Inovista Tutorial – Part 1 (The Basics)

I’ve had a number of people reach out in response to my teaser post about the capabilities of Inovista add-ons. Before I jump into things like the concept of sliding panels, we need to cover some of the basics.

If you are going to invest in the Inovista add-ons, I highly recommend that you get the full developer suite for $999. Remember, this is only required for the developers and not the end users, so it grants a lot of extra features without being a big deal if you have a couple hundred end users. Usually I recommend that organizations have at least 2 licenses because everyone needs a back-up. If you end up building a lot of mobile dashboards with Inovista, they have another option that allows you to package your own apps. I haven’t reached that point myself, but their mobile app reader is a great way to get started.

Here are some of the packages in the suite:

– Advanced Shapes
– Mobile Components
– iOS Components
– SVG / Image Controllers
– Inovista Mobile Charts
– Inovista Grids
– Inovista Microcharts

One thing that I have struggled with explaining to people is that the ‘mobile’ package isn’t just for the mobile app. The reality is that all of these packages work on the desktop as well (with the exception of iOS specific items) and can make your Dashboards rival emerging web development trends. In some of my upcoming posts, I will highlight the specific components that you will find the most useful.

The most important thing to note however, is if you plan to use the Inovista mobile capabilities, you have to use only their component list and you cannot group items in the object browser. While the inability to group is hard for me to get used to, I also find that I can accomplish specific visual effects with a single Inovista component vs. numerous layered components using the standard set. For example, the Mobile Swipe Manager has the added bonus of disabling scroll bars in the dashboard. Now you no longer have to worry about getting components too close to the edge of the canvas.

If you ARE going to try and build some mobile dashboards/apps using the Inovista mobile dashboard reader, you will need to first download the app. I don’t personally have an android tablet, so I’m going to focus on the iPad. Search the app store for ‘Inovista.’

To get started, you will want to create an Xcelsius model with a custom canvas size of 1024 x 718. It won’t be as tall as the standard iPad screen because the app reader has it’s own header. You can customize that if you upgrade to packaging your own apps (but again I haven’t done that yet).


If you want to create a custom image background, you can do that easily in PowerPoint by first making a rectangle (4.8″ x 6.85″) and right-clicking to save as a PNG. You can then use one of two components to load this into Xcelsius.

1. Advanced Image (Shapes package)

2. Background Image Window (SVG Controller package) – This type is actually accepts a PNG rather than a SVG file. The advantage to this style is that this image can act as a container for other components and has options to move it around the screen. Another big trick here is to create an image that is 100% transparent, so now it can be a movable container that doesn’t interfere with any UI elements in your dashboard. See the attached PowerPoint as an example/reference.


Next, in using the Inovista mobile app, that implies that you are trying to publish a Dashboard outside of the SAP Mobile BI app. Therefore, you have to be able to put the files somewhere that the iPad would have access to. You need to setup an XML file that points to each of your dashboards and the XLF source files. For data, you can embed the data in the model, use XML, leverage an existing BusinessObjects BI web service or Infoburst (I believe) by InfoSol.

Here is what your XML file will need to look like. You can see where I reference my inovista_panels.xlf file, and you can access this XML file at


Once you have the app installed on your tablet, you can link to my XML file to see the example for my next post on sliding panels.


If you want to follow along, don’t forget to download the Inovista trial add-ons here: