Dashboarding in the Pentaho BI Server

There are many dashboarding options in the Pentaho BI server some are better than others, some are more user friendly than others, but they all share a common purpose, allowing users to display multiple datasets on a screen and allow users to interact with them.

Before I get any further, I would like to point out, this is a marketing pitch explaining why you should consider ours, but I do like different sides of a story so we’ll take a look at what is available and if people disagree or would like to expand on what I write, feel free to write a note!

Pentaho Dashboard Designer

So lets start with the big guns, Pentaho have long had a dashboard designer. This designer is designed to be a simple to user designer for end users that allows them to build custom dashboards and link them together.

Within a dashboard you can add different report types and link their content and parameters so when people click on parts of the dashboard the view updates.

Ideal for the end user, the Pentaho Designer offers enough to keep the majority of end users happy, but it does have a number of limitations, specifically with layouting and parameter support that are disappointing.

Of course the other down side to the Pentaho Dashboard Designer is you need a full EE license to get it!

Saiku Dashboard Designer

Then we have Saiku Dashboard Designer. This is new in the Saiku Enterprise 3.2 release and is available to both standalone and BI server users.

Our aim with Saiku Dashboard Designer was to create an interface that is simple to use and understand, and allows users to create Saiku based dashboards from within the user interface without having to write any HTML and Javascript.

Unlike CDE or Ivy IS DD, we do charge a license fee for it, but this fee is charged on a per user basis and is very affordable for smaller businesses.

Creating parameterised dashboards in Saiku is as easy as creating your required reports and dropping them into your widgets, and clicking through the filter dialog to set the required filters.

Once you have created your dashboard, you can then view it like a standard Saiku report, or in a standalone window which is useful if you want your dashboard available on a TV or similar.

As you can see in the video above creating functional dashboards is quick and easy and you can customise the look and feel using the CSS packs.

Using Saiku Dashboard Designer and purchasing licenses helps support the project both from a community and enterprise point of view, without the support of generous users Saiku wouldn’t see anywhere near as much development as it currently enjoys.

Soon we will be adding improved theming support, even more flexible layouting, mapping, transitions and more, but this can’t be done without people supporting Saiku development. Those of you who we speak to who sit back and say “I’ll buy Saiku when it gets feature X”, how about saying, “if I buy some licenses, feature X will arrive sooner”, especially as we listen to our customers carefully when deciding what goes into each release. So if you are a Saiku user and you find this functionality useful, get in contact and help support development by buying some licenses!

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