Reimagining the Xcelsius Experience

I started this blog several years back when I created my custom Xcelsius theme. But challenges when upgrading versions of Xcelsius and the fact that it doesn’t work in the mobile version has been disappointing. Now I finally have the chance to work with a more reliable solution that can produce lightweight, minimalist charts consistently. Powered by Inovista, this custom add-on suite and super simple stand-alone iPad app allows me to get the visuals I want with the bonus of accessing Business Objects BI services without needing a BI 4.1 environment!

new_app (more…)

SAP Dashboards for Mobile

I’ve been working on converting some existing dashboards and building new ones for SP5 to display in the MoBI app. So far I’ve been able to get pretty far, but I am finding that I need to layer objects differently and mouse-overs work differently since they appear on top of everything and you can’t see values in the bottom layers if you are stacking charts. Here is a screenshot from the iPad of my ‘Infographics Dashboard’ conversion.

Keep posted as I continue to develop for mobile and I will share some of my tips and tricks. I’ve already been able to create a dynamic sales funnel, so I’m pleased by that, but disappointed that there is no XY or Bubble Chart. I also miss the spreadsheet component, which gave me the ability to fine-tune larger visual displays with a single component (instead of numerous shapes and text boxes).

– Josh

Xcelsius Tag Cloud

I have been thinking about creating a tag cloud in Xcelsius for some time. I had tried the Web 2.0 add-on, but it was never officially released for production and I found it to be very buggy. So the only thing left to do would be to create my own.

To make sure that this would work properly, I stuck with proven components. Ron Keler from has taught me about EIC connectivity as part of our latest portal integration project and that seemed like the easiest way to accomplish the tag cloud functionality.

Tag Cloud Example

Read on for more details…


Charts with Breakfast

I have a pile of chart examples from the WSJ that I thought would be fun to replicate. This morning while having my coffee and breakfast, I decided to put a quick template together. This example uses bubble sizes above a column chart to display another measure across the X-Axis (time in this example).

I would say that a combo chart or two small bar/column charts side by side would be more effective, but I could see this style being used in more of an Infographic style presentation.

Chart Sample 1


Replicating Explorer with Xcelsius Pt.1

I’ve been working with Explorer more lately and I was curious to see if I could replicate the core functionality in Xcelsius. While it’s clear that a dashboard would never be as powerful as the stand-alone Explorer tool, I thought that it would be an interesting challenge just to see how close I could get.

As soon as I started I knew that I would really need the Centigon Essentials bundle in or to accomplish the task. The filtered sort is the bulk of the functionality, so that component is critical. The advanced sort will be perfect for sorting the filtered results, and the input manager is really nice for keeping track of drill-paths. Finally I decided to use the background builder for my solid-colored backgrounds with rounded edges instead of using images.

Below is the link to my beta version. I still have a lot of clean-up to do, especially with the charting options, but I wanted to post my progress so far. Please let me know what you think and if there are specific improvements that you would like to see. I will post my XLF on my blog once the project is complete.

Xclesius vs HTML5 Label Based Menus

While I’m sure there are a number of ways to accomplish the Label Based Menu effect in HTML5, I have found that jQuery Mobile is a pretty easy way to get a nice looking product. Xcelsius may win this challenge for out-of-the-box power and ease of use, but take a look at the following HTML5 example. I see a lot of potential to create some dashboards that look and feel like native apps using this technology.

These images are from my iPad, but click on them to see the working version.

Chart Toggle Example

Chart Toggle Example

My next goal will be to create mobile-ready icons (both standard and HD) to represent each of the chart types as jQuery buttons.

HMTL5 vs. Xcelsius – Gantt Chart

For round 2, I have chosen the simple gantt chart. Now neither Xcelsius or Google Charts have a specific chart for this, but the effect is easy enough to achieve using a stacked bar and having the first series be the lead time. Then you either make that first series transparent or set it to be the same as the background.


Continue on for a side-by-side comparison and the explanation behind my ruling…

Xcelsius vs. HTML5 – Waterfall Chart

This is one of several posts dedicated to my exploration of HTML5 capabilities using Google charts (which allow for backwards compatibility to older browsers) compared to what I can currently accomplish in Xcelsius.

I already know that the basics are covered (bar, column, area, line, pie), so I’m going after many of the same challenges I faced over the past couple of years with Xcelsius.

My first challenge is the Waterfall chart.