Quick Look: Custom Components in SAP Design Studio 1.2

With Design Studio release 1.2 a set of new and modified features became available, for example support for Universe (UNX) as a data source and exporting crosstabs into MS Excel. Perhaps the most interesting new feature is the possibility to add custom components to Design Studio in addition to the standard set of components. These custom components can be developed by any 3rd party with the Design Studio SDK. With this new feature you can enhance your analysis applications with new visualizations (i.e. analytical components) and user interactions (i.e. basic components).  This may be a solution in situations where highly specific requirements apply or situations where you just can not wait for future releases in order to cover the formulated requirements. In this context, there is always the risk that the custom developed component will become available as a standard Design Studio component in a future release. In the case of one of our customers, the requirements regarding visualizations and component features were that specific to this customer, hence the SDK Extension was a viable option to go forward with at the time. In this first blog as part of a series, we´ll show you how you can make use of custom components in Design Studio 1.2. We will have a quick look how to:

  1. Add Custom Components;
  2. Use Custom components;
  3. Uninstall Custom Components.

1. Adding Custom Components

Custom components can be added to Design Studio (1.2 and higher) by installing an Extension Archive file containing the SDK extension. This need to be done 1) on a local computer in order to use the custom component at design time and 2) on the SAP BO BI platform so the end-user can consume the custom component in the application at run time. Installing the Extension Archive on the SAP BO BI platform requires administrator rights. From an end-user perspective no additional steps are required.

Step 1: In Design Studio 1.2 Go to: Tools>Install Extension to Design Studio.
 Step 2: Now the Extension Archive file need to be selected. Browse to the file by clicking on “Archive”.  
Step 3: Select 1) the “Extension Archive” i.e. file with extension “.zip” and 2) click “Open”.
Step 4: Click “Finish” to proceed with the installation.
Step 5: Click “Next” to proceed with the installation.
Step 6: Review the displayed license information. Select the appropriate answer to accept or not accept the terms of the licence agreement and click “Finish”.
Step 7: Now a Security warning will be displayed. Review accordingly and click “OK” if you want to continue the installation.
Step 8: Now you’ll be asked to restart Design Studio in order for the install to take effect. After restarting, the custom component will appear in an additional tab “Custom Component”.Now you can enhance your analytical application with the Custom Component.
Step 9: The second part is to install the Extension Archive file on the BI platform. Make sure Design Studio is launched with SAP BI Platform. In Design Studio Go to: Tools>Platform Extensions. Step 9_Install
Step 10: Select the Extension Archive in the left column “Extension installed on Local Machine” and click “Install on platform”. When asked to restart the platform click “OK”. Step 10_InstallStep 11_Install
Step 11: Finally you need to restart the APS that host the the Analysis Application Service. Login to CMC and goto Servers>Service Categories> Analysis services. Select the APS and click “restart”. After restarting the service, in Design Studio you should see the Extension also on the right side of the “Platform Extensions” dialog. Step 13_InstallStep 14_Install


2. Using Custom Components

As soon as the custom components are added to Design Studio, you can use and manage the properties of the component like any other standard component. From an end-user perspective no additional steps are required in order to consume the custom components in the published analytical application.

Step 1: Drag-and-drop the custom component onto the canvas as you would with standard components.
Step2: Edit the properties of the custom component as required.

3. Un-installing Custom Components

If not required anymore, the custom component can easily removed in Design Studio and from the SAP BO BI platform.

Step 1: In Design Studio, go to Help>About..
Step 2: Click on “Installation Details”.
Step 3: 1) Select the custom component that need to be removed and 2) click on “Uninstall..
Step 4: Click on “Finish” to proceed the uninstall.
Step 5: Afterwards you’ll be asked to restart Design Studio in order for the uninstall to take effect.
Click on “Yes”.
Step 6 Optional: In order to remove the Extension from the platform, in Design Studio go to: Tools>Platform Extensions. in the right Column under “Extensions Installed on Platform” select the extension you want to remove and click on “Uninstall from Platform”. Step 14_Install

Developing or obtaining Custom Components

At the time of writing no custom components are available yet, at least not widely, but that is just a matter of time with such a thriving online SAP BI community. Basically, for developing SDK extension you only need XML, but if you want to add some functional behaviour and/or define the formatting you do also need JavaScript and CSS. In the meantime, you can find more information on how to start developing your own custom component i.e. SDK extension in SAP’s “Developers guide: Design Studio SDK” .  In the following blogs we’ll share some of the Custom Components my colleague Ivo Moor developed. Don’t want to miss this? Follow us on twitter @fairfocusfun.

This article belongs to
  • Custom Components
  • New Release
  • SAP Design Studio
  • SDK
  • Jason Lee