Xcelsius 2008 – Dashboard Best Practices
Mmmmm, now I’m in a tricky situation. Having worked with Xcelsius for over 3 years now I’m in a quandary regarding what was once the only Xcelsius Book on the market.
Anyone who’s ever needed to work with Xcelsius from scratch probably has a copy.
Now the great and the good have all left extremely positive and well-meaning messages regarding the usefulness of the book and obviously as a new comer into blogging and talking about xcelsius on the net people may obviously think this is a ploy to cause ripples.
With all this in mind however I’ve got to disagree with the majority of reviews regarding this mainly due to the following :
- Having received the book after pushing some data around and trying out a few basic components for a few days previously with only the manual for help, I found myself skimming the first few chapters straight away.
- Not minding that too much as I was quite happy to move onto medium level chapters, which were basically detailed instructions into a number of the less than useful components of Xcelsius. Now the selectors/interactivity chapter was extremely useful but in my experience doesn’t add real life experiences in there. Which one to use when you have multi primary key rows in the data, which is best in terms of speed, which one is best for multi key selections.
- After 12 chapters dealt with in a small amount of time i was now hoping for the real meat of the book in the advanced sections…….
Chapter 13 – Dealing with Less than Optimal Data : Quite a nice piece about the importance of data within the Model, as after learning time after time that without the perfect cube of data your opening yourself up to all sorts of fiddles and excel practices that you don’t really want to do.
Chapter 14 – Useful if you need to use those specific charting techniques, still wouldn’t class them as advanced.
Chapter 15 – What i would class as the crux of the book and the product. Data Connectivity to me would be instantly the first chapter I’d look at, not many people in the real world are happy making a model that need to be mainly refreshed in a static spreadsheet. Connectivity options, choices and best practices to me is where it’s all at and what i would call an advanced chapter. So there’s 18 pages, split between XML and Web Service connections, which do have step by step instructions into how to set them up.
Chapter 16 = Creating Custom Components – Not my thing at all but 30 pages when only 18 given over to connections which in my opinion is far more important.
Appendix – Excel functions (Supported)
And that’s your lot. So although I appreciate that i came to the book after using Xcelsius after a day or two messing around, I was disappointed how quickly I took at to skimming chapters early on and I still think more personnel and real tips would have been useful in later chapters. On a personnel note as well I’d have included more into how it fits into the SAP Business Objects landscape and how your meant to use it in a business sense and less about how to fit excel to make it seem more powerful. I quickly left the book behind and haven’t picked it up after a couple of days receiving it.
My next few posts will hopefully show the type of thing I would have liked to see.