Meeting FreeAnalysis customers

Dear Readers,

I have taken some times over the last weeks to meet customers of our FreeAnalysis platform, and try to adjust some subjects such as how customers may replace Jpivot by FreeAnalysis and what are their behind expectation for the FreeAnalysis platform,

Conclusion is simple and very insteresting : there was a slight decalage between how we thought our platform is used and some ‘on site’ production installation.

And this decalage not only led some customers to run FreeAnalysis outside of the Pentaho platform for detailed analysis, but also force those people to keep JPivot as “Pentaho Olap viewer”. Having this in mind, we will apply some modifications such as our “FreeAnalysis xaction content”, to allow immediate conversion of JPivot’s xaction to FreeAnalysis’s xaction, then ease the migration while taking and keeping the existing developped code (we will add ‘direct MDX’ support from Pentaho Design Studio)

Other interesting subject is bug fixing : nothing else is better than a production site to fix bugs, because they use your application with their internal constraints and development method. As Mondrian expert, we have deep knowledge of some Mondrian’s limitations (for example on hierarchy naming), and try not to give name to dimension’s hierarchies. In parallel, we had developped an interesting and performant ‘drill through’ and tested this function with blank-name hierarchies, then we didn’t raised a bug in Freeanalysis where drilled SQL statment had a bad form (a dot was missing) .. bug that raised immediatly on one customer site. We catched and fixed this bug very easilly …

Another key subject was degenerated dimensions & dynamic dimensions loading. As we provide a dimension treeview, we recently turned to dynamic dimension loading mechanism, and used to load only the first level of members for each dimension. We never thought it will raise some problems when a cube has a degenerated dimension (only 1 level, with thousand of members, for JPivot drill purpose). We fixed this subject by loading now only the dimension’s name, like JPivot does.

Last subject was LDAP security support, directly from FreeAnalysis Schema Designer and when deploying FreeAnalysis Java and Web. We have recently fixed this subject to provide a kind of LDAP’s group – Mondrian role equivalence. This security is now CAS compliant, allowing deployment of secured Freeanalysis cube on a CAS’s secured Web portal

We get also numerous interesting enhancement requests (olap reporting features, support of other AppServer, deployment and platform management) and we will address those subjects with the upcoming 1.2x version, developping those new features in collaboration and cooperation with supported customers

All in one, this customer journey was a must, and will help us to close faster release 1.1 GA of Freeanalysis, then speeding up the rapid adoption of FreeAnalysis as ‘de facto’ Web standard Olap interface in enterprise

Have Fun !

Patrick

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