Sep 08 2010

Universe “diff” Tool To Be Released At Orlando Conference

Categories: 2010 SBOUC, VBA Tools Dave Rathbun @ 9:21 am

I am happy to be able to (finally!) report that my universe “diff” tool (first mentioned a long time ago) is nearing completion. I have been using this partially completed tool on my own for many years, but the only things it compared were objects and predefined conditions. As such it was somewhat useful (mostly to me) but since it was not complete I did not release it even internally to my employer. When I started to extend the code to compare joins, tables, contexts, and other universe components I soon realized that the way I had originally written the code was not very modular. I was going to have to either write specific routines to compare each universe component, or go back and rewrite what I had in order to make it more generic. I didn’t do either of those things. :)

As of today I have completed the rewrite and am now going to extend the comparison to other universe components. I expect to have the final code ready to demonstrate (and release) during my talk Change Management Strategies For Universe Developers at the fall BusinessObjects conference. And of course once I release it there, I will also set up a way to download the code here on my blog.

Why use this tool rather than some of the other tools that are available? For one thing, it will be free. Free is good. :) It will be released under the GNU GPL license, which allows me to retain the copyright on the code while ensuring that the code can be distributed without restrictions. Support for the code will be on an “as time allows” basis here on my blog. For more details on the GNU GPL license (if you are not familiar with it) I have included a link at the end of this post. Basically it says that I retain copyright of the code, but anyone can use it however they see fit. So there are no restrictions on using it for personal or company use, and it can even be redistributed. The only requirement is that the code remains free of all restrictions and that my copyright information be retained in a visible fashion.

I’m excited to be able to finally complete this project. When I submitted the abstract for the conference I was hoping that it would get accepted, and that would be the incentive for me to get around to completing the code. It seems to have worked. Now all I have to do is complete my slides and get them submitted (a week late). I look forward to being able to share the results and the code in Orlando.

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17 Responses to “Universe “diff” Tool To Be Released At Orlando Conference”

  1. Comment by Chris Pohl


  2. Comment by kay

    Go Dave :)

  3. Comment by Ton

    Fantastic Dave, do you plan to also include differences in derived table definitions ? Just a marker that there is a diffence would be ok with me.

  4. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Yes, derived tables are processed. Everything I can get my hands on is included. The most unfortunate exclusion is aggregate navigation. I could not find a way to note differences in that part of the universe via the SDK.

  5. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    … and I may have just found out how to report on incompatible objects for aggregate navigation as well. 8-)

  6. Comment by Farhan Jaffery

    Dave – Looking forward to the demo. Any plans to extend the functionality to impact analysis both from data source to universe and from universe to reports (Webi and Crystal)? That would do away with the need to look at some of the other ‘not so great’ tools out there.

  7. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    At this point everything is pointed at universe change control. Impact analysis is much more complicated because of the sheer number of products that can be consumers of the universe framework. On the other hand, it only took me four years to get this finished; I should be able to knock a more robust solution out in another eight. Or ten. :lol:

  8. Comment by Yoav

    I am using sometimes (when budget and need go together… )
    the Universe Management Tool of Saama that also includes Impact analysis.

    In one of the projects i took part we developed a process that enabled us to create impact analysis (tables-reports-universes).


  9. Comment by Klaus

    Hi Dave, Definitely looking forward to your presentation. As you know this has been a topic we have been working on since 2002. Yes the SDK can be interesting at times.


  10. Comment by Jansi

    Yes, free is good. :P When will you post it here, Dave?


  11. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Jansi, it will be posted after the conference. People that get to go to the conference get the first chance to download it. :)

  12. Comment by gopal

    Great Job Dave!

  13. Comment by Tim

    I am a attendee at the conference. I have heard some good things about the universe compare tool. Bit I do not see a way to download it. Please advise

  14. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Hi, Tim, I have not posted it yet. There are a few final changes I need to make. When it’s posted, it will be released in a separate (new) topic. Thanks for your interest.

  15. Comment by Aravind

    Hi Dave,
    I havent searched ur site fully but just wanted to know whether you have completed the tool already


  16. Comment by Jgeagle5

    Dave, you were suggested by D Hoffpauir in his reply to this:

    I am writing you in hopes that you could point me in a direction or give me a solution for doing an impact analysis against my repository. We are in the midst of an upgrade – application\software\hardware – and I am frequently asked what would be the impact to Business Objects if certain tables are changed. Unfortunately, auditing is disabled. I use the “Document Universe” and WID_Scanner utilities (can’t get the objects from this one because GREP isn’t installed on the server) and some manual manipulation of the results. I have seen some posts that refer to the ReportEngine SDK but I am not sure if we have it.
    I am trying to find if there is a solution that would give the document name(report)\universe that uses a certain table or object.
    I have Business Objects XI 3 SP2 FP2.3 deployed in a Windows 2003, IIS6, .Net, ASP.Net, Oracle 9i environment. We also have MSOffice 2007.

  17. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    I am not aware of any specific tool to do this. I believe the CMC contains information that shows which universe or universes a report uses, but it does not go down to the object level. The individual reports (wid files) contain the object ID referenced by the report, but you would also have to cross-reference that to the universe used by the data provider because reports can use more than one universe at the same time. The issues is more challenging than most because the report SDK for Web Intelligence requires java and the SDK for the universe designer application is currently visual basic and I’m not even sure the CMC has anything other than query builder that is provided with the product.

    The way I might approach this would be to get someone to write code to scan the repository and export a list of reports combined with universes and objects used. This would be done in java. Then I would use that list as input to another program written in VBA that would consolidate a list of universes used by the set of reports, then open each universe and obtain the SQL code and/or tables referenced by each object.

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