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 !


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 !


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

Welcome to Vanilla Forms Manager

Dear Readers,

Forms is a key subjects when developers want to develop application that allow users to input data & validate process. It’s been a long time that we provide forms support inside Vanilla, either Google Forms, Orbeon Forms or FreeDashboard Forms.

Forms are used to develop input form when user want to run a report, set some parameters before running a BiGateway transformation, or validate a BiWorkFlow process (such as an order validation or any interactive process validation).

With forms going more popular, we had requests for a global forms management application that will provide method & interface to develop & manage :
– various forms with many instance for each forms, with validity date and numerous options
– link Forms to FreeDashBoard Forms and manage data persistance
– manage form deployment by security group and manage form data (global validation)

With this new module, it will be easy to develop application such as order validation per services, data input such as expensive management or requests for holiday, any kind of survey application, and take benefit of the Vanilla Platform to empowered the global data set.
Vanilla Forms Manager entered its last validation stage before going public, just have a look at some screen shots

Forms Instance Management

Mapping Forms Instance with FreeDashboard Forms

Forms Instance Persistance Definition

Forms Instance Data Management

Have Fun !

Stacked Cells using FreeDashboard

Dear Readers,

With the release of FreeDashboard version 3, we provide developers with a Wysiwyg studio to develop user-friendly Dashboard, Performance Dashboard and Forms. We recently had a request to add a new feature for FreeDashboard : possibility to stack cells, to drill down & drill up on a cell.

Well, purpose is not to discuss if this is an easier method to display data on a Dashboard, compare to standard drill between graphs available in different cells, we delivere this feature as a new way to develop a Dashboard. It can be usefull if you want to have a large “1 cell dashboard”, with different representations

This is an early version of the Stacked Cells package, where you can also see the new  co-branded “Vanilla Fusion Chart”

Stacked Cells Definition using FreeDashboard

Stacked Cells Preview

Stacked Cells from Vanilla Web Portal (another exemple with a list box filter)

Stacked Cells from Vanilla Web Portal (second level, after drill down)

Have Fun,

FreeDashboard Web Update

Dear Readers,

With release version 3 of Vanilla, we have delivered a major update of  FreeDashBoard Designer, our java package to design interactive secured Dashboard. Then come the time for an update of our Web Dashboard Designer, that leverage the concept of Dashboard dictionary available in Vanilla … thanks tthe a crazy good work of Marc, FreeDashboardWeb is now available

Using FreeDashBoardWeb, you can create new Dashboard using objects available in dictionaries, or open existing Dashboard to apply some modification

The look & feel of the interface is similar to the java package, with a simple limitation : you can’t add new objects in existing dictionaries, you can only use the available set of objects, so it’s perfect to allow end User to create & manage their own Dashboard, using a central secured dictionary !

FreeDashboardWeb, Design Mode

FreeDashboardWeb, Preview Mode

Have Fun,


Vanilla v3 (post 9 on 10) – Compliance to Open Standard

Dear Readers,

Important subject in Open Source area is to be ‘standard compliant’. Bellow is a remember of notions and features we have introduced with Vanilla v2 and enhanced with upcoming Vanilla v3 :jdbc driver, oda drivers and remote call to bi document

Jdbc driver for FreeMetadata, to open FreeMetadata document to any report designer or etl engine that support jdbc databasource.

Note : for Birt report designer, no need to use jdbc driver, but instead, you can use the FreeMetadata plugin. Same situation for BiGateWay Etl : there is a native interface available in BiGateway to manipulate FreeMetadata document (but this support can be usefull for other Etl to access to a FreeMetadata “database alike” structure)

FreeMetadata Jdbc definition in Enterprise Services

Jdbc definition in designer (bellow, our BiGateway Etl)

FreeMetadata – through jdbc request definition – Data visualisation

Oda drivers integration to facilitate data access and hide the complexity of internal storage architecture, and also provide an Eclipse way (like jdbc) to access to many Vanilla resources using oda. We provide different kind of drivers, to access FreeMetadata document, Googole document (spreadsheet or table), inline table or FreeMetrics Kpi database. Bellow is an exemple with a FreeMetrics Kpi Oda driver

Oda drivers list

Kpi data visualisation using FreeDashboard

Oda driver and different kpi views

Result in Vanilla portal

Note : Posting wrong information is a shame – in reference to what I recently saw about a new oda driver to access another Open Source Metadata. All is hard coded in the interface, and they are not abble to publish to the portal … so, what is the use ? What is the credibility of those kind of posts and the credibility of the blog writer ? Using Vanilla, all is smoothly integrated !

External remote call to Vanilla object and Web Services

You can easilly publish any Report or Dashboard document as “public”, using a specific profile (group) for data access. Once publish using Enterprise Services, you can manipulate a Url and embed this Url in any portal. If you have java skills, you can do the same calling our document using a set of Web Services

Url and profile (group) definition using Enteprise Services

Result for copy/paste of Url in a browser

Just have a look at what those features can provide :

– an easy way to use FreeMetadata as a secured central – multi type – database (like RedHat Teiid … but with more designer & security features available)

– easy access to any Vanilla structure using oda drivers, in addition to providing access to others database (Google)

– easy way to embed any Vanilla Bi document in already deployed Web interface (such as Portal, Cms, …)

Have Fun !


Vanilla v3 (post 8 on 10) – Bi document Integration using FreeDashboard

Dear Readers,

It’s always funny to see how some “said platforms” have integrated modules. In commercial software, and even more with some Open source platforms,you may have to deal with 2 or more authentification database, variables database, scheduler or workflow engine. And you need to be happy if the interfaces have same Look & Feel (which is so important when you work all day with the different packages)

Using Vanilla is a guaranty developer & admin will safe time by managing a unique database of reference, and having all the component available when designing a Bi document. For example, BiWorkflow and BiGateway leverage all the others Vanilla documents : reports, dashboard, cubes & kpi database. And all Vanilla Development packages have the same Look & Feel (Birt alike), and are using the same set of components (for example : Oda drivers)

Vanilla Oda Drivers available in Designers

For visual document integration, we provide FreeDashboard with a new set of features that allow Bi developer to easily and visualy integrate Report, Reports on Cube, standard reports, Kpi and Maps, all documents beeing manage by FreeDashBoard filters. In the example bellow (Performance Dashboard), we apply a filter on country, I provide you with pairs of screenshot : what you see when using FreeDashboard and what you get in the Vanilla portal. No lines of codes, visual package to manage deployment between servers … we make it so easy !

Olap & Kpi using FreeDashboard

Olap & Kpi in Vanilla portal

Maps using FreeDashboard

Maps in Vanilla portal

Report using FreeDashboard

Report in Vanilla portal

As you can see : no javascript framework to develop Dashboard … we are now in 2010, it’s time for visual development (!!!) and out-of-the-box Bpi Platform

Again & again, all those documents are developped using FreeMetadata secured documents, that ensure every user will have access to his own set of filtered datas, using a central Metadata document to set security rules …

Have Fun !