically a virtual path reference to the OracleBIOffice.exe add-in for MS Office.
If you know anything about network paths you will see that the one above is strange and it won’t make sense to your implementation quite yet, that is because you are about to change it. But, first you must select how you need to reference the smartview.exe. There are three types of path values that you can effectively place as the value for the installer URL:
- Network Share (UNC)
- Relative path (i.e.: just like the BIFOROFFICEURL value of /client/OracleBIOffice.exe)
- Full http/ftp download path
The choice that you make is completely dependent on your environment and your networking/infrastructure standards.
In the example syntax shown above, I have shown you what a Network Share path will need to look like. That is, I turned the folder <HYPERION_HOME>productsEssbaseapsredist, on my server called “essbaseboxname”, which contains Smartview.exe into a shared folder called “smartviewdownload” and gave everyone read access.
Then on the network, anyone can access the share and download it using essbaseboxnamesmartviewdownloadSmartview.exe. But because the selection in presentation services for “More Products…” is an http directive, using this UNC methodoly requires the prefix for “file:///”. Using this method to download smartview from OBI results in the following prompt.
For this option things get really simple for what to enter in the SMARTVIEWINSTALLERURL value position. This simple approach requires you to copy the Smartview.exe file from its Essbase,Planning, or Foundation server location and paste it into the same directory path as the Oracle BI OracleBIOffice.exe file. Using the default OC4J installation that path is <ORACLEBI_HOME>oc4j_bij2eehomeapplicationsanalyticsanalyticsclient
Once this is accomplished simply make the value for the SMARTVIEWINSTALLERURL similar to the BIFOROFFICEURL value, client/Smartview.exe. Now you are done and everything is local to your Oracle BI installation.
However, that is easier said then done when not using OC4J. If using OC4J upon the default installation the WAR file is actually exploded and full web application directory structure is availble as shown in the image below. It gets difficult when using WebLogic, WebSphere, etc. as your deployment tool. Using a different deployment method for the application server other than OC4J you would have to explode the analytics.war file, copy the smartview.exe file into the appropriate <root>/client/ directory, recompile the analytics.war file, and re-deploy using your application server.
When you start the smartview download through presentation services using this method, the download appears as the image below:
This option is closer to option#2’s solution in that we are again looking at web transportation of the smartview.exe file. This requires more effort in that some type of http or ftp server will be required. This of course usually involves the networking teams which may be more of a headache than you desire. Here you must set up the ability to point to one of the three servers’ file system locations to reference the smartview.exe file. Since, those paths are not hooked to any web or application server roots (deployed war/ear files only during installation) by default, you would have to create your own. If you did this then the value you placed in the SMARTVIEWINSTALLERURL would look like,
- http://myintranetzone/someroot/smartview.exe, or
Setting up a web server or ftp server is beyond this post’s scope but reference my previous post on OC4J server management tool. You could use it as your web server for a quick and dirty solution.
If the goal is to keep Oracle BI Server tools in sync with Hyperion Workspace then you may use the application web server path that Hyperion Workspace uses.
This blog turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated but there is just so much information to cover even on such a simple subject. From the above, I recommend option #2 , #3, or #4. They both have their pros and cons but option #2 keeps everything together which I like. Option#1 is good and may work fine internally but using it externally, that is, outside the firewall, may encounter networking issues. Also remember that if your EPM/BI implementation calls for Workspace to be the main portal for EPM/BI then the users already have the ability to download smartview from the Workspace menu as a default. In Workspace the smartview.exe file being downloaded points to the Foundation Services server path described above. If the versions change or your company does an upgrade just make a note to somehow keep the versions of smartview in sync.
Don’t forget restart Oracle BI Presentation Server when you make the change to the instanceconfig.xml file.
Comments, questions, where are they?
If the Oracle/Hyperion SmartSearch tool is to be implemented, OBI Presentation Services also allows for a download option for this tool as well. In the InstanceConfig.xml document in the same XML node as SMARTVIEWINSTALLERURL add a node for SMARTSPACEINSTALLERURL with the following: