Recent Stories

Gadget Review: The Jiggler

So, theoretically speaking, let’s say you are doing some work for a client and they give you one of their laptops. Said client is super secure and employs all of the latest and greatest tricks and tips to minimize their risk. And one of those security techniques is to auto lock the laptop after a certain number of minutes of no input. And this setting can’t be changed (because that’s locked down too). And you are working between that laptop and another laptop (say, a nice MacBook Pro…). What to do? Well, hypothetically speaking, you could plugin a little device to pretend your mouse is jiggling. In fact, it might even be called the Jiggler. Yeah, this might do the trick… just saying.

OAUG Collaborate 2014 is a wrap

I went to my first OAUG Collaborate last week. To date I have almost entirely been a Kscope person. Kscope definitely has a much larger Hyperion presence/footprint, but there’s a little bit of Hyperion at Collaborate. Nicely enough, my favorite Hyperion consulting firm had a booth on the main floor.

I was at Collaborate in a mostly non-Hyperion capacity, however. I gave my presentation on Oracle Data Integrator that is a case study/success story of refactoring a lot of boilerplate, hard-to-maintain, and buggy code into clean ODI packages. I expanded the presentation from when I gave it at NWOUG last year. It now includes a screenshot of ODI Studio for each piece of ODI functionality I talk about, then towards the end I have broken down a SQL to SQL Oracle interface with journalization so we can see exactly how ODI accomplishes this particular job in such an awesome way. It’s a bit of a deep dive but when the audience is full of SQL experts I think it makes sense. The presentation clocks in at almost exactly an hour now so I think I’m going to find some ways to trim it and polish it a little bit.

With Collaborate under my belt, this now makes the list of unique conferences I have presented at three items long: Kscope, NWOUG, and Collaborate. Not too shabby.

Thanks to all those that attended – there were many more people that I possibly would have thought (although I suspect few if any of you read this blog… :)

A quick trick to avoid hard-coding folder names in batch files

I’m still surprised (although I guess I shouldn’t be) how often I come across batch automation files that have a first line of setting the current folder – using a hard-coded folder name. For example, if the automation is located in D:\Essbase\Automation, then the first line of the script looks like this:

cd /d D:\Essbase\Automation

99% of the time, this line is the same as the folder containing the batch file. Instead of hard-coding this, you can actually just use a handy shortcut on Windows:

cd /d %~dp0

The %~dp0 token/variable gets replaced at runtime with the current folder containing the executing file. The /d parameter simply tells the cd command to change drives, if necessary (so that the change directory command works if it’s going from the C drive to the D drive, for example).

Using the above technique, you can write batch files that are more standard looking, portable, and more flexible. It’s a good thing (said in the voice of Martha Stewart).

Winter Update

It has been a busy fourth quarter, to put it mildly. As luck would have it, I have found myself on this Saturday with a few minutes on my hands and thought I would do a quick post.

I’m doing a lot of work in ODI, Essbase automation, and some fun things involving the intersection of mobile, the cloud, and Essbase. So it’s exciting times as always. Earlier in November I did a presentation in Portland at NWOUG (Northwest Oracle User Group) on an ODI success story. I’ll also be giving that presentation in Las Vegas next year for OAUG, and just to get even more mileage out of it I will be presenting it at next year’s Kscope, by ODTUG. Man, I am getting some serious mileage out of this thing. I keep refining it and making it a little bit better each time. The way it’s currently structured, it’s more of a business-friendly approach why ODI is so awesome, but I’d like to make it more technical, so by the time Kscope rolls around I will have hopefully morphed it into a nice blend of high-level and low-level information.

Speaking of Kscope, another abstract of mine was accepted. It’s ostensibly my Practical Essbase Web Services presentation from last year, but refined a bit. The number one feedback I got from last year’s presentation was that a live demo would have been good. Well, you asked and you shall receive. Next year’s presentation will have a live demo (probably on a local VM but I may have a few other tricks up my sleeve).

That’s kind of what I’ve been up to. Oh, and along the way in my spare time I accidentally created an ad hoc app on the iPad for Essbase. So, there’s that too.

Two of my favorite things together at last: Essbase and reddit

Just quick post today to turn your attention to the new Essbase reddit. For those of you unfamiliar, reddit is a community site for posting and discussing cool, interesting, or whatever links. I’ve had this up for a little while now and have been slowly putting in some links as time allows. A couple of you have stumbled on to it already.

I thought this might be a cool way for us Hyperion bloggers/followers/enthusiasts out new content, discuss Essbase/EPM news, and post relevant links. This is my first time moderating/managing a reddit community. If you want to help out and/or be a moderator, please message me and we can figure it out.

The idea here is not to try and suck away traffic from the technical discussion forums such as OTN and Network 54, but rather to to complement them and our blogs by having a general area for discussion along the lines of “hey, check this out!” and “I wonder what other people have posted?”

For the least part, I’ll try and post something interesting on a regular (if not incredibly frequent basis by reddit standards) to keep things fresh and exciting!

Please enjoy and if you have a cool link to share, send it to /r/essbase!

Friday fun day, fish names, and 100th post!

Happy Friday! Most of you Hyperion folks out there have probably called it a week already, so you can just catch the fun from your RSS readers or when you come up for air next week. It has been a busy week on my end, what with doing a fairly deep cubeSavvy review, building elegant/robust/awesome solutions for clients, polishing up open source Essbase power tools, and more (even a few things I can’t mention… yet).

A while back I mused on some Essbase or Hyperion related names for my new betta fish. I never circled back to this but I have to go with a late submission from “Keith” – so without further ado, Mr. Fish will be henceforth known as DBAG. *hehe*

Last, but not least, this is my one-hundredth blog post here. Wow! I’d probably write anyway even if no one read this blog because I find it oddly therapeutic (not to mention serving as a repository for the obscure bugs I track down and fix), but to those of you that regularly comment, email me, offer to help out on testing some tool, and say Hello at conferences, thank you very much for your time and thoughtfulness.

Have a great weekend.

cubeSavvy Review

One of my personal blogging goals this year is to take a tour of apps, code, libraries, and other third-party tools in the Hyperion ecosystem. I have some cool stuff on deck to be reviewed, starting with today.

Today I’d like to take a look at Harry GatescubeSavvy. cubeSavvy ostensibly purports to be “Planning without Planning”. Or, put another way, it’s a web-based interface for Essbase cubes, without all of the additional infrastructure and setup that Planning entails. This is an interesting approach. Let’s think about it for a moment.

As many of you know, by design, Hyperion Planning sits on top of Essbase and is synchronized down to Essbase. This design has some drawbacks and some advantages that are possibly worth musing on in a future post. Planning also brings a lot of extra functionality to the table that manifests itself in the user interface and/or is pushed down in some way to the underlying cube. cubeSavvy comes to the table and more or less says, “Hey, let’s do away with all of that and get a little more purist about this: let’s have grids (similar in concept to forms in Planning) defined that work with our vanilla Essbase functionality – and let’s just manage the cube instead of pushing and synchronizing things down to Essbase.”

So in theory, if you have an Essbase server up and running and then stick a cubeSavvy server in front of it, define some grids and provision some users, you’ve got a web-based budgeting and planning system on top of your cubes. Interesting.

In a first for me and this blog, this article will be split up in to several pages, covering Installation & Setup, Configuring Grids, User Experience, and Closing Thoughts. Please enjoy this whirlwind tour of cubeSavvy!

essbasepy Python MaxL module for Hyperion moved!

As some of you may know, I am now the active maintainer for the essbasepy Python module for MaxL. This project is an analog to the MaxL Perl module that was originally created by David Welden. I have put a fair bit of time into getting up and running with it, updating it, and testing it against EPM 11.1.2.3. I have now moved the code from its previous home on Google Code to an open repo on my GitHub account.

Other than moving to GitHub, I have included a few updates for the newest version of Hyperion, updated the documentation, and consolidated the distribution down to one master set of files. The future plans for this project are to keep validating it against Hyperion updates, polish it a bit, and enhance the documentation even more. At this point I don’t have any plans to significantly change the functionality.

I know there’s a handful of you out there that are hardcore users of this so if you have any issues or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Inputting to level 1 and a crazy app idea

Happy Friday! These weeks are flying by like a blur, it seems.

As you may know from my previous posts, I’m constantly thinking up little Hyperion-related app ideas. And since it’s Friday, I’m feeling a little whimsical and have YET ANOTHER app idea. How about an app that detects when you are designing a cube that takes input at level 1 (or level 2 for good measure), then you run the app and it automatically emails you too tell you that you’re an idiot. BONUS POINTS for turning off Aggregate Missing Values!

Genius. I like this.

Possible idea for a tool: cube delta

I have a question for my audience about a tool idea. Would it be useful to be able to tell what the data differences between two cubes with the same (or highly similar) dimensional structure is? For example, let’s say you had Sample/Basic on one server, and Sample/Basic on another server. Would it be useful to check for differences in the data loaded to them, if any?

I could see this as possible being helpful in checking for differences between cubes in development/qa/production, between archive cubes and ‘real’ cubes, and possibly during testing when you spin off a side cube to check some calcs.

Just a thought. Let me know! After HUMA is kicked over the wall I’ll be looking for my next side project (as time permits) and I am trying to focus on things that will increase the productivity of Hyperion developers.