Creating a dashboard
You create a new dashboard file using the dashboard editor in BIRT Designer Professional. These files are stored in the project folder. If you plan to display charts verify that your BIRT data object file exists in the project.
How to create a new dashboard
1 In BIRT Designer Professional choose FileNewDashboard. New Dashboard appears as shown in Figure 15‑2.
Figure 15‑2 Displaying the dashboard editor
2 The current project and the default folder for dashboards is selected.
*If you want to use a different project or folder to store the dashboard file, remove the selection Use Default Location to access the tree view of the available folders.
*If you want to change the dashboard file name, type the new name in File name.
3 Choose Finish. The dashboard editor appears, as shown in Figure 15‑3.
Figure 15‑3 Displaying the dashboard editor
4 Choose Save to save the new dashboard file to the project.
Adding a dashboard tab
A dashboard is divided into one or more pages called tabs. These tab pages enable you to organize the gadgets. For example, one tab page contains gadgets necessary to make a new customer order and another tab page can contain gadgets displaying a customer’s order history. You can name each tab page to identify its contents and change the order that the tab appears in relation to other tabs.
How to add a dashboard tab
1 In the dashboard editor, choose EditNew Tab to create an empty, new tab page.
2 Choose EditRename Tab to change the tab name.
Choosing a dashboard layout
Dashboard layout defines how gadgets appear on a dashboard. Each gadget uses either a column or freeform layout. Gadgets in column layouts do not overlap and appear either above or below another gadget in the same column. You can place gadgets in freeform layout anywhere on the dashboard. If a freeform gadget overlaps another gadget, the user can move the gadget to the front or back of the other gadgets.
Dashboards support a one‑, two‑, or three‑column layout in addition to a freeform layout. You can use the columns to organize gadgets on the dashboard. Dashboard columns are a percentage of the user’s web browser size. If the web browser changes size, the dashboard columns are resized. Gadgets in a resized column also resize to match the new width of the column.
Choose the freeform layout if you need to move or resize gadgets anywhere on the dashboard. Freeform layout supports overlapping gadgets and changing the width of individual gadgets.
For example, a single-column dashboard expands to fill the width of the web browser, and the gadgets in the column are resized accordingly. Floating gadgets, such as gadgets in a freeform layout, do not change their width or location on the dashboard when the browser size changes.
For complex visualization layout, use BIRT design features available in BIRT Designer Professional. For example, use BIRT Designer Professional to put multiple charts into a grid element or cross tab container. You can display the finished BIRT design file on a dashboard using a report gadget.
How to change a dashboard layout
In the dashboard editor, choose LayoutTwo Columns, as shown in Figure 15‑4.
Figure 15‑4 Configuring gadget layout in columns and freeform
How to resize a column in a dashboard
This example begins with a dashboard that uses a two-column layout.
1 In the dashboard editor, hover the mouse pointer over the vertical space between two gadgets, as shown in Figure 15‑5. The column bar appears.
Figure 15‑5 Resizing a column in a dashboard
2 Drag the bar to the left, to a new location, as shown in Figure 15‑6.
Figure 15‑6 Choosing a new column width in a dashboard
Existing gadgets are resized to fit within the new column widths.
Formatting a dashboard tab
You can personalize the tab page of a dashboard with the following formatting options:
*Auto refresh, to refresh the dashboard at a selected interval
*Background color, to set the background color of the dashboard page
*Background image, to display an image as the background of the dashboard page
*Show Headers On, to show headers on selected gadgets
*Show Tab Footer, to include HTML text at the bottom of the dashboard page
*Show Tab Header, to include HTML text at the top of the dashboard page
*Tab Name, to customize the name of the dashboard tab
For example, you can add a row of HTML hyperlinks to the top of your dashboard or other HTML content with customized CSS styles inside the tab header.
Activating auto refresh sets the dashboard to refresh at the selected interval. Data and reports update at the selected interval. Set refresh settings to a speed that your BIRT iHub supports. Each refresh requests an update for all content on the dashboard tab page. Check with your BIRT iHub administrator for the supported refresh frequency.
These formatting options are available from the dashboard editor when you choose EditOptions, as shown in Figure 15‑7.
Figure 15‑7 Setting dashboard options
Adding data objects to a dashboard
When you add a BIRT data object to a dashboard, all new gadgets added to that dashboard can use the data object. This can save time when adding multiple gadgets that use the same data object. If you add multiple data objects to a dashboard, each time you add a new gadget, the data objects you have added appear in the category Current Data Selection.
How to add a data object to a dashboard
1 In the dashboard editor, Choose DataManage Data to select data objects to assign to the dashboard, as shown in Figure 15‑8.
Figure 15‑8 Displaying Opening Manage Data to add data objects
2 In Available Data, select a data object inside the project and choose the right arrow. The selected data object appears in Selected Data, as shown in Figure 15‑9.
Figure 15‑9 Selecting a data object to use in a dashboard
If multiple versions of a BIRT data object are available, you can select which version to use in the dashboard. You can browse the contents of a data object to verify it contains the data you require.
Importing an existing dashboard
You can add a shared dashboard file to a dashboard that you are editing. Choose InsertDashboard From Gallery to import a dashboard file into your new dashboard. This enables you to quickly add existing dashboards as new pages in your own dashboard file.
Imported dashboards appear on your dashboard as tab pages with a share icon in the tab title. You cannot edit the content of a shared dashboard. Dashboard tabs with the shared icon link to the original dashboard file and changes to the original dashboard file appear in the imported dashboard when it is refreshed. Figure 15‑10 shows two imported tabs called Customers and Orders.
Figure 15‑10 Importing dashboard tabs
To change the content of imported tab pages, either duplicate the tab pages or edit the original dashboard file. Choose EditDuplicate Tab to copy the selected tab into a new tab page. You can edit a copied tab page because it is no longer linked to changes in the original dashboard file.
For example, you want to include an existing dashboard file in your new dashboard but you want to also change the layout and replace a chart gadget with a table gadget. After importing the existing dashboard, you then duplicate it. A new tab page appears in your dashboard with the same content as the imported dashboard. You can edit the duplicated tab page. Finally, you do not need the imported tab page with the share icon and can delete it.
Saving a dashboard
Save changes to a dashboard by choosing FileSave. To save the dashboard with a new name, choose FileSave as, navigate to a new location and give a new name for the dashboard file, as shown in Figure 15‑11.
Figure 15‑11 Saving a dashboard file to a new folder
When you save a dashboard file using BIRT Designer Professional, you save the file to a folder in a BIRT project or a BIRT application. You can then deploy the project or application to a BIRT iHub or cloud server, such as BIRT onDemand or export the dashboard file.
Opening a dashboard file
You can open a dashboard file in a BIRT project or BIRT application using the Navigator. Navigate to the folder containing the file and double-click the dashboard file, as shown in Figure 15‑12.
Figure 15‑12 Navigating to a dashboard file
Dashboard files require additional files such as BIRT data objects and BIRT documents. These files must exist where the dashboard file expects to find them.
If you need to send dashboard files for editing or review to someone that does not have access to your iHub server, put the dashboard and its resources into a BIRT application file. The recipient of the BIRT application file can then open the dashboard in BIRT Designer Professional or their BIRT onDemand account to view and edit the dashboard file.