Introduction

The Dashboard provides the capability to present key information relevant to your business in an at a glance format designed to meet your business requirements.

The BusinessCraft Dashboard provides the functionality to:

  • Organise Dashboards into Groups for easier viewing

  • Create powerful dashboards using the built in DevExpress Dashboard Designer

  • Link dashboards to designated web sites and provide standard navigation options

  • Link dashboards to files and provide viewing, printing and sharing options

  • Limit dashboard visibility to users who are members of the profile that created the dashboard

There are three types of dashboards that can be created:

  • Interactive - are created using the built in DevExpress Dashboard Designer and require a SQL Server instance as the data source.

  • Document – provides the option to specify a file path to a file. Besides providing simple shortcuts to files, these dashboards can be very effective in combination with the BusinessCraft Service Scheduled Reports Plug In.

  • Web – these dashboards enable you to specify a URL link to display internal or external web pages.

Prerequisites

BusinessCraft V5.0 or later

The logged in user must be using a profile that permits editing.

To create interactive dashboards (uses the DevExpress Dashboard Designer) requires the existence of one of the following data sources:

  • A SQL Database

  • An OLAP Cube in a Microsoft Analysis Services Database

  • A Microsoft Excel/CSV File

  • A Data Extract

BusinessCraft provides the BusinessCraft Replicator for all customers on the BusinessCraft Professional or Enterprise Tier to enable the creation of one or more SQL databases from BusinessCraft datasets. Please see the BusinessCraft Replicator User Guide for more details.

To create dashboards that link to a web site or a file requires security access to that URL or file path.

The Dashboard

To access the BusinessCraft Dashboard, click on the Dashboard link in the Side Panel. If no dashboards have been created for the user’s active profile, then the Groups Panel, the Dashboards Panel and the Dashboard Workspace will be empty:

The Groups and Dashboards Panels can be moved by hovering over the header of the panel or the tab if it is displayed as a tab and dragging it to the preferred location.

The Panels can also be widened or narrowed as required by hovering over the right hand edge of the panels until a double headed arrow appears and dragging as required.

Please note that as you start using the BusinessCraft Dashboard and depending on your screen size/resolution, you may wish to create more space for the Dashboard Workspace. This can be achieving by one or more of the following options without changing your native screen resolution:

  • Collapsing the BusinessCraft Side Panel

  • Using the Zoom Slider

  • Narrowing the Group and dashboard Panels

For now, until the Groups and Dashboards panels are populated, it is recommended that the default layout is retained.

Groups

BusinessCraft Dashboard Groups are used to organise dashboards into functional or logical menu selections. To create a Group, click on the + sign in the bottom right hand corner of the Groups Panel and the Add Group window will be displayed:

Code A 20-character alpha numeric field that is used by the system to identify the group. The system automatically assigns the next available 6-digit number but you can override this with a name of your choice. The Name is used to display the Group on screen, so there is no necessity to change from the sequential numbering system provided.

Name A 20-character alpha numeric field that is used by the system to display the name of the group on screens. This should be a meaningful name for users who will be using this Group that explains what dashboards can be expected to be found within the Group.

Icon The icon that will be displayed next to the Name for the Group (defaults to a pie chart). If you know the icon name, you can type it in, however it is easier to click on the Icon button, click on an icon from the Icon Selector Window.

After selecting an icon or accepting the default icon, click on the Save button……

…….. and the Group will appear in the Group Panel.

Please note that right clicking on the Group in the Group Panel will provide a Context Menu with the option to Edit or Delete the Group.

Choosing Edit will open the Edit Group window (very similar to the Add Group Window).

Choosing Delete will allow the Deletion of the Group AND any Dashboards linked to that group, so great care should be taken in choosing to delete a group and observing the prompt that alerts you prior to deleting the group.

You can proceed to add more Groups now or later as required by clicking the + sign in the bottom right hand corner of the Groups Panel.

Dashboards

The BusinessCraft Dashboards Panel displays the Dashboards available for the selected Group. If there is only one Group, then that Group is automatically selected. To choose another Group click on the Group required and the Dashboards Panel will refresh to reflect the Dashboards available for that Group.

To create a Dashboard, click on the + sign in the bottom right hand corner of the Dashboards Panel and the Add Dashboards window will be displayed:

Code A 20-character alpha numeric field that is used by the system to identify the dashboard. The system automatically assigns the next available 6-digit number but you can override this with a code of your choice. The Name and Description are used to display the Dashboard on screen, so there is no necessity to change from the sequential numbering system provided.

Name A large alpha numeric field that is used by the system to display the name of the dashboard on screens. This should be a meaningful name for users who will be using this dashboard that explains the nature of the contents of that dashboard. Please note it is recommended to keep the name to a maximum of 20 characters for practical purposes.

Description A large alpha numeric field that is used by the system to display additional information underneath the name of the dashboard on screens. This should be a meaningful information for users who will be using this dashboard that explains the nature of the contents of that dashboard. Please note it is recommended to keep the description to a maximum of 20 characters for practical purposes.

Icon The icon that will be displayed next to the Name for the Dashboard (defaults to a pie chart). If you know the icon name, you can type it in, however it is easier to click on the Icon button, click on an icon from the Icon Selector Window.

Group The Group to which this Dashboard will be linked. Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of available groups.

Type The type of dashboard that will be created, defaults to Interactive. Choices are Interactive (invokes DevExpress Dashboard Designer), Document (specify a file path to a file in the File Path field) and Web (specify a URL link in the File Path field). Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of available types. Creating different types of dashboards will be covered in more detail shortly.

File Path Where the Type is either Document or Web enter a valid file path or URL respectively. If loading data from an XML file, specify the path here.

Use Dataset When loading data from an XML file (for example created by Contract Report Writer), tick this box to specify a dataset for the XML Data. You must also specify the location of the XML File in the File Path field.

Advanced Clicking on the Advanced Link, provides the ability to specify a Data Source and create, copy/paste or edit XML generated for a dashboard. This will be covered in more detail later in this document.

On clicking Save, for Document and Web Dashboards, the file path will be checked and if not valid you will receive messages indicating this. For Interactive Dashboards, the Dashboard Designer will be launched.

Once you have completed the process for the relevant Dashboard Type, The Dashboard Panel will be populated with your created dashboard:

You can proceed to add more Dashboards now or later as required by clicking the + sign in the bottom right hand corner of the Dashboards Panel.

Dashboard Context Menu

Right clicking on a Dashboard in the Dashboards Panel provides a Context Menu containing actions available for that Dashboard:

Configure The Configure Option will take you to the Dashboard Designer for Interactive Dashboards. This option takes no action for Document or Web Type Dashboards.

Edit Choosing Edit opens the Edit Dashboard window (very similar to the Add Dashboard Window) to enable any required changes.

Reload Data For Interactive Dashboards, this option will reload the dashboard with updated data from the data source.

Reset What is the difference between Reset and Reload ?

Delete Choosing Delete will allow the Deletion of the Dashboard so great care should be taken before choosing to delete a dashboard.

Interactive Dashboards

When creating an Interactive Dashboard item, on saving, the Dashboard Designer is launched. It is beyond the scope of this document to cover the use of the Dashboard Designer in detail, however the following pages will provide an overview of creating an interactive dashboard.

On saving, the Dashboard Designer is launched:

The first step is to establish a data connection. Go to Data Source and click New Data Source, you will be prompted to select a Data Source Type. In this example we will choose Database and click Next:

The second step is to select where the data is and how to connect to that data. This will vary depending on your data source and security configuration. In this example we are accessing data from a SQLEXPRESS Instance and sourcing the data from a SQL Database called BCDEMO_ReplicatedData that was previously created from the BCDEMO dataset using the BusinessCraft Replicator.

You are now prompted to create your SQL Query or use an existing Stored Procedure. We will create a Query using the Query Builder by clicking on the Run Query Builder button.

The use of the Query Builder and the DevExpress Dashboard Designer is well beyond the scope of this document, however there are extensive DevExpress Dashboard Designer videos available on line. Here we have our completed our query and designed a number of charts in the Dashboard Designer that will appear on our BusinessCraft dashboard.

When we exit from the Dashboard Designer, we are prompted to save and are returned to the BusinessCraft Dashboard and our Dashboard item is populated:

It is at this point, we might choose to collapse the Side Panel and narrow our Group/Dashboard Panel width, so that we better view the Dashboards:

If we click on the Asset Acquisitions Dashboard we are presented with another set of dashboards:

Note that the Active Group and Active Dashboard is highlighted. As you can see, you can have many Groups and many Dashboards to provide important information at a glance. If your data source is updated periodically, then right clicking on the Context menu for a Dashboard provides the ability to update your dashboard with the latest data.

Document Dashboards

When creating a Document Dashboard item, on saving you are returned to the Dashboard Workspace with the Document displayed provide the file type for the file selected is supported.

Here is a.pdf document that has been linked in a Document Type Dashboard.

The controls available are file type dependent. In this case, there is a ribbon across the top providing a wide range of options, as well as a scroll bar on the right hand side to scroll through the document.

Depending on the Document Type you may also find a Context Menu available by right clicking:

Web Dashboards

When creating a Web Dashboard item, on saving you are returned to the Dashboard Workspace with the Web Site displayed provided the web link is valid. IF the Web Link is not valid you will receive error messages and no site will be displayed.

The web site will be active within the Dashboard workspace and you are able to navigate the web site in the normal manner following any links or using the controls at the top of the screen. For example, clicking on Menu Icon in line with the logo provides the following links that can be followed:

Dashboards - Advanced

Earlier in this document, mention was made of the Advanced option for Dashboard Items. When clicking on the Advanced option two fields are displayed – Data Source and Layout.

Data Source If you already have a good report that you wish to use as a Dashboard and you can generate the XML for the report, this field is used to specify the Data source to be used when the XML is executed for this particular Dashboard. This field is left empty for Interactive Dashboards that use the Dashboard Designer as the Data Source is specified within the XML.

Layout This is the XML for the Dashboard. You can copy and paste XML into this field if required. Where the Dashboard Designer has been used, the XML that appears here has been generated by the Dashboard Designer and you would not normally change this.

Sometimes you will have created a dashboard for a profile and you realise you want to make that Dashboard available to another profile. Create the Interactive Dashboard item in the normally manner, but do not proceed to use the Dashboard Designer. Go to the Dashboard Item you wish to make available and copy the XML form the Layout field and paste it into the Layout field for the new Dashboard Item and you will have the Dashboard created in much less time.


Revision 1

6th February 2017