Since BI4 has been released a new tool for the semantic layer has been introduced; the Information Design Tool (IDT). This tool is likely to replace the Universe Design Tool (UDT) in the future. In version 4 Explorer (Polestar) will only work on Universes created with the IDT and the Query Browser of Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) will also only work on Universes created with the IDT.
I’ve spent a few days on the tutorials and the tool itself, in this post my findings.
• Interface improved; overall it just looks good. Universe design tool was becoming a bit old
• Projects, data foundations and business layers. New concepts for universe designers which will provide more structure in the layer.
• Profiling options -> great to get a feeling of the data without having to manually query or use WebI
• Show values by selecting multiple columns in data foundation
• Color schemes for the data structure; sources and families
• Multisource-enabled universes
• eLearning: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-8461
• Hiding columns in the Data Foundation does not mean that the column is hidden in the Business Layer
• Formatting options fall short compared to the UDT http://www.dallasmarks.org/blog/2012/04/object-formatting-with-the-information-design-tool/
• Conformed dimensions cannot be shared like with linked Universes in UDT.
This last bullet can do with some more explaining. It is the most negative finding in my opinion and this keeps me from completely switching from UDT to IDT based Universes.
I have a dimensional data warehouse with fact tables and shared dimension tables. For example; the Time dimension is used by every fact table. In the UDT I create one dimension universe which I then incorporate in all the functional universes via a link. The only thing I then have to do is create the joins and hide the not-used dimensions in the functional universe. The big advantage is that formatting is managed in one spot and all universes have consistent formatting and ordering of objects.
In the IDT data foundation I have created views for every fact table and its dimensions. I was hoping that the Business Layer would provide some way to create views on a part of a Business Layer or based on another Business Layer which then could be exporting on itself. I found the Business Layer views, but these merely allow you to display a subset of folders in the IDT. For as far as I could see Business Layers cannot be exported as a single Universe.
Interface New Vs Old:
Show values, simple as right click:
And you get the SQL statement and the results:
Color schemes; sources and families:
Hiding columns in the Data Foundation does not result in hidden objects in the Business Layer: