Report SDK roadmap or workarounds?
Hi, my company ships a metadata-driven 3rd-party application which creates and manages universes and WebI reports. We're finally starting to get customer interest in upgrading to BOBJ BI 4.0, so our next release will support that. Like a lot of other people, we were dismayed to learn that SAP has gutted the Java Report SDK, which was the only SDK capable of creating WebI reports. So right now I'm faced with the prospect of a release which will only create WebI reports for 3.1 customers, and leave 4.0 customers out of luck.
Here are some of the workarounds I've been considering. They are all pretty expensive/risky, so I don't want to commit to any of them until I have better insight into where SAP is taking things. I'd appreciate any feedback on any of these ideas.
1. Ditch WebI reports and build Crystal Reports instead.
i. There's still an SDK available for Crystal Reports
i. We believe our customers still use WebI more than Crystal Reports.
ii. We've not yet worked with this SDK so we can't estimate how hard it will be to use or how buggy it might be.
iii. We don't know if SAP will de-support that SDK in a later release as well.
iv. We don't know if SAP is pushing customers toward Crystal Reports over WebI, or plans to continue with both over the long term.
2. Hope for an Report SDK replacement in a future release.
i. Less to do now for us.
ii. The replacement, when it comes, may be more reliable and cheaper to use that the current Java SDK. For example, it may be supported directly in .NET so we can strip out our Java components, or it may be a true XML SDK so we can simply build reports as XML docs and push them reliably to WebI
i. Our 4.0 customers won't get any reports.
ii. The replacement may never come.
3. Hack it.
i. Use Fiddler, java reflection, etc, to emulate WebI and bypass the API.
ii. Look at BOBJ's report archive/migration utilities, or at the WebI repository, to find a way to fake it at a binary level
i. Seamless to our customers
i. Probably way too expensive and risky to really take seriously
Thanks in advance for any feedback or advice. We are of course pursuing the same questions in parallel with our SAP partner contacts.
Terry Penner replied
Update to this thread in case people reach it by searching on SDK roadmap:
The WebI REST SDK in 4.0 SP6 and 4.1 now supports getting and updating the structure of a WebI report. Details and examples can be found in the documentation at http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41_webi_restful_ws_en.pdf
Look in section 3.4.7 - Report structure: getting and updating the structure (specifications) of a report.
4.1 documentation can be found at http://help.sap.com/bobip41/
Solution Manager, Business Intelligence SDKs