Google Chromageddon

June 5, 2019 is a day that will live in infamy for SAP BusinessObjects administrators. It was the date that Google released version 75 of its Chrome browser to the public. And in an instant, nearly every version of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence stopped working.

Experienced SAP BusinessObjects administrators will remember the Javageddon crisis of 2013 (see my related article, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste). In some ways, Google Chromageddon was even worse. With Javageddon, something bad was going to happen in the future so there was time to plan around it. Chromageddon happened without warning and the help desk calls from users started pouring in.

Kudos to SAP for their response. The issue was documented in SAP KB 2801734 (Web Intelligence document hangs or displays no data when opened from Google Chrome version) and a workaround appeared shortly after. And SAP KB 2801625 (Web Intelligence document hangs or displays no data when opened from Google Chrome version 75.0.3770.80) charted the progress of fixes for SAP BI 4.2 SP5, SP6, and SP7, all of which have all been released.

The problem was apparently a pain for more than just Web Intelligence users, as Google halted the rollout of Chrome 75 (see related Chrome Unboxed article, Google Halts Rollout of Chrome 75). Some Web Intelligence customers were going through frantic patch cycles when Google released Chrome 76, which magically resolved Web Intelligence problems without patching. So life goes on and Google intends to release Chrome 77 on September 10 (see Google Chrome Platform Status page).

I’m not entirely sure what we’ve learned from this episode, other than the success of our BI platforms does not rest with SAP alone. The other lesson we’re learning is that we used to live in a world where Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) was the preferred browser for the corporate desktop. We now live in a world where Google Chrome is currently the best browser for SAP analytics customers, with Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox gunning for second place (see my related article, Which browser is best for SAP Analytics?). And this week, Microsoft put their Google Chromium revision of the Edge browser into beta (see Microsoft’s Edge Insider site). If your users still rely on IE, it’s definitely time to work with your organization’s desktop support team to insure better and modern browsers are available to your users.

Resources

What was your organization’s response to Google Chromageddon? Share a comment below.

Which Browser Is Best for SAP Analytics?

For many years, Internet Explorer (IE) was the only browser most organizations cared about. Not anymore.

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were all waiting for SAP to support Internet Explorer 9, but alas that was an eternity ago in 2011 (see related ASUG News article, Waiting on SAP, User Communities Fix SAP BusinessObjects Browser Woes).

Last week, Microsoft published a blog entitled “The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser” which among other things states that

 Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days.

Chris Jackson, The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser

In my latest article for the SAP Community Network, Which Browser Is Best for SAP Analytics?, I discuss what the current browser options are for SAP analytics customers.

Which browser or browsers currently reign supreme in your enterprise?

Resources

Zombie Web Assistant in Fiori BI Launch Pad

Starting with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2 SP5, SAP began shipping a new BI Launch Pad built using Fiori design principals. Currently, the new launch pad only provides document viewing capabilities. A new Fiori-fied Web Intelligence editor won’t make its debut until SAP BI 4.3 next year. But if you’re rolling out analytics to new users, especially casual users, it makes sense to make their first experience the Fiori experience.

However, at the moment, there’s one modest setback. The helpful Web Assistant that pops up is a zombie. Meaning that even if you turn it off, it will be there to greet you the next time you log in.

You can access the new Fiorified launch pad at http://[servername]:[port number]/BOE/BILaunchpad.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

The Web Assistant pops up as a collection of green circles. Click on a circle and a pop-up box appears to explain the feature. There’s also a ribbon at the bottom of the screen that also provides help text. In the example below, I clicked the green circle over the Folders link.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

Clicking directly on one of the ribbon’s description boxes will highlight where the feature is on the screen. In the example below, I clicked on the Recycle Bin description.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

To turn off the Web Assistant, click its icon, which is located in the top right corner of the BI Launch Pad.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

You can now navigate around the new BI Launch Pad. Experienced users will recognize familiar features such as the Inbox, their folders, and the Recycle Bin.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

To exit the new BI Launch Pad, click on the “person” icon in the top left corner (will we be able to add our photo in future versions?).

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

Click the Log Out button to exit the BI Launch Pad and return to the Log On screen.

SAP BI 4.2 SP6 Fiori Launch Pad

Depending on which patch level you are using, you may experience a zombie Web Assistant that returns each and every time that you log into the Fiorified BI Launch Pad. According to SAP Note 2723208, the issue has been corrected in SAP BI 4.2 SP5 Patch 800 and the forthcoming SAP BI 4.2 SP7 (currently planned for the week of February 25, 2019). However, the note does not indicate that the issue has been corrected in any of the four released patches for SAP BI 4.2 SP6.

Since I have multiple customers using various patch levels of SAP BI 4.2 SP6, I’ve marked this note as a favorite so I’ll be notified about any updates.

SAP Note 2723208

SAP Note 2723208 – ‘Web Assistant’ is by default enabled for all users in Fiorified BI Launchpad for each login

Customizing the new portals in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP4 and higher

There are some familiar customization options for the new yet unfamiliar Fiori-inspired BI Launch Pad and BI Administration Console.

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP4 introduced a new Fiorified BI Launch Pad. And SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP5 introduced a new Fiorified BI Administration Console. These new portals will eventually supersede the current BI Launch Pad and Central Management Console, respectively. But today, they each implement a subset of functionality.

The new launch pad is located at http://[webserver]:[port]/BOE/BILaunchpad and has its own properties file, FioriBI.properties. You’ll want to copy the original from the [Install Directory]\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\config\default to the [Install Directory]\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\config\custom folder.

The default file contains many of same properties as the old BI Launch Pad’s BIlaunchpad.properties file; however, not all properties are yet supported. At a minimum, you’ll probably want to customize these:


# You can specify the default Authentication types here. secEnterprise, secLDAP, secWinAD, secSAPR3
authentication.default=secWinAD
# Choose whether to let the user change the authentication type. If it isn't shown the default authentication type from above will be used
authentication.visible=true
# You can specify the authentications that are supported in this field.
# By default all the authentications listed below will appear. You can add or remove values from the field, based on the authentications which are supported.
# Authentications List --- secEnterprise,secLDAP,secWinAD,secSAPR3,secOraApps,secPSE1,secpsenterprise,secSiebel7
logon.authentication.visibleList=secWinAD,secEnterprise
# You can specify the default CMS machine name here
[email protected]
# Choose whether to let the user change the CMS name
cms.visible=true
#You can specify the default administration email_ids in semicolon separated format here.
#The specified Email ids will be used when user will click on Contact Administrator on BILP Login screen
[email protected]

The new BI Administration Console is located at http://[webserver]:[port]/BOE/BIAdminConsole and has its own properties file, BILogon.properties. You’ll want to copy the original from the [Install Directory]\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\config\default to the [Install Directory]\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\config\custom folder.

Remember that the logon.authentication.VisibleList parameter is new starting with SAP BI 4.2 SP5 and higher (see related article, New BI Launch Pad Customization in SAP BI 4.2 SP5)

As with the new BI Launch Pad, the default properties file contains many of same properties as the Central Management Console’s CmcApp.properties file; however, not all properties are yet supported. At a minimum, you’ll probably want to customize the same properties:


# You can specify the default Authentication types here. secEnterprise, secLDAP, secWinAD, secSAPR3
authentication.default=secWinAD
# Choose whether to let the user change the authentication type. If it isn't shown the default authentication type from above will be used
authentication.visible=true
# You can specify the authentications that are supported in this field.
# By default all the authentications listed below will appear. You can add or remove values from the field, based on the authentications which are supported.
# Authentications List --- secEnterprise,secLDAP,secWinAD,secSAPR3,secOraApps,secPSE1,secpsenterprise,secSiebel7
logon.authentication.visibleList=secWinAD,secEnterprise
# You can specify the default CMS machine name here
[email protected]
# Choose whether to let the user change the CMS name
cms.visible=true
#You can specify the default administration email_ids in semicolon separated format here.
#The specified Email ids will be used when user will click on Contact Administrator on BILP Login screen
[email protected]

The new admin.user.email property is interesting, as both portals have a link to contact the BI Administrator. Although the link is labeled “BI Administrator” it may make more sense to put the email address of your corporate help desk or whomever is your first line of support for logon issues.

Branding and theming is not yet possible with these new portals, but both will continue to receive enhancements in the support packs leading up to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3.

SAP KB 2572543 – What customization is available for Fiorified BI Launchpad? (Answer – not much – I hope customization will improve when SAP BI 4.3 arrives)

SAP KB 2486114 – How to enable SSO for Fiorified BI Launchpad in BI 4.2 SP04 and above