SAP BI 4.3: What’s New In Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer

New, simplified and rejuvenated user interfaces for BI Launch Pad and Web Intelligence have been released in SAP BI 4.2 SP4 and improved in the following Support Packages (see here). These new interfaces, based on SAP FIORI and HTML5, came as a complement of the classic interfaces since they were not on parity:

  • Only a reader version of Web Intelligence was implemented.
  • Only a subset of BI Launch Pad features was available.

With the SAP BI 4.3 release, a new milestone has been reached. Main missing features have been implemented; which make the classic BI Launch Pad version as well as the Web Intelligence DHTML and Java clients obsolete. Only the new FIORI-based interface is released in SAP BI 4.3. No more HTML, Java, or Java Rich Client flavors, one single experience, common to both the Web and Desktop accesses!

Users who have not yet tried the new FIORI version released in SAP BI 4.2 might have to go through some change management to get used to the new interface. But this is balanced by:

  • Highly simplified and intuitive interfaces and workflows
  • Some specialized interfaces such as the Query Panel or the Formula Editor that remain the same, but have also got the FIORI skin.
  • Web Intelligence documents that have not been changed and expose the same concepts and contents. Only the product’s user interfaces have been simplified.
  • If you use other SAP products, their interfaces follow also the same FIORI user interfaces and principles.
  • These new interfaces follow the same FIORI interfaces and principles as do SAP products.

Some features are not yet implemented but will be offered in future Support Package 1 or 2. This first SAP BI 4.3 release is the foundation for future enhancements intended to make the Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer the main SAP analytics on premise offering to cover requirements for operational reporting, ad-hoc query, analysis and self-service dashboards. As investments and innovations will be done in this SAP BI 4.3 branch, do however not expect new changes in SAP BI 4.2; for example, the SAP BI 4.2 SP8 contains mainly fixes corrections and updates on the supported platforms.

This article is a complement of the official SAP documentation and summarizes the new features in SAP BI 4.3 for Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer:

BI Launch Pad Overview

You can perform a fresh SAP BI 4.3 full install or upgrade your previous SAP BI 4.x system. In both cases, you  need a new 4.3 license that can be downloaded from the SAP Support web site.

Once installed and deployed, you can connect to the BI Launch Pad through its Login page, whose URL is by default http://<server>:<port>/BOE/BI

BI Launch Pad: Login Page

After you have authenticated, the Home page presents some tiles that give you access to repository’s resources:

  • Folders: to navigate in the BI Platform repository folders.
  • Categories: to navigate in the BI Platform repository categories.
  • Documents: to display your documents as a flat list.
  • BI Inbox: to access the documents and alerts you have received.
  • Instances: to give you an overview of all your schedules and publications.
  • Recycle Bin: to display and restore documents you have deleted.


BI Launch Pad: Home Page

Under these tiles, three sections with document tiles are displayed. The ones:

  • You have set as favorites (Favorites)
  • You have previously opened (Recent Documents)
  • That have been recently processed through schedules (Recently Run).

Finally, the Applications section contains tiles you can click to start the corresponding application hosted in BI Launch Pad. These applications include Web Intelligence.

BI Launch Pad: Applications Tiles

To modify the BI Launch Pad settings, click the icon () at the top left of the Home page, then Settings to open the Settings dialog box.

  • In the Application Preferences section, click the Web Intelligence tab to display the Web Intelligence preferences. In addition to the usual drill, Excel save or right-to-left orientation options, you can also define your measurement unit (centimeters or inches). This was previously defined at document level and you had to set it for every document.

BI Launch Pad: Web Intelligence Preferences

  • In the Appearance section, you can also choose another Fiori theme for the user interface, for example a high contrast display for BI Launch Pad and Web Intelligence.

Web Intelligence: High Contrast Display

To open a Web Intelligence document:

  • If it is displayed on the Home page as a tile, click this tile to open it in Reading mode
  • If you access the document through the Folders, Categories or Documents tile, click the More button () to open the contextual menu. This menu contains the different actions you can perform on this document, including View to open it in Reading mode or Modify to open it in Edit mode

BI Launch Pad: Document Menu

For more details about BI Launch Pad’s new features, see SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3: What’s New.

Web Intelligence: Reading Mode

The Web Intelligence Reading mode proposes a simplified interface in which users can easily view, refresh and export documents. It proposes some interactivity and analysis capabilities through input controls, elements linking, drill or track changes. In SAP BI 4.3, this Reading mode interface is similar to the Web Intelligence Interactive Viewer FIORI-based interface released since SAP BI 4.2 SP4.

Main Toolbar

The toolbar contains sections with the following commands:


  • : Opens the menu with the Save and Save As
  • : Undoes the last actions.
  • : Redoes the last undone actions.
  • : Opens the Print dialog box to set parameters (report and page selection, page size, orientation, margins and scaling) and generate a PDF that can be printed out.
  • : Opens the Export to dialog box to export the report’s or cube’s data into different file formats. The dialog box has been reorganized to better display all possible options (Request 215268) and to propose the Excel format by default (Request 140228).

Web Intelligence: Export to Dialog Box

  • : Opens the Send to users dialog box in which you can select the users or groups that are to receive this document in their BI Platform repository inbox.
  • : Opens the Online Help on the SAP web site.
  • : Displays the Web Intelligence version.


  • : Refreshes the document’s queries that have been selected for refresh by the document’s designer. In the new interface, this button is more visible (Request 131476), especially when a data provider has been partially refreshed. In this case, a warning is sent and an orange dot () is added to the Refresh button (Request 206429).

Web Intelligence Refresh: Partial Refresh Warning


  • : Opens or closes the Filter Bar used to display and set filters values (see description below). Another icon is displayed () if (a) filter(s) already applies/apply to the current report.
  • Drill checkbox: Enables/disables the drill mode.
  • Fold/Unfold checkbox: Enables/disables the fold / unfold.
  • Show Changes checkbox: If the “Track Data Changes” feature has been enabled, use this checkbox to highlight these changes.
  • : Opens the Track Data Changes dialog box in which you can enable/disable the tracked changes, define the dataset reference and the reports to compare. It also displays the fonts and colors used to show the differences.
  • : Switches to the “Auto Refresh” mode in which the document is refreshed regularly and automatically (see SAP BI 4.2 SP6). Before entering this mode, you need to define a refresh frequency and answer potential prompts if any. These values are kept for the next refresh actions, as long as you remain in this mode.

Reading Mode: Auto-Refresh

Filter Bar

In Reading mode, the Filter Bar is the single place where you can see the filters defined by the document designer that impact your document’s dataset and when possible, modify their values.

Reading Mode: Filter Bar

The Filter Bar contains the following items:

  • The Reset button () to reset all input controls to their default values and remove the element linking filtering (Request 144999).
  • The prompts that have been answered during the document’s queries execution. Click Prompts () to see these values. To modify them, refresh your document and provide new values for the prompts.
  • The document’s input controls () that apply to the whole document, and the report input controls () that apply only to the current report. Click an input control to modify its values using list, multi-list (checkboxes), slider, spinner… depending on the document’s designer choice. For list and multi-list, a search text field can be used to find only the values that match a search string.For a group of input controls, click the group and select the input controls to add. The order in which you select the input controls defines the filter path, i.e. the input controls’ dependencies. If select Country before City for example, the selected countries filter your choice of cities.
  • Element linking through which a block is filtered by a value selected in a table. Click the element linking icon () to display the value of this element linking and reset it, if needed.

If the window is too small to display the full Filter Bar‘s content, then arrows are displayed on its edges allowing you to scroll.

Reading Mode: Filter Bar Scrolling Arrows

Report Selection and Vanishing Toolbar

In Reading mode, you can move from one report to another by clicking the corresponding tabs displayed under the toolbars.

To navigate in the report, you may use the Vanishing Toolbar at the bottom of the page. This toolbar appears when you move your cursor to the bottom of the page and disappears when you stay idle for a few seconds. This toolbar contains the following commands:

  • The controls to go to the first page, previous page, a specific page, next page or last page.
  • : Opens the Zoom slider to select the zoom ratio.
  • : Toggles between the Print layout and the Draft
  • : Fits the page’s width to the window’s width.
  • : Fits the page to the window.

Reading Mode: Vanishing Toolbar

Side Panel

Unlike the previous releases, the side panel is located on the right. To open or close this side panel, click one of the buttons in the toolbar depending on the content you want to display:

  • : The Navigation Map pane, to quickly navigate in the report based on its sections.
  • : The Comments pane, containing the comment threads. Click an existing comment in the document to view its thread or right click a report element in the document to comment it.
  • : The Document properties pane, to display the document’s statistics and properties (Refresh on open, document style, …)

Reading Mode: Navigation Map, Comments and Properties Side Panels

Web Intelligence: Edit Mode

The main improvement in SAP Web Intelligence 4.3 is the Edit mode. It completes the FIORI convergence (Request 209030). This mode has been simplified to improve the productivity of report designers by allowing them to perform tasks faster.

There are several ways to open the Edit mode:

  • By clicking the Web Intelligence tile on the BI Launch Pad Home page and creating a new document.
  • By selecting the Modify command () on the document menu allowing you to edit this document.
  • In Reading mode, by clicking the Edit button to edit the current document.

Main Toolbar

The toolbar contains only general commands that apply to the overall document. These commands should be familiar and have been reorganized for a simpler and faster access (Request 107473).

Edit Mode: Toolbar

The toolbar contains  sections with the following commands:

File, that contains the same commands as in Reading mode


  • : Opens the Query Panel allowing you to edit the document’s queries.
  • : Opens the Refresh menu described below. As in Reading mode, when a data provider has been partially refreshed, an orange dot is displayed on the Refresh button () to provide you with a visual “document contains partial data”.
  • Change Source: Opens the Change Source Wizard dialog box, to change universes, SAP BW or SAP HANA data providers.
  • Purge Data: Opens the Purge Data Providers dialog box, to remove datasets from queries.


  • : Opens the menu in which you can select tables types and forms to insert into your report.
  • : Opens the menu in which you can select one of the default charts types to insert. For further charts types, open the Turn Into section in the Data side panel.
  • : Opens the menu in which you can select predefined cells to insert.
  • : Adds a section.
  • : Inserts a custom element, if you have registered one in the CMC.


  • : Opens/closes the Filter Bar (see below). As in Reading mode, an icon is used to highlight that the dataset is filtered ().
  • : Opens/closes the Formula Bar (see below).
  • Drill, Fold/Unfold, Show Changes checkboxes: As in Reading mode, click these checkboxes to enable/disable drill, enable/disable fold/unfold or show document changes.
  • : Opens the Track Data Changes dialog box.
  • : Opens the Manage Formatting Rules dialog box.


  • : Opens the Zoom slider to select the zoom ratio.
  • : Toggles between the Print layout and the Draft
  • Structure checkbox: Use this checkbox to switch between Structure and Data
  • : Fits the page’s width to the window’s width.
  • : Fits the page to the window.

Navigate contains the same controls as in the Vanishing Toolbar of the Reading mode to navigate in the report’s pages.

Depending on your screen size, some commands are reachable by opening the More menu ().

Filter Bar

Like in Reading mode, you can use the Filter Bar to view and change filters values. In Edit mode, you can in addition manage input controls and group of input controls, through the Manage Input Controls button ().

Edit Mode: Filter Bar

Click this button to open a menu with the following commands:

  • New Input Control: Opens the New Control dialog, in which you can provide the different parameters to create an input control (the impacted object, its scope document or report, the interface item used to modify it…)

Edit Mode: New Control

  • New Group of Controls: Once you have selected the scope of the group to create (the whole document or the current report), the New Group dialog box opens. You can give the new group a name and click Add Control to select the input controls to add in this new group. If needed, you can click New Control to create an input control on the fly and add it.

Edit Mode: New Group of Input Controls

  • Manage Filter Bar: Opens the Manage Filter Bar dialog box listing all input controls and groups. Select a group or input control and click the Edit icon () to edit it or the Delete icon () to delete it.
    To define the position of a group of input control on the Filter Bar, select it and use the arrow buttons ( and ) to move it up and down in the list.
    You can also create a group or an input control from this dialog box by clicking + Add.
  • Reset All: Resets all input controls to their default values and removes the element linking filtering.

Another way to edit an input control’s properties is to click first the input control in the Filter Bar, then the Settings icon () and finally Advanced Settings. This opens the Edit Control dialog box.

Formula Bar

In the Formula Bar, you can enter a value or a formula in a cell. This Formula Editor supports auto-completion: while you type a formula, a menu proposes the objects, functions or operators that match the letters you have typed (Requests 236699 and 241647). You may select the one to use by clicking it or by using the arrow keys and pressing [Enter].

Edit Mode: Formula Bar

The Formula Bar contains the following four buttons:

  • Display the Formula Editor: Opens the Formula Editor that can help you to type the formula.
  • Create a new variable using this formula: Opens the Formula Editor allowing you to create a variable from the formula in the Formula Bar.
  • Restore the initial formula: To cancel the formula you have entered and restore the previous one.
  • Validate the formula: To validate and save the current formula in the cell.

Report Tab

In the document, you access a report by clicking the corresponding tab below the Main Toolbar and Filter Bar.

Click the drop-down menu () beside the report name to open the menu containing commands to add a new report, duplicate, delete, rename or move the selected report.

Edit Mode: Report Menu

The last command in the menu (Copy Link of the Report) copies the OpenDoc URL to this report into the clipboard. You may copy and share this URL that can be used to directly open this report.

Main Side Panel

The Edit mode proposes two side panels and as in Reading mode, they are located on the right. By default, only the main side panel opens. It contains two stacked panels:

  • Report Structure: This panel displays the report structure with the different blocks it contains.
  • My Objects: This panel displays the document dictionary with all objects retrieved by the queries and also the enrichments added by the document designer.

Like in Reading mode, the buttons on the toolbar can be used to display the Navigation Map, Comments and Document properties panels in the main side panel. In Edit mode, they replace the Report Structure and My Objects panels when selected. Document properties panel allows you to modify document’s options and properties in Edit mode.

Edit Mode: Main Side Panel

Main Side Panel: Report Structure

As in previous releases, the Report Structure displays a tree of all items in the current report: header, footer, charts, cells, tables, …

Edit Mode: Report Structure Side Panel

It can be useful to understand how a report is organized and access a specific block rather than looking for it in the document: if you click the More icon () beside an item, the Format and Data commands open the Format and Data panels described below.

Main Side Panel: My Objects

The My Objects panel lists the document’s dictionary. In this panel, you manage the objects retrieved from the document’s queries, the enrichment you defined for these objects as well as the variables and references you create. For example, to add a new variable, click Add Variable, to opens the Formula Editor and create your variable.

Edit Mode: My Objects Panel

You can display these objects in alphabetical order, by folders or by queries. The corresponding options are Alphabetical View, Folders View or Queries View and are available in the View Mode menu ().

Click the More options icon () beside an object to open its contextual menu with the usual actions you can perform:

  • Enriching a dimension by making it a geo or time dimension
  • Merging / unmerging objects
  • Managing groups
  • Editing object properties
  • Setting the measure type to Number or Decimal
  • Defining a custom sort for the object

Edit Mode: My Objects Contextual Menu

This panel works in a similar way than in previous releases. There are, however, a few usability enhancements:

  • You can delete several variables at the same time (Request 208832).
  • The focus remains on the current variable when you edit it (Request 208418).
  • In Queries View, you can directly edit a query and open it in the Query Panel by clicking the Edit Query icon ().

Build Side Panel

The Edit mode introduces a second side panel that can be opened or closed through a fourth button () located in the toolbar. This second side panel replaces the modal dialog boxes (Assign, Turn To, Format, Breaks, Sort, …) available in previous releases. It contains all the properties that were previously exposed in the modal dialog boxes. Depending on their category, these properties are displayed in one of these two panels:

  • Data, defines the data structure of the item you have selected
  • Format, defines the format of the item you have selected

You can switch from one panel to another by clicking their respective header.

They are contextual panels and the displayed properties depend on your selection. When you select an element, it automatically displays the relevant properties.

The properties you set in the Data panel are immediately applied to the selected item. You can decide to automatically apply the properties you picked in the Format panel by selecting the Instant Apply checkbox at the bottom of the panel. As these format changes imply regular requests to the server for each modification, you may prefer to unselect this checkbox and rather click Apply in one request to the server.

Edit Mode: Format Panel Apply Options

This new side panel is one of the main enhancements of the document authoring workflows. As described in the next two sections, setting a format or organizing a block feed is much easier through this side panel than via the previous dialog boxes (Requests 109434 and 107959).

Build Side Panel: Data

The Data panel is available when you select a chart or a table and is used to define the data and structure of this selected block. These properties are organized in tabs, and only tabs relevant to your selection are displayed. These tabs are:

  • : The Feeding contains the Turn into command used to select the table or chart type for this block. If you have registered some custom elements in the CMC, they appear in the last menu of the Turn Into command.

    Edit Mode: Selecting Custom Element (Courtesy from Need4Viz)

    The Data Assignment section defines the objects to display in the selected table or the chart. You may easily add objects to this block by drag-and-dropping them from the My Objects panel into this section. Drag and drop can also be used to more easily change the objects’ order in the block.

    Edit Mode: Adding Objects to a Table Through Drag and Drop

    Another way to add objects is to click the More icon (), select the Formula and picks them from the Formula Editor or enter a formula to feed the block.

  • : To manage the Filters and Element Links for the selected block. If a filter has been defined, then a dot is displayed on the tab. This tab provides an overview of all filters that apply to this block by listing also the input controls.
  • : To manage Sort that applies to the selected block. If sorts have been defined, then the number of defined sorts is displayed on the tab.
  • : To manage Ranking that applies to the selected block. If a ranking is defined, then a dot is displayed on the tab.
  • : To manage table’s Breaks

Edit Mode: Data Sub-Tabs for a Chart

Build Side Panel: Format

The Format panel contains all formatting properties for the selected item: report, cell, table, table cell, chart… To select a specific area of a chart (axis, title, legend, …), you can either click this area in the chart or select the chart, then in the Format panel, select this area in the menu beside the chart’s name.

Edit Mode: Chart Area Selection

The properties you can set depend on your selection, since some may not be relevant to your selection. These properties are organized by categories in the Format panel’s sub-tabs.

  • : Contains Display For a table, it includes the properties that defines what must be displayed or hidden: header, footer, object name, hide when empty, duplicate rows aggregation… For a chart, it includes also the component to display or not: title, data label, legend, …
  • : Contains Appearance settings, like the background color, the borders definition, spacing, padding…
  • : Contains Text settings, like its police, font, color, alignment, …
  • : Contains Styling settings used for charts, like the palette, the markers size…
  • : Contains Layout For a page, it includes its print layout, its margins and scaling properties. For a block, it includes its relative positioning regarding other blocks, its size and page break options…

Edit Mode: Format Sub-Tabs for a Chart

On top of the panel, beside the name of the selected item that you may change as in Data side panel, you may open the Format Painter menu ( ) with the Copy Format and Reset Format commands to respectively copy or reset the format of the current block.

Edit Mode: Format Menu

Query Panels

When you create a document or add a query to an existing document, you are proposed to select a data source type and then the data source itself.

Query Panel: Data Source Type Selection

The Query Panel opens where you can select the objects and create the query to retrieve the dataset. This Query Panel depends on the data source type. In SAP BI 4.3, these Query Panels are similar to the ones available in SAP BI 4.2, except for the FIORI skin, and propose the same features.

Query Panel: Universe Data Source

Query Panel: Excel Data Source

To run the query and close the query panel, click Run. If your document contains several queries, you can open a menu from this button and select the query to run.


Query Panel: Selecting Query to Run

Refresh and Purge Queries

In the toolbar, in the Data section, the Refresh menu () contains the following commands:

  • Refresh to refresh all authorized queries.
  • Refresh Data For to open a dialog box that provides some statistics about queries’ last refresh. You can explicitly select the data sources to refresh next time the document is refreshed.

Refresh Data Providers Dialog Box

In the toolbar, the Data section contains also the Purge Data command that opens the Purge Data Providers dialog box. It contains the same details than the Refresh Data Providers dialog box. You here, you can explicitly purge data from some data providers by selecting the checkbox in front of data providers and clicking Purge (Request 143679).

Purge Data Providers Dialog Box

Web Intelligence: Rich Client

In SAP BI 4.3, Web Intelligence Rich Client is also available for desktop usage. It is no more a Java application, and it reuses the same interface than web version in BI Launch Pad.

As all Desktop tools in SAP BI 4.3 (Information Design Tool, Universe Design Tool…), it is released in 64-bit (Request 107828).


You can start Web Intelligence Rich Client from the Start menu or by double-clicking a Web Intelligence document saved locally. Then the login has been simplified (Request 127659): the login page opens to request you the name of the system, your credentials and the authentication mode. With the toggle button, you can choose to work in Connected or Offline mode (used to work disconnected after you have retrieved resources locally on your desktop).

The Standalone and ZABO modes (that allows you to download and install it from BI Launch Pad) are not yet released.

Web Intelligence Rich Client : Login Page

If your parameters are valid, Web Intelligence displays its Welcome page.

Welcome Page

The new Web Intelligence Welcome page is similar to the BI Launch Pad Home Page.

Web Intelligence Rich Client: Home Page

The top of this page displays three tiles with commands covered in the two next sections that describe the document’s workflows:

  • Import: To select a document in the BI Platform repository and explicitly import it in a local folder so you can edit it.
  • Open: To open a document you have previously imported on your local file system.
  • New: To create a local document.

The Welcome page also displays two other sections:

  • The Recent Local Documents section displays tiles for the local documents you’ve previously opened. These tiles contain a thumbnail of the document, taken the last time the document was saved, as well as its last save date. You may click on the tile to open the corresponding document.
  • The Open Documents section displays tiles for the documents you have open in this session, with a thumbnail of the displayed report. You can also click on this thumbnail to quickly switch to this document or click on the cross icon in the tile’s header to close it.

Web Intelligence Rich Client: Recent and Open Documents Tiles in Welcome Page

On top of the Welcome page, the drop-down menu contains the following commands:

  • Settings: to set Web Intelligence Rich Client parameters like the local documents’ default folder, the drill options, the locales or measurement unit.
  • Log Out: to logout and return to the Login page.
  • Help and About: To open the usual Online Help and About
  • Exit: to exit the tool. When exiting, all local Web Intelligence processes are terminated.

Web Intelligence Rich Client: User Menu

Web Intelligence Rich Client: Settings Dialog Box

Creating a Document

To create a local document, click the Create tile in the Welcome page. The interface and workflows to create a document are the same than in BI launch Pad:

  • Select the data source type, then the data source itself. (The data source you can select must be stored in the repository; local data providers are not yet supported.)
  • Create and run your query.
  • Add charts, tables, formatting… to your report and repeat add new reports and queries

Basically, you can take advantages of the same Edit and Read modes than in the web version, except for some features not supported or not yet available:

  • You can view comments but cannot modify comments on local documents.
  • You cannot send a document to BI Platform users.

Once you have finalized your document, you can:

  • Save it locally by selecting the File > Save You can latter save it reopen it by selecting the Open tile in the Welcome page.
  • Publish it in the BI Platform repository by selecting the File > Publish to Enterprise command, and then select t
  • he destination folder in the Publish Document dialog box.

Web Intelligence Rich Client: Publish Document Dialog Box

Importing a Document from the Repository

If you have already some documents in the BI Platform repository, you can work on them in Web Intelligence Rich Client. Start Web Intelligence and connect to the BI Platform repository. Then in the Welcome page, click the Import tile to open the Import and Open dialog box and select the document to open.

Web Intelligence Rich Client: Import and Open Dialog Box

This selected document is copied locally in your file system, and its copy is opened so you can work on it using the same interface than in BI Launch Pad.

Once you have finalized your changes, you can re-save it it in the BI Platform repository by selecting the File > Publish to Enterprise command, and then select the destination folder in the Publish Document dialog box.

You may prefer to save it locally for further changes before publishing it.  In this case, select the File > Save command or the File > Make Copy to save another copy locally.

In both cases, depending on your security rights, you may save it:

  • By giving access to it to all users, so all users in the repository can open it as long as they have provided their credentials
  • By removing security, so users do not need to authenticate anymore
  • By keeping it secured for you only.

Later, if you restart Web Intelligence Rich Client on online or offline mode, you can reopen this local copy by clicking the Open tile in the Welcome page.

Web Intelligence: Document as a Data Source

A new capability proposed in SAP BI 4.3 is the support of Web Intelligence document as a data source for another document (Requests 107970 and 109142). The source document can be seen as a virtual universe and a database, with its metadata and data being shared and leveraged by other documents.

This feature covers several use-cases:

  • A document that queries a large dataset can be refreshed during quiet period through a schedule and then be used as a data source for other documents. These documents do not query the initial data sources, but the dataset saved in the source document. This prevents initial data sources to be too solicited and improves refresh time.
  • A power report designer may prepare metadata (merged dimensions, geo-dimension, time dimension, variables) and share it through a source document.
  • Identically, a document that queries multiple heterogeneous data sources can be exposed as one single metadata provider and hide the complexity of the data sources it queries.

Creating Query

When you create a document or add a query to an existing document, you can select Web Intelligence document in the list of possible data sources.

Web Intelligence: Adding a New Query

You are then proposed to select a document in the BI Platform repository, in your Personal folders or in the Public folders.

Web Intelligence: Document Selection

Once you have selected the source document, the Query Panel opens with this document’s objects: the dimensions, attributes, measures, hierarchies or variables it contains. You can define a query by drag-and-dropping objects in the Results Objects section. You can also add filters in the Query Filters section to narrow down the dataset to retrieve from the source document.

This Query Panel is very similar to the one used for universes, although it does not support yet features like combined queries, advanced filters or query stripping.

Query Panel: Web Intelligence Document Data Source

If the source document contains hierarchies, you may use the Member Selector to select the members to query. The same operators than for SAP BW data sources are supported: Children, Descendants Until and Descendants Unit Named Level, but not Ancestors nor Parents.

Refreshing Data

The refresh retrieves the dataset from the source document. If your query contains filters or member selections, they are applied when it is sent to the source document.

After the refresh, the objects that define your query appear in the My Objects panel and you can use them to feed tables and charts in your report as for any data source. If you have enriched the source document with merged dimensions, geo-dimension or time dimension, they are retrieved as well and can be reused in the new document.

The refresh is not propagated to the source document.  For this reason, a source a document defined to be refreshed on open or based on an SAP HANA Online data source cannot be used as a data source. The source document must be explicitly refreshed manually or through a schedule. If the Smart View option has been selected in the CMC, data is retrieved from the source document’s last scheduled instance.

The aggregation of variable whose type is measure is delegated to the source document. If you change the aggregation scope, the measure returns #TOREFRESH. Refresh the document to send the query against the source document and returns the new aggregated value for the measure.

View-Time Security Filtering

The dataset retrieved from the source document is dated from the source document’s last refresh time. It is secured at refresh time with the security profiles that apply to the user who is running it. As refresh is not propagated to source document, it might be an issue if this source document dataset is shared with other users who do not have the same security profiles.

If the source document queries a universe created with the Information Design Tool and secured with Business Security Profile, you can enable the Apply security filtering at view time option (see SAP BI 4.2 SP6) to filter the dataset when a document based on this source document is opened.

If you set this option on the consuming document, then the Business Security Profiles that apply to the user are enforced on the fly, when the document is opened without refreshing the source document or the document created on it:

  • Display Data Business Security Profiles prevents a denied object and its data to be displayed
  • Only rows that match the filters conditions defined in the Filters Business Security Profiles are displayed

If you set this option on the source document, then the filtering is applied when data is retrieved from this source document:

  • Display Data Business Security Profiles prevents a denied object and its data to be retrieved
  • Only rows that match the filters conditions defined in the Filters Business Security Profiles are retrieved

You can also set this option on both documents.

As this security relies on universe’s Business Security Profile, it applies only to source document’s queries based on universe created in Information Design Tool.

Document Dependencies

In the BI Platform repository, a link is created between the source document and a document that uses it as a source. Hence, dependencies between these documents are properly displayed in Life Cycle Management, Promotion Wizard or in the CMC if you use Tools > Check Relationships.

CMC: Source Document Relationship

Web Intelligence: Geo Map

To provide more accurate geo dimensions, the Here geographical database used by Web Intelligence has been updated with its 2019 version:

  • Frontiers and regions take into consideration geographical changes. For example, new French regions are available (Request 144513).
  • Regions, sub-regions and cities have been added in some countries for better coverage.
  • New cities have been added, some have been removed, with the 100000 inhabitants limit, except for the United States of America.

Geo-Map: New French Regions

Due to ID changes in the geographical database, if you have created geo charts in SAP BI 4.2 with a mapping by name, you need to remap these names when editing these documents in SAP BI 4.3.

Web Intelligence: Formula Language Functions and Formula Editor

In the Data Provider category, with the new Web Intelligence document’s data source, DataProviderType has been updated to return correct data provider type. The possible values are: “Universe”, “Text”, “Excel”, “Web Services”, “Web Intelligence”, “SAP BICS”, “SAP HANA” and “Free-Hand SQL”. To complement NumberOfRows, NumberOfColumns has been added to return the number of objects of a data provider.

  • string DataProviderType ( Data provider dp ):
  • int NumberOfColumns ( Data provider dp ):

In the Document category, DocumentPath, DocumentParentFolder and DocumentParentFolder have been added to respectively return the document’s path (Request 108755), the name of its parent folder (Request 206442) and the document’s description (Request 144988). Like DataProviderType, QuerySummary has been updated to return also the correct data provider type, followed by its name.

  • string DocumentPath()
  • string DocumentParentFolder()
  • string DocumentDescription()
  • string QuerySummary()

In the String category, Trim, LeftTrim and RightTrim have been extended and you can define the character to remove from the string (Request 217310). By default, this character is the space character.

  • string Trim ( string str [; string ch] )
  • string LeftTrim ( string str [; string ch] )
  • string RightTrim ( string str [; string ch] )

To create more readable and maintainable formulas, you can use the classic comments usually supported by most programming languages (Request 111272) in the formula language:

  • To comment the end of a line, you may use //
  • To comment a block in the formula, you may use /* */

When you open the Formula Editor, all categories folders are closed by default (Request 202146). To more easily find a function, the All category (that contains all functions) is displayed on top of the categories list.

Like in Formula Bar, the Formula Editor supports auto-completion: when you type a formula, a menu proposes you the objects, functions or operators that match the letters you have typed (Request 241647). You may select the one to use by clicking it or using the arrows keys and press [Return].

Auto-Completion in the Formula Editor

Web Intelligence: Security Rights

To adapt the new interface and deployment modes, the Web Intelligence security rights have been updated:

  • Names and categories have been simplified and aligned (Request 214981)
  • Two new rights have been introduced to secure the use of Free-Hand SQL (Request 219070): Query: Edit Free Hand SQL script and Query: View Free Hand SQL script

The following table lists Web Intelligence application security rights, with their equivalent in SAP BI 4.2.

SAP BI 4.3 Security Right Previous SAP BI 4.2 Name
Data: Enable data tracking Data – Enable data tracking
Data: Enable formatting of changed data Data – Enable formatting of changed data
General: Enable Desktop client access Desktop interface – Enable Web Intelligence Desktop
Desktop: Publish to Enterprise Desktop interface – Export documents
Desktop: Print documents Desktop interface – Print documents
Desktop: Remove documents security Desktop interface – Remove document security
Desktop: Give access to everyone Desktop interface – Save document for all users
Documents: Disable automatic refresh on open Documents – Disable automatic refresh on open
Documents: Enable autosave Documents – Enable autosave
Documents: Enable creation Documents – Enable creation
Documents: Publish and manage content as web service Documents – enable publish and manage content as web service
General: Edit Web Intelligence preferences General – Edit ‘My Preferences’
General: Enable Web client access Interfaces – Enable web viewing interface
Query: Edit script generated from universe Query script – Enable editing (SQL , MDX, …)
Query: Edit Free Hand SQL
Query: View script generated from universe Query script – Enable viewing (SQL , MDX, …)
Query: View Free Hand SQL
Reporting: Create and edit breaks Reporting – Create and edit breaks
Reporting: Create and edit conditional formatting rules Reporting – Create and edit conditional formatting rules
Reporting: Create and edit input controls and group Reporting – Create and edit input controls
Reporting: Create and edit predefined calculations Reporting – Create and edit predefined calculations
Reporting: Create and edit filters and consume input controls Reporting – Create and edit report filters and consume input controls
Reporting: Create and edit sorts and rankings Reporting – Create and edit sorts
Reporting: Create and edit formulas, variables, groups and references Reporting – Create formulas and variables
Reporting: Enable document change Reporting – Enable formatting
Reporting: Merge objects Reporting – Enable merged dimensions
Reporting: Insert and remove reports, tables, charts, and cells Reporting – Insert and remove reports, tables, charts, and cells

In the CMC, the following rights have been prefixed with the “Obsolete_” tag since they are useless in SAP BI 4.3 or what they secure will be replaced by customization when it is supported:

  • Disable Export to BI On Demand for this user
  • Disable Import from BI On Demand for this user
  • General – Enable right-click menus
  • Interfaces – Enable Rich Internet Application
  • Left pane – Enable document structure and filters
  • Left pane – Enable document summary
  • Desktop interface – Save documents locally
  • Desktop interface – Import documents

CMC: Web Intelligence Application Security Rights

The following rights are still exposed in the CMC but will be leveraged once the corresponding features are supported:

  • Desktop: Send by e-mail
  • Desktop: Enable local data providers
  • Desktop: Install from BI Launch Pad
  • Shared: Publish shared elements
  • Shared: Insert shared elements

The following table lists Web Intelligence document security rights, with their equivalent in SAP BI 4.2.

SAP BI 4.3 Security Right Previous SAP BI 4.2 Name
Edit Query Edit Query
Export the cube’s data Save as CSV
Export the report’s data Export the report’s data
Import document locally N/A
Refresh List of Values Refresh List of Values
Refresh the report’s data Refresh the report’s data
Use Lists of Values Use Lists of Values
View SQL View SQL

The Save as Excel or Text and Save as PDF security rights have been removed since exporting or scheduling report’s data into PDF, Excel, HTML archive, Text or CSV archive is now simply covered by the Export the report’s data right.

Two new rights have been introduced:

  • Export the cube’s data: This right allows the user to export a document’s cube data or to schedule it into a CSV file. (Request 134236)
  • Import document locally:This new right replaces the previous application Desktop interface – Save documents locally and Desktop interface – Import documents security rights and is used to allow the document to be saved locally so it can be opened in Web Intelligence Rich Client.

The Publish shared elements right is still exposed in the CMC but will be leveraged once the corresponding feature is supported.

Web Intelligence: Publishing and Scheduling

When the new BI Launch Pad has been released in SAP BI 4.2 SP4, it was possible to schedule documents but not to distribute them through publications. In SAP BI 4.3, this missing capability has been implemented in BI Launch Pad and proposes the same options than in SAP BI 4.2.

To create a publication, go to a folder, click the Create/upload objects button () on top of the folder’s page and select Publication in the menu.

BI Launch Pad: Publication in the Create Menu

In the New Publication page, enter the publication parameters. These parameters are organized by sections, displayed in two tabs. Some parameters depending on the document type, appear only after you have added the source documents into the publication.

BI Launch Pad: New Publication

To navigate more easily into the possible parameters, you may click on the tab, and select the section in the menu that opens.

  • General. This tab contains the generic publication parameters: publication details, source documents, destination, recurrence, enterprise and dynamics recipients, events, …
  • Report Features. This tab and its sections appear if your publication contains a Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports document. It contains publication properties specific to this document type. For Web Intelligence, this covers the publication formats, personalization, prompts and delivery rules.
  • Summary: This tab displays the publication’s most common parameters.

BI Launch Pad: Publication Menus

When the publication is defined, you may click Save or Save and Close.

In SAP BI 4.3, you can still schedule a document. To propose the same look and feel than the New Publication page, the Schedule page has been modified.

BI Launch Pad: New Schedule

When defining the schedule, you can move to specific sections through two tabs and the corresponding menus.

  • The General tab contains the generic sections that define a schedule like its destinations, its recurrence, the events attached to it,…
  • The Report Features tab contains the sections specific to a Web Intelligence document. Formats, Prompts and Delivery Rules are available, but Caching properties are not yet implemented.

BI Launch Pad: Schedule Menus

Both schedule and publication benefit of the new options introduced in SAP BI 4.3:

  • When you define the publication or schedule frequency in the Recurrence section, you can select business days and hours when the schedule is run.
  • Another new option, Allow Retries, can be used to define if a failed schedule must be re-run and if yes, how many times and when.

BI Launch Pad: Recurrence Options

  • In the BI Launch Pad Home page, you may click the Instances tile to display an overview of all schedules and publications running by you and their status. The top of the page contains controls to filter this list by date, status, scheduled object type or just by name.

BI Launch Pad: Schedule Instances Page

Web Intelligence: OpenDocument URL

In addition of the Copy Link of the Report/Table/Chart/Cell commands previously described that allow you to directly generate an Opendoc URL to access the selected item, in BI Launch Pad, you can also get the link to access a document by opening document’s contextual menu and selecting the Details command. The Opendoc URL you can share is provided in the Document Link field.

BI Launch Pad: Document Details Dialog Box

With Web Intelligence user interface simplification, the sViewer option is no more used by the Opendoc URL and is skipped when it is processed. Some options like instance are not yet supported in SAP BI 4.3 and will be supported in future Support Packages.

To allow your user to directly access a folder, you can select the Details command in a folder’s contextual menu, and share the URL provided in the Folder Link.

BI Launch Pad: Folder Details Dialog Box

Web Intelligence: REST Web Services

In the Web Intelligence REST Web Services, some new URLs have been added:

  • To get, create, edit and delete referenced cells in a document
  • To get, create, edit and delete table’s calculations (Average, Count, Max, Min, Percent or Sum)
  • To get the details of a publication

Some existing URLs have been extended to:

  • Purge a document
  • Set a table cell as a section
  • Change the position of a report element in the layout (front, back…)
  • Delete all breaks of a table
  • Update or delete all breaks on a table axis
  • Get, edit or delete all custom formatting of a report element
  • Get the details of a hierarchy member
  • Re-order input controls
  • Create a custom format for number or datetime
  • Get the marker palettes, the gradient orientations and the locales supported by the BI Platform server

Web Intelligence: Performance Enhancements

To improve Web Intelligence performance, several enhancements have been implemented:

  • The most visible one is the progressive disclosure, aka lazy loading: to avoid blocking the user while the document is fully displayed, the document skeleton is first computed and displayed, then the charts are displayed in the background. The gain is most notable on document that contains many charts.
  • The Web Intelligence REST Web Services calls used by the new Web Intelligence interface have been optimized
  • Documents with the Refresh on open option are automatically purged when they are saved in order to reduce their opening time (Request 110058).
  • A Web Intelligence document stores details related to the universes it queries. If one of these universes has been modified, these updated details are retrieved from this universe when the document is opened. A warning message is displayed to recommend saving the document, so this updated is no more needed next time it is opened.

Information Design Tool: 64-Bit

Like other client tools in SAP BI 4.3 (Web Intelligence Rich Client and Universe Design Tool), the Information Design Tool and the Connection Server drivers are released in 64-bit only (Request 210604).

Information Design Tool: Calculated Column in List Of Values Based On SQL

In a data foundation or a business layer, a list of values based on custom SQL can reference a calculated column (Request 212610).

In the SQL defining the list of values, you must pass the calculated column name with the @CalculatedColumn function.  This is similar to the support of derived table in SAP BI 4.2 SP6 through the @DerivedTable function.

This @CalculatedColumn function is automatically added if you double-click or drag and drop the calculated column from the Tables list.

Using Calculated Column in List of Values Definition

Information Design Tool: Other Enhancements

Some enhancements have been done to simplify the use of Information Design Tool:

  • In the data foundation, when adding a table to a view, the list of views is alphabetically sorted.
  • In the data foundation and business layer editors, the search in the filter pop-up is case-insensitive (Request 222473).
  • In the Edit Business Layer View dialog box, you can order the views by selecting them and clicking one of the two arrow buttons. This was already possible by dragging and dropping these views in the list. Views are displayed in Query Panel in this defined order.

Business Layer Views

  • When exporting a business layer as a Text, HTML or PDF file, the objects’ CUID are also saved if you select the Object CUID checkbox in the Save As dialog box.

Save As Dialog and CUID in Generated HTML

Semantic Layer Java SDK

The Semantic Layer Java SDK is available in 64-bit (Request 138464).

When creating an object, you can set this object CUID with a new method whose signature is:

<T extends BlItem> T createBlItem(Class<T> type, String name, BlContainer parent, String cuid);

If you do not pass any string to define a CUID, then a random one is assigned, as it is the case in SAP BI 4.2.

SAP BW: Secure Network Connection (SNC)

SAP Secure Network Connection is a protocol that secures SAP system accesses. It is already supported in previous releases by BusinessObjects BI Platform servers and Universe Design Tool to encrypt communications with SAP BW servers.

In SAP BI 4.3, SNC encryption is also used by Information Design Tool and Web Intelligence Rich Client to connect to SAP BW servers. To leverage this capability, SNC must be first configured in the CMC (in Authentication > SNC Settings) and in each machine running these client tools (see SAP Note 2183696).

SAP BW: InfoProvider

When using SAP BW as a data source, you are no more limited to SAP BEx queries and you can query one of these possible SAP BW Info Providers (Request 138931):

  • Advanced DataStore Object – ADSO (Request 239793)
  • CompositeProvider – HCPR (Request 227149)
  • InfoCube – CUBE
  • MultiProvider – MPRO
  • Open ODS View – FBPA

This support is available in both:

  • Web Intelligence: After the selection of an SAP BW data source, you can directly browse it and select an SAP BW Info Provider
  • Information Design Tool: You can create a multidimensional universe (UNX) on top of an SAP BW Info Provider. This universe can then be used as a data source in Web Intelligence.

Web Intelligence SAP BW Direct Access: Browsing InfoProviders

In both cases, you connect to an OLAP connection (BICS-based) and can leverage multidimensional concepts (hierarchies, levels, member selectors…)


When using S4/HANA as a data source, you can directly query the S/4HANA CDS views defined as #CUBE or #DIMENSION in Data Definition script from ABAP Development Tool. In SAP BI 4.2, only the ones defined as #QUERY are supported.

This support is available in both:

  • Web Intelligence: After the selection of an SAP S/4HANA data source (in the list of data source, select the SAP BW option), you can directly browse it and select a CDS view.
  • Information Design Tool: You can create a multidimensional universe (UNX) on top of an S/4HANA CDS view. This universe can then be used as a data source in Web Intelligence.

This access uses OLAP connection (BICS-based, but not HTTP) and leverages multi-dimensional concepts, like CDS hierarchies and CDS variables.

SAP HANA: Variable Mapping

In SAP HANA Studio or Web IDE for HANA, a metadata designer can create HANA cascading variables by mapping the input parameters or variables of an external view with the input parameters or variables of a calculation view.

Web Intelligence can consume these cascading variables as cascading prompts.

SAP HANA: HTTP Connection

In SAP BI 4.2, some products like Analysis for OLAP or SAP Design Studio support HTTP-based connection to access SAP HANA. In SAP BI 4.3, this connection is also supported by the Web Intelligence / Semantic Layer stack:

  • In Web Intelligence, you can directly query SAP HANA information models through direct access by selecting an HTTP connection.
  • In Information Design Tool, you can create a multi-dimensional universe based on such HTTP connection.

This HTTP connection, based on InA service, supports the following SAP HANA features:

  • Analytic and calculation views
  • Hierarchies and member selections on hierarchies.
  • Variables and input parameters
  • Filters on hierarchies, attributes and measures

This HTTP connection can be created in:

  • The Information Design Tool, through the New OLAP Connection dialog box.
  • Since SAP BI 4.2, in the CMC, in the OLAP Connections

SAP HANA HTTP Connection in the Information Design Tool

SAP HANA: Smart SQL Access for HTTP Connections

In Information Design Tool, when creating an HTTP connection to an SAP HANA database, you may optionally select the Allow SQL access to the remote database checkbox and provide the parameters to query this SAP HANA database through SQL.

Defining SQL Parameters in SAP HANA OLAP Connection

When connecting to SAP HANA through direct access, if this checkbox has been selected and if the query contains no hierarchy, Web Intelligence uses rather SQL, which in this case is faster than HTTP. But if the query contains hierarchy or is generated from a universe created in Information Design Tool, it is sent through HTTP.

For the moment, this Allow SQL access to the remote database checkbox can only be set in Information Design Tool, and not in the CMC.

Data Sources: New Supported Data Sources

In addition of the relational databases supported in previous releases (see the SAP BI 4.3 Product Availability Matrix), Connection Server supports these new data sources in Information Design Tool:

  • IBM DB2 Warehouse 3, through native driver (with single sign-on support) and JDBC driver
  • Denodo 7, through JDBC driver (Request 201192)
  • Google BigQuery, through native driver (Request 140996)
  • Snowflake, through JDBC and ODBC drivers (Request 205399)
  • SAP HANA Cloud through SAP HANA JDBC and ODBC connections. You can create a relational universe on SAP HANA Cloud tables. The SAP HANA client interface version must be at least 2.4.167.
  • SAP Data Warehouse Cloud through SAP HANA JDBC connection. You can create a relational universe on SAP Data Warehouse Cloud tables and views. The SAP HANA client interface version must be at least 2.4.167.
  • And Java Beans for custom drivers that can be written by developers or partners (see Connection to custom sources with a JavaBean for more details).

For big data sources, Connection Server supports Hive, Impala and Spark and hence, the distributions that embed them:

  • Cloudera CDH1 with Hive and Impala
  • Hortonworks HDP 2.5 with Hive
  • Hortonworks HDP 3.1 with Hive and Spark
  • MapR MEP 6.1 with Hive, Impala and Spark

Relational Connections List

Data Sources: ODBC DSN-Less Connectivity

To simplify ODBC connection use, Connection Server supports ODBC Data Source Name (DSN)-less connection for databases that support it. When creating the connection in Information Design Tool, you can also enter the required parameters (host, port, …). This avoids you to define the DSN across all machines that access the database through this ODBC connection.

In Information Design Tool, when creating an ODBC connection for SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Teradata, Oracle MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle databases or IBM Informix, you can select:

  • The Use existing data source radio button, to continue to define the DSN as in previous releases.
  • Or the Use connection string option, and then provide parameters that depend on the selected databases (Driver, Host, Database, Service, Protocol…)

Defining ODBC DSN-less Connection

Data Sources: Multiple Secondary Credentials

In SAP BI 4.2, in the CMC, you can define secondary credentials for each user. When a user uses a relational or OLAP connection whose authentication mode is Use BusinessObjects credential mapping, then his secondary credentials are used to authenticate him to this database. But as only one set of credentials can be defined per user, the same credentials are used for all connections with this authentication mode.

In SAP BI 4.3, multiple credential mappings can be defined per user through the new concept of Data Source Reference. To create a new Data Source Reference, in the CMC, select the Data Source Reference tab.

In the Data Source References page, click the Create new Data Source Reference button () and enter a name and a description for the new Data Source Reference.

CMC: New Data Source Reference

Once created, the Data Source Reference appears in the page, where you can later edit or delete it.

Data Source References Page

In a user’s properties page, in the Database Credentials section, you can set the credentials for this user and for each individual Data Source Reference you have created.

CMC: Defining User’s Credential Mapping

In Information Design Tool, when you create a connection, if you select Use BusinessObjects credential mapping for authentication mode, then in the Data Source Reference drop-down menu, you can select the mapping to use. If you do not select any, the default one is used.

Information Design Tool: Data Source Reference Selection in Connection Definition

When this user accesses the database through this connection, then he is authenticated with the credentials defined in the CMC for him, for this Data Source Reference.


The samples have been updated:

  • On Windows, the eFashion and Rio sample databases are released on SQLite and no more on Microsoft Access.
  • Web Intelligence documents samples have been updated.


In this first SAP BI 4.3 release, the following features are not yet supported and will be supported only in a future Support Package:

  • Authoring of Web Intelligence Shared elements
  • .TXT and .CSV as a data source
  • Support of SAP HANA Online in Web Intelligence
  • Authoring of intra-document links
  • Authoring of Query/ Document as a Web Service
  • Freeze headers in Reading mode
  • Web Intelligence Customizations and Extensions
  • Web Intelligence Rich Client: ZABO and Standalone modes
  • Web Intelligence Rich Client: Local data providers
  • Send to FTP

Original Article:

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