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  • What's New in Spotfire 7.10

    TIBCO Spotfire® 7.10

    Spotfire 7.10 provides a new, high-resolution, export to PDF feature, including a modern, user-friendly UI, with a live preview. In addition, there are also very useful improvements in data access (especially for SAP BW users), visual analytics, and, for administrators, we have made the node manager upgrade process simpler. 

    New and improved Export to PDF

    With Spotfire 7.10, the new Export to PDF feature includes the following main improvements over the legacy implementation:

    • The exported visualizations use the visual theme in the analysis.
    • The exported PDF is of a higher resolution.
    • The modern user interface makes it easier to configure the export, to get the result you need.
    • The dialog provides a preview that lets you see the result of your settings.

    You access the new Export to PDF dialog from the File > Export menu in Spotfire Analyst, or, from the menu in the top right of the web client. 

    In the left-hand panel, there are controls that let you configure what to export, and what type of content to include (such as page numbers, date, Annotations, etc). You can also find basic settings here, such as the paper size and page orientiation. Just to the right of the panel is the preview area, which is dynamically updated as you change the export settings in the left-side panel, so you can see the effect of your selections directly. The preview can also be zoomed using the controls in the upper right corner.

    Control the proportions of the exported content

    You can now easily control the proportions of exported visualizations. In the Proportions part of the user interface, you can choose to use one of three options:

    As it is on your screen

    This setting is the default option in Spotfire. Choosing this option ensures that the PDF page displays the content exactly the way it looks on your screen. However, you might not use all the available space on the paper with this choice, as shown below.  (In this image, the paper is A4 landscape-oriented, so a portion of the paper in the bottom is not used.)

    Fit to PDF page

    If you want to utilize your paper dimensions, choose Fit to PDF page. When you select this option, check to make sure no labels are truncated, because the aspect ratio for the dashboard may be changed significantly. (The image below shows how this can happen.)

    Notice that, in the picture above, the labels in the lower line chart to the right do not fit the space, the labels in the bar chart look sub-optimal, and only parts of the company names in the table in the center are visible. In this case, using the feature Relative text size is a great option.

    Relative text size

    Use the Relative text size slider to scale the text to the best size. Below, you can see the result: the text is smaller, but the labels and the text in the table fits and are easily readable. Watch this


    showing how Relative text size works.


    If the options Fit to PDF page or As it is on your screen cannot give you what you need, you can use the custom proportions to define any desired aspect ratio for the exported content.

    Exporting all rows from a table, or all trellis pages from a trellised visualization

    In order to export all rows from a table, not only those rows visible on the screen, or to export all trellis pages for a trellis-by-pages visualization, you first select the visualization to export. A new, very convenient, way to do this is from the right-click menu in the visualization:

    The What to export ? Active visualization option is then automatically selected, and you can select Export entire table, as shown below.

    The process is very similar for export of all trellis pages in a trellis-by-pages visualization.

    Visualize direction on maps or scatter plots by setting the rotation of markers

    It is now possible to rotate markers on maps and scatter plots, based on values in a column or a custom expression. For example, using this new feature, you can configure the direction of markers to indicate wind direction, a ship's heading, or similar direction information.

    Set the rotation using a column or a custom expression on the new Rotation axis of the scatter plot or map chart marker layer. The rotation is described in degrees, where 0 is North, 90 is East, 180 is South, and so on.

    Scroll in a cross table hierarchy

    When the hierarchy of a cross table is very large, you can now scroll in the hierarchy, as well as in the values. This new feature makes it easier to work with cross tables that have a large hierarchy.

    The Appearance tab in the cross table properties now has a new section that is called Horizontal scrolling.

    There are three options in the Horizontal scrolling section:

    Freeze row headers keeps the row header frozen, so you can scroll only the column values. This was the behavior in version 7.9 of Spotfire, and earlier.

    Scroll row headers specifies that the cross table always scrolls both row headers and column values.

    Adjust automatically is the new default: The cross table sets the best of the two other options automatically, depending on the width of the row headers relative to the width of the whole cross table.

    Quick auto-zoom on maps

    You can now enable or disable auto-zoom much more quickly, directly from the right-click menu in the map chart.

    Improved performance when filtering data in-db

    When you use Spotfire to analyze data in a database with a live connection (data still kept in the database, not brought into memory with Spotfire), filtering performance is much better in Spotfire 7.10 compared to earlier versions.

    Spotfire business users can now limit data using SAP BW BEx variables

    Spotfire has had native self-service support for SAP BW since version 5.5. The number of Spotfire users on SAP BW has grown rapidly since then. We are happy to announce that the most-requested SAP BW integration feature is available in Spotfire 7.10.

    In SAP BW BEx queries, variables are used to limit the data to be loaded. With Spotfire 7.10, it is now possible to connect SAP BW BEx query variables to Spotfire prompts automatically. Now, you can build analysis files that are directly connected to the variables that are already part of your BEx queries and your business processes. SAP BW users will be familiar with the variables, and can, for example, very easily narrow down the data being analyzed to certain time frames, product categories, equipment maintenance areas, oil wells, accounts, employees, and so on. 

    The following  image shows the updated Data Selection in Connection dialog box for defining SAP BW views in Spotfire.

    The panel to the right has a new section for prompt settings. To activate prompts for a variable, select the Prompt for values check box.

    The prompt type adapts to the prompt type defined in the BEx variable. In the example above, because this prompt type corresponds to the input allowed for that BEx variable, the prompt type for the TYPE variable is locked to Single selection.

    To make it easier for business users to understand the prompt, you can provide a description of the prompt .

    The following image shows that it is possible to control in which order the prompts are displayed to business users. This feature is important because variables are related, and limiting one variable affects the values available for the following variables.

    The following image displays an example of the first prompt, for the variable Tax:

    The following image displays the second prompt, TYPE. Users can enter variable values manually, or (as in this example), they can load the unique values in a list from SAP BW.

    The following image displays the third and last prompt, Region, with a value which has been entered manually. 

    The following image depicts the data analysis as a bar chart, where the data is limited by the selections previously made using the prompts.

    In BEx queries, variables are used to limit the data to be loaded. Some variables are mandatory, and values must be defined before a user can open the query. By establishing prompting, you can let the end user define the variable value, instead of defining it in the connection configuration.

    Note: You can define both a value and prompting for the same BEx variable. The variable value you define in the connection is the default selection in the prompt dialog for the variable when the connection is opened. This can be useful if you save the connection in the library for reuse. However, if you create an analysis with prompts and save it to the library, then the selections you made in the prompts when creating the analysis will be stored in the analysis. In that case, it will be your selections in the prompts, rather than the variable values defined in the connection, that are the default selections in prompts shown to the end users.

    Compared to working with relational data sources, BEx queries are more restrictive regarding how you can set up prompting. When a variable is defined in the query, it is designed to accept only certain input. For example, it can be a single value, a multiple value or a range. In Spotfire, the accepted input determines the prompt types you can use for a BEx variable.

    Note: Unless Load values automatically is selected, then, by default, the prompts for BEx variables give users the option to enter values manually. When a user enters variable values manually, Spotfire supports entering values as text (captions). Entering values as keys is not supported.

    SAP Message Server support for SAP BW

    You can now connect Spotfire to your cluster of SAP BW systems using the SAP Message Server load balancer. Previously, you had to connect Spotfire directly to a certain SAP BW instance.

    The SAP Message Server allows IT to assign application servers to workgroups or specific applications. Users are automatically logged in to the server that currently has the best performance statistics and/or the fewest users.

    The image below shows the updated SAP BW connection dialog, with the new fields for entering SAP Message Server connection details.

    Single Sign On to SAP HANA with SAP SSO 3.0

    It is common that SAP HANA deployments use the SAP SSO 3.0 Kerberos solution. The Spotfire SAP HANA integration now supports Kerberos authentication in combination with SAP SSO 3.0, in all clients and servers. This change enables Spotfire users analyzing SAP HANA data to access data without entering their SAP HANA credentials manually. It also provides a central location for users and roles administration, for SAP HANA administrators.

    Configurable Essbase Measure dimension

    If you are connecting to an Oracle Essbase cube that does not have a dimension tagged as the accounts dimension, you can now specify which dimension contains the measures. In previous releases, this was not possible, and some users could not connect to their Essbase cubes.

    The following image shows the dialog that is displayed when you create a connection to such a cube.

    You can manually specify which dimension to use as the measure (accounts) dimension in your connection.

    API access to Spotfire's data wrangling operations

    Spotfire's Source View (available by expanding the data panel) has been extremely well received by the Spotfire user community. It provides an overview of your data wrangling steps, and it also has access points for going back and editing data wrangling steps.

    With this release, you can now get the same overview and the same editing capabilities using an API.

    With API control of how data is wrangled, you can unlock new ways of building analytics applications. For example, an analytic scenario can be adapted on the fly by letting business users change join type (API control of the add columns operation), which instantly changes how data is blended, and thus, is presented in the analysis file.

    Using the API, you can extract data wrangling and cleansing steps from Spotfire. For example, all usage of the replace values data transformation on your data (which is also new with this release) can be exported. This new feature means that you can write code into SQL or Spark (for example) that converts all steps taken to cleanse data.

    Below is an example of how you can write the join type so it is controlled by a document property.

     from Spotfire.Dxp.Data import * from Spotfire.Dxp.Data.DataOperations import * from System import *  sourceView = table.GenerateSourceView();  op = sourceView.GetAllOperations[AddColumnsOperation]()[0]  newJoinType = Enum.Parse(JoinType, joinType)  op.AddColumnsSettings = op.AddColumnsSettings.WithJoinType(newJoinType).WithTreatEmptyValuesAsEqual(matchOnNull)

    The following image shows how a text area input field could be used to control the join type through a document property.

    Learn more about the API .

    Easier debugging of TERR data functions

    There is now a way to see debug information which is generated in runtime when a TERR data function executes, such as parameter values and also your own free text output. The same mechanism is used whether you run the data function locally using the embeded TERR engine in Spotfire Analyst, or, using the TERR engine in TIBCO Spotfire Statistics Services. To enable the debug output, select Tools > Options > Data Functions and click the Enable Data Function debugging check box:

    This makes Spotfire show additional debug information from the execution of the data function, such as, input and output parameter values. The debug information is viewed in the notifications window that you access from the lower left notification message (click the yellow triangle):

    Here is one example of debug output:

    If you want to, it is easy to add your custom debug information in a data function, in the script body:

     cat("My debug output: the input value for Multiplier was: ") cat(Multiplier) cat("n") OutputColumn <- InputColumn*Multiplier


    Easier upgrades of Node Managers

    Spotfire 7.10 improves the the upgrade process:

    1. You can upgrade the node manager from the administration UI.
    2. The node manager upgrade is now part of the rollback process in case there is an issue or error with the upgrade.

    Quick deployment of package updates

    To deploy Spotfire software, the administrator places software packages in a deployment area and assigns the deployment area to particular groups. 

    If a new deployment is available when a user logs in to a Spotfire client, the software packages are downloaded from the server to the client. 

    Deployments are used: 

    • To set up a new a new Spotfire system. 
    • To install a product upgrade, extension, or hotfix provided by Spotfire. 
    • To install a custom tool or extension.

    With one click you can now up update, rollback, or delete your deployment packages

    Pagination for Viewing Scheduled Updates

    The Scheduling & Routing page now has pagination. By default, you will see 100 scheduled updates and routing rules, but you can switch the view to 50 or 150 items per page.

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