Another note about BiGateWay

Dear Readers,

I received questions about how to use an Olap Structure as a Data Source in a BiGateWay transformation. So this Video, to provide more than simple screenshot this time. In this video, you can see how to define the Data Source (Olap), how to create a simple transformation that take some Olap member item and load them into a new Sql table (its so easy to do !) … and best of bread, how to deploy the transformation and run it from Vanilla portal.

You can access the video from here : BiGateWay Transformation using an Olap Data Source

Don’t confuse : it’s easy to do, but it requieres knowledge or assistance (about Olap & Etl in general, with a focus on Vanilla technologies & modules). Too many times over the past few weeks, I received mail from potential users asking for ponctual assistance … on the final step. Before running 100m in 10 to 12 seconds, people have to learn how to walk, no ?

Have Fun !

Patrick

Vanilla 3.4 – Maps Everywhere

Dear Readers,

I just get the second release for Vanilla 3.4, that comes in time with consistent new features. First of all, we still target to delivere version 3.4 in April, as announced previously … always a good sign when the editor is keeping his initial engagement …

This version provides maps integration everywhere, with 2 kinds of Maps support : Flash (FusionMaps) and GoogleMaps. Thansk to Pallav (FusionMaps) and his team, we have a consitent set of co-branded Maps, and especially 3 Top-to-down Maps : World-France-City (Paris, Lyon) that allows us to demonstrate the Maps-Drilldown feature.

Maps are managed in our address/maps repository, inside a new module – Norparena – that provides Alert Management, Content Management, Forms Management and Address/Maps Management. There is a slight difference between GoogleMaps and Flash Maps : with GMaps, we manage point, as opposed to Flash Maps where we manage Cells (workaround for performance issue when drawing cells in GMaps), but except this difference, the mechanism is the same, whatever the maps type.

After, you can design & display Maps using Birt (we provide native PlugIn integration), FreeDashboard and even FreeAnalysisWeb (Olap View/Maps integration). It’s again very simple with the Vanilla modules … and result is attractive.

WebDashboard with Maps & Graphs, with dynamic color coding

Another screenshot from the updated documentation … just because I like this serie of screenshots … (Thanks Charles !)

Have Fun !

Patrick

Vanilla 3.4 – Wide Integration

Dear Readers,

The new Vanilla 3.4 version provides continuous integration between modules, using Wizard and leveraging existing features. Before the Olap/Maps integration (next post, I promise), just have a look at the mechanism for Olap/Dashboard integration.

The business case is very common : a user is exploring a cube, and he want to save some cube’s view into a dashboard, for immediate publication and later reuse.

First, we have some interesting features in FreeAnalysisWeb, such as the possibility to save a view. This feature is there for years now, but we have added a usefull method to record views : snapshot control. While exploring your cube, you can snapshot the current view and after an full session, you can decide which snapshot you will save as views.

Note : snapshot is like saving a view, except that saving a view is a longer process compare to snapshot (shich just ask for the name of the view)

Taking a snapshot of the current view

Second interesting feature : a view can have one or many prompts. Then, when you open a view, you are prompt for a value (member value). Each prompt is associated with a list of value (this is the list of member for the current prompted level !)

Report with prompt on product

Saving the report in the snapshot list

When you think you are done with your browsing session, you can recall the snapshot list and select the snapshot view to save :

Interface to save the snapshots

From FreeAnalysisWeb, we have added a FreeDashboard Wizard control to allow user to select which views he want to embed in the new Dashboard, with a preview interface before publication on the portail. You can notice that views with prompts are well supported, the list is embeded into the Dashboard panel.

Dashboard Wizard from FreeAnalysisWeb

Dashboard Preview

You can preview the Performance Dashboard (multi panels)

Saving the Dashboard is so easy, and result is available to every user in a couple of minutes.

Saving Dashboard in the Portal

Result from Vanilla Portal

Dashboard Panel for view with prompt

Best of bread, if you want to modify the Dashboard, you can use FreeDashboard Designer, and if you have an Android (Tablet, smartphone), you can directly access the Dashboard using your tablet !

Have Fun !

Patrick

When you think you are done with your browsing session, you can recall the snapshot list and select the snapshot view to save :

Fresh FreeAnalysis Web Interface

Dear Reader,

We just delivered our third major release for FreeAnalysis Web, our Web Olap interface, rewarded as one of the top 10 French Open Source Project last year by independant journalists.

It’s been a while we wanted to update the interface, as FreeAnalysis Web is a nice example of “keeping the product align with technology” over the last 3 years and half. Just a reminder :

– We release FreeAnalysis Web (based on Dojo) in march 2007 (thanks to Ronan !)

– We stopped Dojo in summer 2007 to move to GWT and delivered a revamp interface in february 2008 (thanks to Gaël !)

– Now, thanks to Marc (and Gaël), still based on GWT, we offer a major update of the Web interface (and I’m not talking about the numerous new features in the Olap Api !).

This means a lot of time & investment to have this Web interface “up to date” with latest technologies & features. I’m always surprised when I see a product “depredicated” (just have a quick look around … even in Open Source Bi …), because it means either nobody was using it, or no respect for current users !

Bellow are some screenshots for FreeAnalysis Web. Don’t be surprised : since the beginning, we separate dimensions & measures in the navigation tree (on the left side !!!!), and users can save their own view on the cube.

Last but not Least : FreeAnalysis Web is available in both versions of Vanilla : Comunity & Enterprise … no need to pay to start using it …

FreeAnalysis Web Grid

Grid contains numerous Web2.0 features, such as Drag & Drop, Undo/Redo, contextual menu, …

Grid interface

Grid interface

FreeAnalysis Web Graph

We provide a wizard to help building comple graphs representation, that leverage the dimension/measures pivot representation

FreeAnalysis Web Chart

FreeAnalysis Web Search

Search interface is a Must. It’s so usefull ! along with embeded calculator, On/Off for dynamic grid or Percent Manager, it’s the kind of feature that you can’t stop to use …

FreeAnalysis Web Search Interface

FreeAnalysis Web Report Builder

Report builder is easy to use, and provide a simple way to build interactive complexe olap reports

FreeAnalysis Web Report Builder

Have Fun !

Patrick

FreeAnalysis in the Top 10 of french Open Source Projects

Dear Readers

Just a simple post to inform you that Freeanalysis/Vanilla has been rewarded this month as one of the 10 successfull French Open Source project by l’Informaticien, along with other Open Source projects like Talend, Jonas or ExoPlatform. This is a tremendeous recognition of our investment in Open Source Business Intelligence, and a direct encouragement to do more to achieve our objectives on time. More than ever, Vanilla development Team is devoted to produce a reliable and usable BI Platform and provide support to our Partners.

Thanks to some of the key developers (Gaël, Ludovic, Ronan, Charles, Ansy, Emmanuel …) who have invested their time in this beautifull adventure. This is just the beginning … we just started to move to version 2 of Vanilla BI Platform !

Have Fun !

Patrick

Coming back to Products

Dear Readers

It’s been a while since I didn’t communicate on our products. Reason was simple : we’ve worked hard to create new innovative & reliable components and I didn’t want to put additional pressure on shoulder of my CTO during this period. There is  a time to imagine, a time to develop, a time to test and make documentation, and a time to publish the new components. And we are just about to enter this new period of making our new components available for the community.

We keep in mind that most of potential users are not open Source promoters, but they are just looking for free reliable software to help them in their daily job. Knowing this, we took additional time – with some limited partners – to develop and test those components. No vaporware : products will be ready & packaged.

Metadata, Web BI Portal, Web Dashboarding, Web Reporting, Enterprise Management, Web Olap Schema Designer are some of the new components that will be available in septembre. Yes … summer was busy, this is even not a question !

To start the presentation of a new product, just browse the blog of Charles Martin, one of our developer who develop a new component : FreeAnalysis 4 Excel, which is a simple Excel Addin that allow you to connect against any kind of olap database  (Microsoft, Hyperion) or olap driver (Mondrian) from Excel. Sorry in advance : as date of this writting, Charles new post may bring some frustration, as Charles introduce new component such as FreeMetadata … you will have to wait another couple of day to get access to a packaged component.

Have Fun !

Patrick

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

A review of FreeAnalysis Web

Dear Readers,

Just some simple screenshots of our new FreeAnalysis Web interface. We delivered this new package (along with significant enhancements in Schema Designer such as Aggregate Table Wizard or Dimension viewer in SVG format) last week, and we get strong & good feedback from the community.

Freeanalysis Web is based on 2 keys components : GWT Framework and FreeOlap API. GWT – thanks to Google – allows us to standardize our Web 2.0 interface for all packages. FreeOlap API has something nice : its available and its running well (compare to another announced API we used to wait for months now).

We’ve recently seen that JPalo has also delivered their own Olap API (and we had some discussion with those people), meaning that the 2 major platforms have built their own API to delivere their new professional Web interface.

New Connection interface to choose your schema & cube

FreeAnalysis connection interface

Dimensions explorer & manipulation

FreeAnalysis Dimensions Explorer

Graphical Explorer

FreeAnalysis Graphical Interface

Views management

FreeAnalysis Views Management

Have Fun !

Patrick

Developer Adoption & Community

Dear Readers,

Saving times and providing wizards are key subjects that makes the life of developer better. We had numerous nice feedbacks with FreeAnalysis Schema Designer and FreeDashBoard Designer : those packages are user friendly and provide many features to help developers in their daily job. And we are happy with those feedbacks from the community, that encourage us to go further and faster.

At the beginning, most of those developers were using Pentaho platform, and had heavy requierement for better design tools. Finally, they came to us to get our Design Studios that generate 100% Pentaho compliant documents. But as time goes by, we can see more and more developers not using Pentaho platform, and having important self-running Olap or DashBoard projects.

Some decision-maker always tell that Open Source package are too technical, not enough user friendly (for both users and developers). We have addressed this subject and supply the right answer to those people : our package get strong recognition and rapid adoption from the developer community.

Today, we released FreeDashboard Designer 0.36, which contains a new wizard to generate FusionChart graph. This kind of component will get the immediate adoption from users, then validate the job of the DashBoard developer. We want to go further, and we will also embed Chronoscope chart engine in an upcoming release.
Next version of FreeAnalysis Schema Designer will ease the process of aggregate tables. I’m certain – with our new wizard – nobody will suffer anymore when addressing the aggregate subject. Idea behind is to facilitate the adoption of Olap technology at Enterprise level.

If you have any idea or feature request in the Olap or DashBoard areas, don’t hesitate to tell it to me, and I can promise that we will evaluate it !

Have Fun,

Patrick

New FreeAnalysis Web – Preview based on GWT

Dear Readers,

Good technologies have to rely on strong technologies. And there are some new releases of software that automatically turn the previous version into a “so old version”. This is exactly what happened to me today when I received first screen shots of FreeAnalysis Web, GWT version (see bellow). 2 months ago, we took some risks, by stopping the heavy and costly development of FreeAnalysisWeb, Dojo version, to start a new development based on GWT.

Development using Dojo framework was hard to maintain, and it requiered java and javascript knowledge. Thanks to GWT, this is now “the past”.

There are so many new things in this preview of FreeAnalysis : it’s based on the FreeOlap API (thanks to Emmanuel), it is I18N compliant, we have used our experience from the first “dojo” web interface to enhanced the usability … and the result is there : when I received this screen shot (thanks to Gaël), I simply asked : “is this java or Web interface” …

First public release is forecast in 2 or 3 weeks, with the 1.1 release of the full platform … stay connected !

New login interface

FreeAnalysis Login
new User interface

FreeAnalysis User Web Interface

Have Fun !

Patrick