In case you are wondering …

… why I haven’t written anything new these last couple of weeks: I’m totally stuck in a completely different project at the moment – migration of a planning tool, mostly backend stuff. Haven’t had any time to do anything meaningful with Cognos Analytics. Hang in there!

By the way: It makes me happy that there are actually people visiting this side and I hope the stuff I wrote (and will be writing) is helping you guys.

Have a great weekend!


Cognos Analytics and JQuery

Yesterday we took a peek at the new implementation of Javascript in Cognos Analytics. Let’s recap:

First off: why would we want to use JQuery? A very readable article arguing about it can be found here – also read the comments there. Since Cognos 11 is forcing its users to use modern web browsers a few advantages are gone, but I still like to work with JQuery anyways.

Continue reading

Javascript in Cognos Analytics >R4: Hello world!

In R4 the possibility to add your own javascript code has returned. Welcome back! In this entry (and the following ones) I will try to dig into what’s new and where you have to pay attention.

At first – if you watched the introduction video for R4 – it sounded like the HTML-item just got replaced with the new custom control. So, what’s the fuzz about?

Basically it’s not that simple. There are actually 3 types now:

  • HTML- item: for your basic HTML and CSS needs
  • Custom control object (new): Provide your own user interface
  • Page module (new): Basically javascript code, which affected the whole page

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More details on Rave 2

Rick Blackwell has given some information regardings the RAVE situation. As it turns out, it is not integrated in the last release but will probably be in the R5 due at the end of the year (fingers crossed).

Rick gave a few statements on the IBM Visualization board:

So, as we looked at RAVE 2 we chose a new set of goals:
1. In the box visualizations
2. More properties to allow more flexibility from a single visualization thereby minimizing the times a custom visualization is required
3. Well known technology base allowing customers to find developers with skills more easily

The open source D3 library seemed a good start but there are some limitations we had to overcome. D3 is JavaScript only and we require more platforms. D3 does not provide APIs we require for specific interactivities, data, globalization and so on. D3 does not have the text and label handling we require. As D3 is the best known, and very capable open source visualization library, there are many skilled developers and lots of D3 content available so these limitations did not appear as show stoppers.

To address the limitations of D3, we implemented a D3 compatible library in Java with additional APIs for the missing items. We then generate JavaScript and iOS SWIFT to provide complete platform support. The JavaScript version is 100% D3 compatible, being routinely tested with D3 code we source from various web sites. The RAVE 2 visualizations are also coded in JAVA with the JavaScript SWIFT versions being generated the same way.

RAVE 2 has been is use by Watson Analytics since 2015; RAVE 1 will be eliminated from Watson Analytics very soon.

We are bringing RAVE 2 into the Cognos Analytics now. I expect to see it first in Dashboards in combinations with RAVE 1 and then in reports by the end of the year. Unlike RAVE 1, RAVE 2 visualizations will ship with the product and have many properties such that one does not need to create a new bundle for each minor variation. The exact set of RAVE 2 visualizations and properties is not yet fixed; I expect we will have a somewhat basic set of properties this year and add more over time.

We will leave RAVE 1 in Cognos Analytics to ensure that existing reports still operate. Of course, Cognos Analytics already supports RAVE 1 so there are no issues moving from Cognos BI 10.x.

Next year, we will look at providing an SDK to allow customers to integrate D3 content into Cognos Analytics. Details are yet to be worked out but the basic idea would be to keep the D3 code the same but add new code for the data and interactivity APIs and so on.

The return of the JavaScript – or: Scriptable Reports

IBM now officially confirmed that the support for JavaScript will return in 11.0.4 (as already mentioned here a few weeks ago). Those reports will be called “scriptable reports”. The JavaScript code no longer resides inside a HTML-item, but instead there is a new custom control object. This will work with the interactivity mode. Welcome back to 2016!

Interestingly there is no mention of RAVE 2.0 whatsoever, although it already had been confirmed (RAVE support forums) that it will be integrated in 11.0.4 – maybe this feature will be shifted one version.

IBM – What’s new in 11.0.4?

The return of the JavaScript will be in cinemas October’16.

Cognos 11 (S)hitlist*

After working a few days with Cognos 11 (R3), I already had my share of disappointments.

  • Views can’t be changed
    • In C10 views emerged as a best practice for me – the user always can access the same view, the developer can change the source in the background. Not anymore in C11, the source can not be changed anymore (at least I am unable to find it)
  • Import your own files and use them in a report
    • Might be working, but very very barely. I tried adding my own Excel content for usage in a report. Importing works fine, creating a data module works fine, creating a report upon this module works fine, but then the fun begins. As soon as a data module is added to a report you can not look inside your queries. What, you say? No changig of aggregation type, no filter usage? Seriously? Yap! What you CAN do is (e.g.) add a list and add the data items. I honestly hope this is a bug.
  • Hide the sidebars
    • … and loose the C11 optic and functionality.
  • UI crashing from time to time as in not responding anymore. Or throwing errors. Yeah, I know, it’s a beta. Still sucks.
  • No, you can’t overwrite your report. No, you can’t save here, but we show the option anyway. No, if you click “save as” the next time, your previously used folder is not saved. Yes, after getting an error message you have to start over with the save as process,. *!$”%§&§/(*
  • Go to query? No you don’t! Function seems to be removed, you have to do some legwork. – my bad, found it. It’s behind those lovely red dots.
  • Working on two reports in two tabs? Please don’t. If you run the report in one of them you (might) get an error and the other tab just disappears and your progress is gone. Sort of like the old Excel, where you only can open one file at a time. Retro is good, aye?
  • Validate your Data Item? You shouldn’t! An error will popup and you will have to reload the page and loose your last progress. Hooray.

*I have to admit I’m working on a solution relying heavily on JavaScript and JQuery. So no-fun modus for me and kind of specific requirements. The good things will follow next week (until then I should probably have found something new and awesome)

Just to clarify: This is just my developers point of view, the end-user experience should be completely different.