What’s new in SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 SP5


It’s that time again. SAP has released another “coveted” support pack for BusinessObjects 4.0 with the release of support pack 5 (sp5). However, before you get too excited, SP5 was..well a little underwhelming compared to Support Pack SP4 or Feature Pack FP3. I’m not trying to sell SAP’s efforts short but there were only two big enhancements (in my opinion) with the release. I’ll outline my top picks in more detail below, but the two big changes are the ability to export Dashboard 4.0 to the mobile server as HTML 5 versions and a few needed enhancements for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.0. For some, the ability to export a Dashboard to the mobile services is a really big enhancement but as you will find in a upcoming posting, not everything in Dashboards 4.0 (Xcelsius) will export. Again, I’m not selling this feature short either. From what I have seen exporting to mobile is a very much needed enhancement and many of the components will work in mobile. However, don’t expect every aspect of your legacy dashboards to be converted to a mobile version. With that said, let’s get to the good stuff:

My top list of “What’s new” in SP5

  1. Mobile compatibility for Dashboards 4.0 (Formally Xcelsius) with the ability to preview a mobile version directly in the user interface.
  2. The ability to change the data source of an Explorer 4.0 information space. However only information spaces based on BWA (BW Accelerator), SAP Hana, and universes (.UNX) can be changed. Hopefully the ability to change spreadsheets or at least the ability to update a spreadsheet, within an existing info space, will come in the next SP.
  3. Explorer 4.0 facet enhancements. Users will now have preference options to show / hide facets in order to increase the render speed of information spaces.  This is achieved because the aggregations within the facets are only executed as needed by the users. For information spaces that have high cardinality facets or 30+ facets, this will greatly enhance the render speed without the need to remove the facets from the info space. Users can also change the facet display order.
  4. Query Striping for Web Intelligence reports based on BEx queries is now enabled by default. However, only in the query panel level (Query Panel Properties). This is a much needed change in my opinion. Many developers forget to enable this option and consequently consumers of the report suffer poor performance.
  5. Both the MobileBIService and MOBIServer Tomcat WAR files are automatically deployed. These are the Tomcat contexts that manage the BI Mobile services in BusinessObjects 4.0. The MobileOTA14.war file will still need to be deployed manually but it only contains the client applications for Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian OS devices. The PAM now officially lists mobile services as supported on Linux as well. Check out the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 4.0 SP5 guide. (Requires SMP logon)

This is my personal top 5. However, there are several other enhancements as well. For a complete list of changes check out the SAP BusinessObject 4.0 What’s New Guide. Please post your comments if you find anything important not mentioned above.

Should you upgrade to SP5?

This is not as easy to answer as with SP4. While SP5 has several great new features it is missing fixes found in SP4 Patches 4 through 6+. Before you rush to SP5 check the release notes for SP4 Patch 6 (4.6+) and investigate the ADAPs listed in the 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6+ sections. Make sure there are no listed fixes that would impact your deployment. If you are already on 4.0 SP4 and Patches 4, 5 or 6 you will be downgrading your patch level if you install SP5. See the Release notes for 4.6 for more information. If you don’t need the patch fixes 4, 5 or 6 but need the listed enhancements, SP5 would be well worth the while.

Update (01/10/2013)

I discovered from a contact at SAP (this past week) that they are not including all of the Patches (FPs) or ADAPS from the SP4 patch track in SP5. In short, don’t expect SP5 to ever have all of the fixes that are found in SP4’s patches . However, they are still releasing patches for SP5 with limited fixes. This statement agrees with what is listed in the forward fit document (Requires SMP logon). Those that are on SP5 will have the benefits of it’s new features but they will not have all of the later released fixes of SP2 and SP4 until SP6 (May 2013) or major version 4.1 (Unknown Release Date) is released. This is the first time that I remember something like this occurring with BusinessObjects. Typically each SP will eventually be patched to the same level as its predecessor and it typically lags behind 1-3 patch levels. SP5 will be different in that only major issues will be addressed subjectively by SAP in SP5.  It would have been nice to know this when SP5 was first released as some of the fixes in the SP4 patch line are critical. On the other hand, some of the enhancements in SP5 needed to be released sooner rather then later. I would recommend that everyone review the SP4 Patch 4 through 9+ Release Note (Requires SMP logon) before installing SP5 to make sure your setup will have all applicable fixes. You can also review the SP5 Patch 1 & 2 release notes to see the ADAP’s that are being addressed in SP5’s patches.

As always, I would also recommend that you review the SP5 release notes as there are quite a few Known Issues and Limitations for SP5. SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 SP5 Release Notes (Requires SMP logon)

Important SP5 Links:

Forward Fit Plan Document

SAP BusinessObject 4.0 What’s New Guide

SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 SP5 Release Notes (Requires SMP logon)

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 4.0 SP5 guide. (Requires SMP logon)

36 comments

  1. Hi Johnathan,

    Great blog as usual, I’ll be very interested to see how a dashboard from SP05 will render and run on the IPad. From a dashboard point of view I think there are a few products out there with a larger scale of capabilities than SAP mobile, like RoamBi for example, hopefully design studio and Xcelsius SP05 bridges that gap.

    When ramping up to SP04 from SP02 it wasn’t till patch 5 that most of our issues specific to BICS connections were resolved. Hence I will be rigorously testing in a sandbox environment before putting it anywhere near development let alone a production environment. It will be great to give some feedback to customers on enhanced capabilities as mobile reporting is a question faced every day, hopefully a step in the right direction.

    Thanks

    Matt

  2. As usual Jonathan, a very concise and informative posting that I find useful. We are looking forward to seeing Dashboard viewing with HTML5 on the IPad let’s hope it is as big a step forward as we anticipate.

  3. Hi Jonathan,
    I am bit confused between SP05 and SP05 update. Is BO4.0 SP05 is standalone installation like FP3 and SP4 ? Or we require BO4.0 Sp04 as base installation for SP05 means BO4.0 SP05 has any dependency over BO4.0 SP04 for installation?

    Regards,
    Ajay Singh

  4. Hello Jonathan,
    My client is currently on SP04 Patch 4. The release notes for SP05 say its equivalent to 4.4 (which I construed SP04 Patch 4). From reading your article, I seemed to gather that Patch 4 for SP04 isn’t included in SP05. I actually trust your experience more than the notes themselves. Could you let me your thoughts please?🙂

  5. If you look at the Forward Fit Document from SAP, they clearly state that SP5 contains fixes from 4.1 – 4.3 (https://service.sap.com/~sapidb/011000358700000272572011E). In addition, I discovered from someone at SAP (this past week), that they are not including all of the Fix Packs (FPs) or ADAPS from the SP4 FP track in SP5. In short, don’t expect SP5 to ever have all of the fixes that are found in SP4’s Fix Packs. This statement agrees with what is listed in the forward fit document (https://service.sap.com/~sapidb/011000358700000272572011E). Those that are on SP5 will have the benefits of the new features of SP5 but they will not have all of the later released fixes of SP2 and SP4 until SP6 or major version 4.1 is released. This is the first time that I remember something like this occurring with BusinessObjects. Typically each SP will eventually be patched to the same level as its predecessor and typical lags behind 1-3 patch levels. SP5 will be different in that only major issues will be addressed. It would have been nice to know this when SP5 was first released as some of the fixes in the SP4 FP line are critical. I would recommend that you review the SP4 Patch 4 through 8 Release Note before installing SP5 to make sure your setup will have all applicable fixes.

  6. Thank you very much for the insight Jonathan! My client is on Linux so SP5 would’ve given us Mobile which was a major excitement factor. But there are fixes in Patch 4 that we need (infact we applied Patch 4 specifically for those fixes) so SP5 is now completely out of the question. I am so disappointed that the release notes for SP5 stated that it included fixes until 4.4 where it only had until 4.3.

    https://websmp108.sap-ag.de/~sapidb/011000358700001253212012E/xi4_release_notes_en.pdf

    Thank god I stumbled on your post last night! We are cutting over to Production soon.

  7. Yes, I did evaluate that option and they didn’t include all the fixes we were looking for. Also, SP4 has been quite a stable build and I haven’t been able to convince myself to take a step down in terms of fixes given where we are in the project just for the sake of Mobility. Thanks for pointing this out.

  8. Very good information, we are at fork of deciding between going to latest patches of SP04 or go to SP05 for getting the Mobile and HANA support

  9. Anyone having issues with Xcelsius(QaaWS) based dashboards migrated from 3.1 to 4.0 SP04 Patch2
    The issue is that the Parameters passed to QaaWS from dashboards not working

  10. Very useful information, and I appreciate your sharing all your research. As a long-time user of BobJ (1997), I am still disappointed that with the new SAP ownership the coordination of upgrades and patches and documentation is rushed, excludes features, sometime lacks in testing and causes the developer a lot more time and effort and stress. And on top of that, the SAP knowledge base is still harder to navigate than its predecessor, so it takes longer to find information and prepare for these issues in advance. There, I have said it, now I will go on to healthier thoughts such as they moved quickly getting Dashboards to export to HTML5, plus the WebI and Explorer performance improvements, so those are good things. Your blog is always informative and well-written.

  11. Jane,

    Thank you for your thoughts. Hopefully SAP is getting the message from the BOBJ community and working to make the 4.0 release and their management of the BOBJ products better.

    Regards,

    Jonathan

  12. Hi Jonathan,
    Your article is very informative. We learnt the hard way. Our platform crashed and we set up a new temporary environment on a different server but had problems loading SP4, so went straight to SP5. Noticeable problems we have encountered are error notifications do not work and report failures have some vague message about the job server, leaving us no way to trouble shoot. Hope your article helps others in making the decision to apply SP5. SAP actually advised that we did not need SP4!
    Regards
    Tracey

  13. Tracey,

    For what it is worth, BOE 4.0 SP5 Patch 4 should resolve the schedule notification issue. I actually opened the case on that issue and received notification from SAP last week that is was resolved in 5.4. I have not installed 5.4, but it is listed in the release notes.

  14. Hi Jonathan – great piece.

    Are you aware of known significant issues with specifically SP4 patches 10-11?

    Regards,
    Johannes

  15. Same here, and no issues yet, will keep you posted if we do find any…assuming you are not aware of any specific issues related to 4.10 and 4.11…thanks!

  16. I have tried many time for windows Server 64 Bits but I have always error during the extract :
    Extracting dunit\webi.webpath_bundle-4.0-core-64\content.cab
    CRC failed in dunit\webi.webpath_bundle-4.0-core-64\content.cab
    Unexpected end of archive

    SAP don’t test these packages ?
    We need download each time 1,5 Go and wait 4 hours…. it’s not professional when we estimate the time to do it and need inform the manager that will take more and more time.
    I hope that can be solved…

  17. Hi Jonathan, thanks for the great posts.. have a quick question.. We are on BOBJ 4.0 SP5 patch 4, and we are having issues in exporting the migrated webi reports (from 3.1) to excel or Pdf.. If we export a report created from scratch in 4.0 it works good. I found a SAP note related to this issue (1637331) and according to the note it is fixed in SP4 patch 2.7, and from your message above i think its not included in SP5.. Have you seen this issue before and do you know of any workarounds for this,

    Thanks
    Raj

  18. I agree with Gilles. Frequently, big downloads from SAP ends abruptly, without an error, and the archive is corrupted. I’ve never seen that on any other website, from home or from my firm. I’m on Firefox, but I’ve seen it with the SAP download manager. One more reason to be afraid of any migration project😦

  19. I have not seen this issue. I have a few sites that migrated from 3.1 to 4.0 SP5 Patch 3+ and they regularly use this feature without any issues.

  20. Hi Jonathan,
    Your article is very informative. Do we know what is minimum BW SP required for BI 4 SP5 upgrade. Currently we are on SAP BW 7.01 EHP1 SP5 and BI 4 SP2 and wants upgrade to BI SP5.

  21. Thanks for quick reply. Do we have any document about functions which we cant take advantage if we have only BW SP5.

  22. Based on the PAM, it is not supported. I would assume none of the features but I have never tried to run BOBJ against an unsupported version of BW.

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