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Ready for Launch

With little to do in my spare time I am now able to finally do this blog consolidation that has been at the bottom of my todo list for many months. The plumbing part is all complete and here is what you need to know.

More content is on the way! This clean up needed to be done so I could clear the path for fresh content on all things data and analytics. Stay tuned for posts on topics like, tips and tricks, mobile analytics, visualizations, stuff in the labs, and the occasional rant. I have moved content from datavizlabs.com and bimobilelabs.com with a bit of clean up on some really old posts. Turns out mobile and tech in general can become obsolete fairly fast 🤪. If you need the old post you can still visit these sites (for now) at https://datavizlabs.tumblr.com and https://bimobilelabs.tumblr.com

I am not planning to move any of my historical Essbase or Smart View content as I have handed all that over to the Essbase team and they will need to keep this one going. I still love Essbase but just don’t have the capacity to be good and that many things and so I must focus.

If you are missing any post or one of the post I migrated has broken links or needs some fixing up please DM us @vizunderground or comment on the post.

✅Blog Consolidation
✅New Domain
✅Old Domain Redirects
✅Basic Site Structure
🟩Fresh New Content – Coming Soon!

Use Emojis in Analytics 😍

Did you know that emoji can be used in Oracle Analytics projects? Well now you do and there are some cool 😎 use cases for this as long as you are willing to be creative.

Point to Stuff

☝️Showing users exactly what to click or tap on is often important in delivering analytics. Pointing hands in text areas or titles is a great way to tell people what they are looking at or what to do.

Use in a Text Box
Use in a Chart Title

Data Conditions

Emojis are a great way to highlight data conditions. Classic traffic lighting is a great example. This one is a bit harder to pull off but leveraging project calculations in a table or pivot brings it all together.

Project Calculation that Results in Emojis
Emojis in a Table

This sort of formatting has been used in analytics for years but now with the help of emojis and a bit of creativity it can be said with real emotion and style 😎.

Add to Values

Leveraging calculations and features in prep emojis can be used in various ways. Grouping is a great way to create values summarizing data but named with style using emojis.

Group Feature in Prep
Bar Chart with Creative Group Names

How it is All Done

It turns out that all of this is super easy because emojis, like it or not, have become a standard. Here is a great page that has a list of all the standard ones along with some emoji analytics of their own. You can actually adopt and emoji!

https://unicode.org/emoji/charts/full-emoji-list.html

For use in an Oracle Analytics project the best bet is to just copy and paste from this page or a page like this. On Mac and Windows you can also open an emoji panel while typing.

  • Windows – In the text area, open the emoji panel using the Windows key + ; (semicolon) or Windows key +. (period).
  • Mac – In the text area, open the emoji panel using Control-Command-Space.

I hope this helps to enable the creation of useful, fun, and stylish visualization experiences.

🤯

Tips and Tricks and When to Use Oracle Analytics Desktop

Oracle Analytics allows customers to get insights on data with a couple key deployment options; cloud (OAC) and on-premises (OAS). This should cover most needs, but there are a couple of specific reasons for a desktop version.

First, if you just want to try things out you can download the desktop version. One great way check out the product is to try the free Udemy course – Modern Data Visualization with Oracle Analytics Cloud. The course can be done with OAC but the course will direct you to desktop in case you are just kicking the tires.

Second, if you need to leverage our SDK and build a custom visualization like the ones we publish to the Oracle Analytic Library. Here are some links in case you want to get started down a path of custom plugin development.

https://docs.oracle.com/en/middleware/bi/analytics-desktop/bidvd/create-custom-data-action-plug-ins.html#GUID-6D2C8C70-A88C-4F92-A64A-376DE7AA18E3

https://docs.oracle.com/en/middleware/bi/analytics-desktop/bidvd/data-visualizer-sdk-reference.html#GUID-55B663FC-9445-44CC-9C7E-CDF70D42FB4A

Also here is part one of a four part blog dedicated to building visualization on MacOS. Keep in mind these steps can be easily applied to Windows and know a Windows version of this blog is on the to do ✅ list.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/oracle-analytics-1-creating-custom-visualization-macos-krooss/

Tips and Tricks

So now that you know when to use Oracle Analytics Desktop here are some tips to help you along.

Run in SDK Mode

For SDK Development you will need to know how to run in SDK mode. Here are the basic command line arguments for Windows and Mac.

Windows:
"C:\Program Files\Oracle Analytics Desktop\dvdesktop.exe" --args -sdk -jettyPort=8800

Mac:
open /Applications/dvdesktop.app --args -sdk -jettyPort=8800

-sdk will launch using the standard port unless -jettyPort is used.

Clean Uninstall

By default the uninstalls will just remove the application so that when you re-install the content is still in place. With that, there are times you want to do a full uninstall and remove everything you ever created on Oracle Analytics Desktop. Below are some scripts for Windows and Mac that do just that.

Keep in mind this will remove everything, never to be recovered!!

#!/bin/sh

# Uninstall Data Visualization for Desktop on Mac
echo "Uninstalling Oracle Analytics for Desktop on Mac..."

sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Data Visualization for Desktop.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Data Visualization Desktop.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Analytics for Desktop.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Analytics Desktop.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/DVDesktop.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Data Visualization Desktop Configure Python.app"
sudo rm -rf "/Applications/Oracle Analytics Desktop Configure Python.app"

# Uninstall All Data and Projects
echo "Uninstalling All Data and Projects..."

rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/DataVisualization
rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/DVDesktop
rm -rf $TMPDIR/DVDesktop

echo "Finished Uninstallation process."
@ECHO OFF

ECHO This will delete the following directories:
ECHO.
ECHO %localappdata%\DVDesktop"
ECHO %localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop
ECHO %localappdata%\DataVisualization
ECHO.
ECHO This will clean up the Oracle Analytics Desktop installation and it will remove all artifacts you have created including projects and data sets.
ECHO.
ECHO Basically it will all be gone, so continue with care!!
ECHO.

SET /P startCleanup=Do you want to continue (y=yes):

IF '%startCleanup%'=='y' (

ECHO.
ECHO Attempting to delete the directroy %localappdata%\DVDesktop

IF EXIST "%localappdata%\DVDesktop" (
	@RD /S /Q "%localappdata%\DVDesktop"
	ECHO deleted the directroy %localappdata%\DVDesktop
) ELSE (
	ECHO Could not find the directroy %localappdata%\DVDesktop
)

ECHO.
ECHO Attempting to delete the directroy %localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop

IF EXIST "%localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop" (
	@RD /S /Q "%localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop"
	ECHO deleted the directroy %localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop
) ELSE (
	ECHO Could not find the directroy %localappdata%\temp\DVDesktop
)

ECHO.
ECHO Attempting to delete the directroy %localappdata%\DataVisualization

IF EXIST "%localappdata%\DataVisualization" (
	@RD /S /Q "%localappdata%\DataVisualization
	ECHO deleted the directroy %localappdata%\DataVisualization
) ELSE (
	ECHO Could not find the directroy %localappdata%\DataVisualization
)

) ELSE (
ECHO OK nothing cleaned up
)
@pause

Quit OA Desktop on Mac

Sometimes, and deepening on what MacOS you have installed it can be tricky to quit the application and all its running processes (working on fixing this). If you know what to look for this can be done using Activity Monitor but here is a script to make this a bit easier.

#!/bin/sh

# Uninstall Data Visualization for Desktop on Mac
echo "Killing Oracle Analytics for Desktop on Mac..."

pid=$(ps -fe | grep 'dvdesktop' | awk '{print $2 }')
if [[ -n $pid ]]; then
    sudo kill $pid
else
    echo "Does not exist"
fi

echo "All Done!"

I keep all of these scripts up to date here https://github.com/mmilella/DV-Scripts where you can just download the latest as I am sure this blog will get out of date.

Show the Latest Data

Sometimes you need to just show the latest data. This is often the case for metrics like inventory or some percentages where adding things up just does not make sense. Most analytic tools like Oracle Analytics allows authors to pick from various aggregation methods as a solution, but when building a project you don’t always want this to change for all cases. Users could also leverage date filters and this can be done at various levels in the project, but as new data changes report maintenance goes up!

With all this in mind I have recently introduces the concept of Relative Time into my data sets using a custom column and a function. I am doing this as part of a Data Flow but this concept can be leveraged elsewhere in the product.

Let’s break things down a bit and lay out the use case:

  • This is a self service use case. I am loading a new data file almost every day with data updated to the most recent. This can also be down with a database or other source that gets automatic updates.
  • At times the data updates get a bit behind and they may not have the latest data. Using today – 1 day or anything like that is not predictable.
  • I only care about the most recent days data in my analysis. This could be most recent week, hour, or even minute, but in my case it is day.

So what I have done is created a column that calculates the difference between today (Current Date) and the date column (ObservationDate) in my data set. I ordered the function so I would get number of days away represented in negatives so the closest day is the highest number, in this case -1. Doing it the opposite way would have been my approach for solving the problem of ‘oldest date’. You will see what I mean in the next step.

TIMESTAMPDIFF(SQL_TSI_DAY,CURRENT_DATE, ObservationDate)

Next apply a rank function to the previous function to have each row in my data set report it’s rank. As you can see below that ranks things and because there are a lot of ties in the data set the same rank is repeated many times. Also note that with -1 being my largest number it is going to be ranked #1.

Rank(TIMESTAMPDIFF(SQL_TSI_DAY,CURRENT_DATE, ObservationDate))

So now I know that my most recent time period is 3/27/2020 and I can clean things up so my naming convention is clear for my users consuming the report.

CASE WHEN Rank(TIMESTAMPDIFF(SQL_TSI_DAY,CURRENT_DATE, ObservationDate))=1 THEN 'Most Recent Day' ELSE 'Older' END

With this in place, using filters on my visualization or other levels, I can add the column value ‘Most Recent Day’ for the metrics where I just want the latest data! Once this is done I never have to update my data, I just load new data and the visualizations in my project always show the most recent data.

Also this is a great trick for making your data searchable and ready for voice for Oracle Analytics Day by Day use cases. More to come on this topic so stay tuned.

Be ‘Responsive’ to a Point

By default Oracle Analytics data visualization projects are responsive by default and this is great so authors generally don’t have to worry about device, device size, or screen resolution. Right?

Above is an example of some to the beautiful screenshot I see on social media showing off an authors work, but this sort of layout can break down pretty quickly. Here is what happens when the browser is resized.

As you can see the visuals all respond and now are really hard to read. It can get worse if this is brought up on a projector with poor resolution support or opened on a tablet in portrait orientation.

Introduce Scrolling

So why not let the user scroll and account for the various aspect ratios that might be encounter. Using canvas properties this can easily be done by keeping auto fit on and setting the height or width to a custom size.

Just by giving the canvas the freedom to scroll vertically the visuals show up better in the same size window as the example above. As an author I want to do better so keeping mind my target user, their devices, and default screen resolutions (often you do not know) I have arranged things with the following in mind:

  • Put key information on top and keep like information close.
  • Usually more than three performance tiles in one row is too much.
  • Pie, donut, and radar charts are normally good for small spaces.
  • Horizontal charts are best wide while most vertical charts are just fine tall and narrow.

No magic rule just some good, basic guidelines, and you get something that looks and scrolls like this.

This will work on most small screens and even on tablets in portrait mode! Keep in mind data visualization projects are adaptive but only on the phone where we have not choice but to neatly stack everything. For all other devices the author should take some care when laying things out but as you can see it does not require a lot of work.

Hope it helps and here is the exported .dva file if you want to give this a try.

A Fresh Start

For a few years I have been trying to find time to launch a new and organized place to me to share some of my knowledge on data. I have been at this game for more than 20 years and my blogging and ‘underground’ days started decades back when I was writing about and posting utilities for Essbase.

Maybe that logo rings a bell, it was from 2003 and I actually forgot the tag line and may have to bring it back. Back then we were doing more coding than writing but I will need to save the full history for another post. For now I need to focus and in the coming weeks I will be combining post from a few different blogs and consolidating a few twitter accounts.

Stay tuned…

Setting the PORTALPATH for OAC 5.5 and Above

For years our Oracle Business Intelligence customers have been using an RPD session variable to redirect end users to a specific dashboard when they hit the URL for their analytic platform.

https://hostname/analytics

This has served us well but fast forward to Oracle Analytics and this approach needed to change.  Starting with OAC 5.5 this is set using System Setting on our console page.

Once in system settings you simply do the following:

  • Search for or scroll to the setting called ‘Portal Path’
  • Update it with a valid location (path) to a dashboard.  ex. /shared/_portal/MyStartPage
  • A restart of OBI Presentation Server is required and the UI will prompt the user to do this.

All set!  Keep in mind that any logged in users will be impacted by this restart so it is best to make this change during off hours.  Also, user must have Access to Home ‘Granted’ in the Manage Privilege section of the Administration page for this to work properly.  Lastly once set the setting in the RPD will simply be ignored so you can remove it if you wish.

Here is a support note with all the same details:

https://support.oracle.com/knowledge/Oracle%20Cloud/2641867_1.html

Oracle Analytics on Chrome 80

In February Google will roll out an update to Chrome (80) that will implement a secure-by-default model for cookies, enabled by a new cookie classification system.  Details can be found here – https://blog.chromium.org/2019/10/developers-get-ready-for-new.html  

Although general use of Oracle Analytics (any version) will not be impacted by this change we know that some specific embedding use cases may be impacted. 

An official support notice on this topic can be found here, but here are some details on how to prepare for this.

  • Browser Administrators can implement special policies to temporarily revert Chrome Browser to legacy behavior.  This is ideal for desktops that are IT managed.
  • Browser Users can manage this flag by navigating to chrome://flags/ in the Chrome browser and change the flag SameSite by Default Cookies to Disabled.  This works best in an environment were users manage their own desktop and updates.

Administrators can test can custom embedded use cases with this above flag set to enabled to verify if there will be an issue or not.

Compare Data Without Cluttering Your Data Visualizations

By Raveesh Kumar

How many times have you thought
– when you view a data visualization you should be able to see and compare
related data points, without actually adding those related data points to the
visualization. You do not want to clutter your already expansive bar graph with
additional bars – right? For example, the below graph shows the revenues for countries
in different regions (AMERICAS, APAC, EMEA). Now, you want to compare the target
revenues for these countries without actually adding additional bars for target
revenues – what do you do?

image

In an Oracle Analytics data visualization
project,
Tooltip section in grammar panel comes to the rescue! Normally, when you hover
over any bar in a bar graph, you can see a tooltip box listing the values at
that data point. In this case – revenue, region and country name. Now, if you
can also see the value of target revenue to compare in this tooltip box, it
would be great. That is exactly what Tooltip section in grammar panel on the
left of the visualization does. You can drop columns on to this tooltip section and
see that it does not alter the rendering of bar graph. On the other hand, you
will be able to see the value of target revenue when you hover over any bar as
shown below.

image

You can also customize the
tooltip shown. Suppose you want too see only the data values for the columns present
in tooltip section, then you can go to the General tab in Properties pane and select
Tooltip Grammar only. Now only target revenue values are shown in the tooltip box. Meanwhile, for revenue values, you
can set the Data Labels to ‘Auto’ in Values tab in Properties pane, so that you
can see both revenue and target revenue values together as below – revenue value on top of the bar and target revenue in tooltip box.

image
image

The tooltip section in Grammar
panel is available to most of the data visualizations/charts in

Oracle Analytics

such
as Bar, Scatter, Line, Area, Pie, Grid Heat map, Treemap, Sunburst, Boxplot,
Waterfall, Map, Radar, Tag cloud, Tile and Picto. Sometimes, it can be visually
overwhelming to comprehend the information contained in charts. Tooltip section
in grammar panel is one way to minimize this complexity and keep things simple,
an eternal goal of any data visualization tool!

Let’s Catch Up at Oracle Open World!

image

Last minute edits September 12 – Changes in bold.

2019 Oracle Open World is sure to be a great conference and great place to be to collaborate and learn about Oracle Analytics.  If you are not singed up stop reading and sign up now!  

https://www.oracle.com/openworld/register.html

If you are attending there are some great sessions for Analytics and I am speaking at three of them on various topics including embedded analytics. 

THT6472 – Embed Analytics in Your Decisions – In this session get tips and tricks on how you can easily embed Oracle Analytics into your daily activities and make all your actions data-driven.

Tuesday, September 17, 12:00 PM – 12:20 PM | The Exchange (Moscone South) | Theater 2

CON6384 – Embed Analytics in Your Daily Decisions with Oracle Analytics Developer Capabilities – See how highly visual insights can be embedded into your own custom applications and web pages, in a secure, interactive manner.

Thursday, September 19, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM | Moscone South – Room 151C

These session will be co-presented by Mike Durran who has some other other great sessions in store for this years event.

CON6401 – The Mic Is Yours: Oracle Analytics Platform Development Panel – This one is always fun, in the hot seat with other product leaders for a panel discussion.

Thursday, September 19, 09:00 AM – 09:45 AM | Moscone South – Room 151B 

Be sure to always double check the session catalog as times, locations, and dates are subject to change.

My embedded sessions will be based the embedding framework in Oracle Analytics that makes it easy for developers and even non-developers to embed analytics into the tools they use every day.  Mike wrote a great blog on this topic early this year if you want to get a head start.

If you cannot make the session then DM me on twitter https://twitter.com/mmilella?lang=en and we can find time to talk data one on one.

I will leave you with one of the more interesting embedding demos we have built but you will need to come to the sessions to learn and see more.

image