Charts and Dashboards – The Epic Custody Battle

Did you know that charts and dashboards can be exported from one installation of iDashboards (called the source installation) and imported into another installation of iDashboards (called the target installation)? Charts and dashboards are exported to an iDashboards archive file (named with the .idbar extension). This file is then used to import the charts and dashboards. The following diagram illustrates this process.

NOTE: Charts and dashboards that are stored in a “Personal category” cannot be exported because the “Personal category” represents a personal workspace rather than an enterprise-wide workspace.

The importing and exporting of charts and dashboards is managed through the ‘Import/Export’ tab of the “SYSTEM” page of the Administrator Application.

You have the option to select one of the following from the ‘Operation’ dropdown box:

• Manage Global IDs
• Export Charts and Dashboards
• Import Charts and Dashboards

Manage Global IDs (GIDs)

Each chart and dashboard that will be exported and/or imported must be assigned a Global ID (GID). GIDs are enterprise-wide identifiers that are used to identify charts and dashboards across multiple installations of iDashboards. GIDs are not the same as local IDs that are automatically assigned to charts and dashboards. To fully support the import/export functionality, GIDs must also be assigned to categories, data sources and stored procedures that are used by the dashboards and charts you wish to import/export.

By default, GIDs are not assigned automatically. A user with the Admin role must do this via the iDashboards Administrator Application. However, if you choose, you can enable iDashboards to automatically assign GIDs. To enable this functionality, check the ‘Generate Global IDs’ option on the ‘Manage Global Identifiers’ page of the Administrator Application. If iDashboards is configured to generate GIDs automatically, every new data source, stored procedure, picklist, category, dashboard and chart created will simply be assigned the next numeric GID available.

When you select ‘Manage Global IDs’ from the ‘Operation’ dropdown box, you will be presented with a list of iDashboards entity types that can be assigned GIDs. GIDs are managed by selecting the ‘Manage Global IDs’ button next to each entity type.

For example, if you select ‘Manage Global IDs’ for ‘Charts’, you will see a list similar to the following.

Charts are grouped by the category they exist in. If a chart already has a GID, it will be displayed in the ‘Current Global ID’ column. To change or add a GID, enter the unique number in the ‘New Global ID’ column and press the ‘Update’ button. GIDs must be assigned/updated individually. A confirmation message will appear to indicate the GID was updated successfully.

The process for assigning GIDs to data sources, stored procedures, picklists, categories and dashboards is similar to the process for charts.

NOTE: GIDs are assumed to be unique only within an entity type. For example, the same GID cannot be assigned to two different charts but a chart and a dashboard can have the same GID. If there is a GID conflict within an entity type, an error message will appear indicating that GIDs must be unique.

Export Charts and Dashboards

Charts and dashboards (and picklists) may be exported separately and have to meet certain criteria for exportation.

For a chart to be eligible for export, the following conditions must be met:

1. The chart must have been saved under iDashboards version 6 or later.
2. The chart must be assigned a GID.
3. The chart’s data source must be assigned a GID.
4. The category the chart is saved in must be assigned a GID.
5. If the data source for the chart is a stored procedure, the stored procedure must be assigned a GID.
6. If the chart has a drilldown and that drilldown is to be maintained, the chart or dashboard the drilldown points to must adhere to the chart and dashboard export criteria outlined in this section.

For a dashboard to be eligible for export, the following conditions must be met:

1. The dashboard must have been saved under iDashboards 6 or later.
2. The dashboard must be assigned a GID.
3. The category the dashboard is saved in must be assigned a GID.
4. All charts within the dashboard must adhere to the chart export requirements.

When you select ‘Export Charts and Dashboards’ from the ‘Operation’ dropdown box, you will be presented with a list of categories. You should select the categories that contain the dashboards and charts you would like to export. You can then select the dashboards and charts.

Once you’ve selected the desired dashboards and charts and clicked the ‘Export’ button, an iDashboards archive file is created with the exported charts and dashboards. By default, this archive is named idbarchive_yyyymmddhhmmssSSS.idbar, but you have the option to change the name when the file is saved. The name of the archive file may also be changed after it has been created and saved.

Import Charts and Dashboards

Dashboards and charts have to meet certain criteria for importation. For a chart to be eligible for import, the following conditions must be met:

1. There must be a data source in the target installation with the same GID as the one associated with the chart that will be imported.
2. If the chart uses a stored procedure to retrieve its data, the associated data source in the target installation must have a stored procedure with a GID that matches the one associated with the chart. It must also be identical to the stored procedure from the source installation in terms of procedure name, output columns, arguments, etc.

For a dashboard to be eligible for import, the following conditions must be met:

1. The dashboard must have a GID.
2. The category the dashboard is saved in must have a GID.
3. All charts within the dashboard must adhere to the chart import requirements.

When you select ‘Import Charts and Dashboards’ from the ‘Operation’ dropdown box, you will see a ‘Browse’ button that will allow you to browse out to the .idbar file you would like to import. This should be done on the target installation you would like to import into.

The import functionality will create all of the entities from the archive file (charts, dashboards, categories and stored procedures) and assign them a GID that matches the GIDs that were assigned to the entities when they were exported from the source installation. The import function will not create any data sources nor assign any data source GIDs because any data source an imported chart will use should already be created in the target installation (per the chart import criteria explained above).

A list of the charts and dashboards in the archive to be imported will be displayed.

Charts and dashboards will be validated before import. The status of the validation will be displayed on the staging window. If a chart or dashboard is valid for import then the status on the staging window will show ‘OK’ in the status column. If there are any problems importing a chart or dashboard, the staging window will show “Warning” in the status column. Hover over the “Warning” text to see a description of the warning. After hitting the ‘Import’ button a second time, a confirmation message is displayed notifying you of the import of the charts and/or dashboards.

A chart is imported with a given GID. If a chart exists with that GID, then the existing chart within the target installation is replaced with the imported chart. The GID of the chart is retained. If the chart does not exist, then a new chart with that GID is created in the target installation.

Similarly, when a dashboard is imported with a given GID, if a dashboard exists with that GID, the existing dashboard within the target installation will be replaced with the imported dashboard. The GID of the dashboard is retained. If the dashboard does not exist, then a new dashboard with that GID is created in the target installation.

If the name of an entity already exists on the target installation, the imported entity will have its name appended with ‘[x]’ where x is the next sequential number.

NOTE: For an even more detailed description of the import/export process, see the iDashboards Administrator Manual

Matt Crawford– Technical Consultant, iDashboards

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