It seems that all Dashboards projects, at least when they’re past the POC phase, run into obstacles around getting live data in the correct format. In pre 4.0 engagements, QaaWS (Query as a Web Service) was replaced by the “Query Browser” option embedded within Dashboard Design. QaaWS still works but only with .unv universes and not with the .unx universes that are created with Information Design Tool. The Query Browser tool can be used with these new .unx universes but many of the same limitations that were found in QaaWS are still present. For all intents and purposes, you are limited to structuring your data in a vertical table layout and the only control you have over the formatting of the result set must be established at the universe level.
I often leverage this Query Browser option when needing to populate drop down boxes or simple list views as these two examples require little manipulation and the vertical table structure is perfectly appropriate. Additionally, the Query Browser option allows for integration directly with certain components on the dashboard, negating the need to dump the data to Excel constantly, thus decreasing the burden on the dashboard at run-time. Look for more information on the Query Browser option in a future posting as in this post we will discuss the alternative to these two options called BI Web Services. BI Web Services offer significantly improved options to customize and manipulate how you want your data returned to the dashboard.
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About Patrick Leonard
Patrick Leonard is a business intelligence consultant with Atlanta-based Decision First Technologies. He has worked on multiple full-life-cycle BI implementations, with expertise in the healthcare and utilities industries. He works extensively with dashboards, SAP HANA, mobility, and other data visualization tools. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pleonard_DFT.