Working with Pentaho Mobile BI

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by Sergio Ramazzina | June 2014 | Cookbooks Open Source

In this article by Sergio Ramazzina, the author of Pentaho Business Analytics Cookbook, we will learn about accessing BA server from a mobile device, accessing files and folders, adding files to favorites, and changing the default startup screen.

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

We've always talked about using the Pentaho platform from a mobile device, trying to understand what there really is about it. On the Internet, there are some videos on it, but nothing can give you a clear idea of what it is and what can we do with it. We are proud to talk about it (maybe this is the first article that touches this topic), and we hope to clear any doubts regarding this platform.

Pentaho Mobile is a web app available (see the previous screenshot for the web application's main screen) only with the Enterprise Edition Version of Pentaho, to let iPad users (and only the users on that device) have a wonderful experience with Pentaho on their mobile device. At the time of writing this article, no other mobile platform or devices were considered. It lets us interact with the Pentaho system more or less in the same way as we do with Pentaho User Console. These examples show what we can do with Pentaho Mobile and what we cannot do in a clear and detailed way to help understand if accessing Pentaho from a mobile platform could be helpful for our users.

Only for this article, because we are on a mobile device, we will talk about touching (touch) instead of clicking as the action that activates something in the application. With this term, touch, we refer to the user's finger gesture instead of the normal mouse click. Different environments have different ways to interact!

The examples in this article are based on the assumption that you have iPad device available to try each example and that you are able to successfully log in to Pentaho Mobile.

In case we want to use demo users, remember that we can use the following logins to access our system:

  • admin/password: This is the new Pentaho demo administrator after the famous user, joe (the Pentaho recognized administrator until Pentaho 4.8), was dismissed in this new version.

  • suzy/password: This is another simple user we can use to access the system. Because suzy is not a member of the administrator role, it is useful to see the difference in case a user who is not an administrator tries to use the system.

Accessing BA server from a mobile device

Accessing Pentaho Mobile is as easy as accessing it from a Pentaho User Console. Just open our iPad browser (either Safari or Chrome) and point your browser to the Pentaho server. This example shows the basics of accessing and logging in to Pentaho from an iPad device through Pentaho Mobile. Remember that this example makes use of Pentaho Mobile, a web app that is available only for iPad and only in the EE Version of Pentaho.

Getting ready

To get ready for this example, the only thing we need is an iPad to connect to our Pentaho system.

How to do it…

The following steps detail how simply we access our Pentaho Mobile application:

  1. To connect to Pentaho Mobile, open either Safari or Chrome on the iPad device. As soon as the browser window is ready, type the complete URL to the Pentaho server in the following format:

    http://<ip_address>:<port>/pentaho

  2. Pentaho immediately detects that we are connecting from an iPad device, and the Pentaho Mobile login screen appears.

  3. Touch the Login button; the login dialog box appears as shown in the following screenshot. Enter your login credentials and press Login.

  4. The Login dialog box closes and we will be taken to Pentaho Mobile's home page.

How it works…

Pentaho Mobile has a slightly different look and feel with respect to Pentaho User Console in order to facilitate a mobile user's experience.

The following screenshot shows the landing page we get after we have successfully logged in to Pentaho Mobile. To the left-hand side of the Pentaho Mobile's home page, we have the following set of buttons:

  • Browse Files: This lets us start our navigation in the Pentaho Solution Repository.

  • Create New Content: This lets us start the Pentaho Analyzer to create a new Analyser report from the mobile device.

    Analyser report content is the only kind of content we can create from our iPad. Dashboards and interactive reports can be created only from the Pentaho User Console.

  • Startup Screen: This lets us change what we display as the default startup screen as soon as we log in to Pentaho Mobile.

  • Settings: This changes the configuration settings for our Pentaho Mobile application.

To the right-hand side of the button list (see the previous screenshot for details), we have three list boxes that display the Recent files we opened so far, the Favorites files, and the set of Open Files. The Open Files list box is more or less the same as the Opened perspective in Pentaho User Console—it collects all of the opened content in one single place for easy access.

Look at the upper-right corner of Pentaho Mobile's user interface (see the previous screenshot for details); we have two icons:

  • The folder icon gives access, from a different path, to the Pentaho Solution's folders

  • The gear icon opens the Settings dialog box

There's more…

Now, let's see which settings we can either set or change from the mobile user interface by going to the Settings options.

Changing the Settings configuration in Pentaho Mobile

We can easily access the Settings dialog box either by pressing the Settings button in the left-hand side area of the Pentaho Mobile's home page or by pressing the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Pentaho Mobile.

The Settings dialog box allows us to easily change the following configuration items (see the following screenshot for details):

  • We can set Startup Screen by changing the referenced landing home page for our Pentaho Mobile application.

  • In the Recent Files section of the Settings dialog, we can set the maximum number of items allowable in the Recent Files list. The default setting's value is 10, but we can alter this value by pressing the related icon buttons. Another button situated immediately below Recent Files, lets us easily empty the Recent Files list box.

  • The next two buttons let us clear the Favorites items' list (Clear All Favorites) and reset the settings to the default values (Reset All Settings).

  • Finally, we have a button to take us to a help guide and the application's Logout button.

See also

  • Look at the Accessing folders and files section to obtain details about how to browse the Pentaho Solution and start new content

  • In the Changing the default startup Screen section, we will find details about how to change the default Pentaho Mobile session startup screen

Accessing folders and files

From our Pentaho Mobile, we can easily access and navigate the Pentaho Solution folders. This example will show how we can navigate the Pentaho Solution folders and start our content on the mobile device. Remember that this example makes use of Pentaho Mobile, a web app available only for iPad and only in the EE Version of Pentaho.

How to do it…

The following steps detail how simply we can access the Pentaho Solution folders and start an existing BI content:

  1. From the Pentaho Mobile home page, either touch on the Browse Files button located on the left-hand side of page, or touch on the Folder icon button located in the upper-right side of the home page.

  2. The Browse Files dialog opens to the right of the Pentaho Mobile user interface as shown in the following screenshot. Navigate the solution to the folder containing the content we want to start.

  3. As soon as we get to the content to start, touch on the content's icon to launch it. The content will be displayed in the entire Pentaho Mobile user interface screen.

How it works…

Accessing Pentaho objects from the Pentaho Mobile application is really intuitive. After you have successfully logged in, open the Browse Files dialog and navigate freely through the Pentaho Solution folder's structure to get to your content. To start the content, just touch the content icon and the report or the dashboard will display on your iPad.

As we can see, at the time of writing this article, we cannot do any administrative tasks (share content, move content, schedule, and other tasks) from the Pentaho Mobile application. We can only navigate to the content, get it, and start it.

There's more…

As soon as we have some content items open, they are shown in the Opened list box. However, we would like to close them and free unused memory resources. Let's see how to do this.

Closing opened content

Pentaho Mobile continuously monitors the resource usage of our iPad and warns as soon as we have a lot of items open. As soon as we have a lot of opened items, a warning dialog box informs you about this, and it is a good opportunity to close some unused (and eventually forget the opened) content items.

To do this, go to Pentaho Mobile's home page, look for items to close, and touch on the rounded x icon to the right of the content item's label (see the following screenshot for details).

The content item will immediately close.

Adding files to favorites

As we saw in Pentaho User Console, even in the Pentaho Mobile application, we can set our favorites and start accessing content from the favorites list. This article will show how we can do this. Remember that this article makes use of Pentaho Mobile, a web app available only for iPad and only in the EE Version of Pentaho

How to do it…

The following steps detail how simply we can make a content item a favorite:

  1. From the Pentaho Mobile's home page, either touch on the Browse Files button located on the left-hand side of the page or touch on the Folder icon button located in the upper-right side of the home page.

  2. The Browse Files dialog opens to the right of the Pentaho Mobile user interface. Navigate the solution to the folder containing the content we want as a favorite.

  3. Touch on the star located to the right-hand side of the content item's label to mark that item a favorite.

How it works…

Usually, it would be useful to define some Pentaho objects as favorites. Favorite items help the user to quickly find the report or dashboard to start with. After we have successfully logged in, open the Browse Files dialog and navigate freely through the Pentaho Solution folders' structure to get to your content. To mark the content a favorite, just touch the star in the right-hand side of the content label and our report or dashboard will be marked as favorite (see the following screenshot for details).

The favorite status of an item is identified by the following elements:

  • The content item's star located to the right-hand side of the item's label becomes bold on the boundary to put in evidence that the content has been marked as a favorite

  • The content will appear in the Favorites list box on the Pentaho Mobile home page

There's more…

What should we do if we want to remove the favorite status from our content items? Let's see how we can do this.

Removing an item from the Favorites items list

To remove an item from the Favorites list, we can follow two different approaches:

  • Go to the Favorites items list on the Pentaho Mobile home page. Look for the item we want to un-favorite and touch on the star icon with the bold boundaries located on the right-hand side of the content item's label. The content item will be immediately removed from the Favorites items list.

  • Navigate to the Pentaho Solution's folders to the location containing the item we want to un-favorite and touch on the star icon with the bold boundaries located to the right-hand side of the content item's label. The content item will be immediately removed from the Favorites items list.

See also

  • Take a look at the Accessing folders and files section in case you want to review how to access content in the Pentaho Solution to mark it as a favorite.

Changing the default startup screen

Imagine that we want to change the default startup screen with a specific content item we have in our Pentaho Solution. After the new startup screen has been set, after the login, the user will be able to immediately access this new content item opened as the startup screen for Pentaho Mobile instead of the default home page. It would be fine to let our CEO immediately have in front of them the company's main KPI dashboard and immediately react to it. This article will show you how to make a specific content item the default startup screen in Pentaho Mobile. Remember that this example makes use of Pentaho Mobile, a web app available only for iPad and only in the EE Version of Pentaho.

How to do it…

The following steps detail how simply we can define a new startup screen with an existing BI content:

  1. From the Pentaho Mobile home page, touch on the Startup Screen button located on the left-hand side of the home page.

  2. The Browse Files dialog opens to the right of the Pentaho Mobile user interface. Navigate the solution to the folder containing the content we want to use.

  3. Touch the content item we want to show as the default startup screen. The Browse Files dialog box immediately closes and the Settings dialog box opens. A reference to the new, selected item is shown as the default Startup Screen content item (see the following screenshot for details):

  4. Touch outside the Settings dialog to close this dialog.

How it works…

Changing the startup screen could be interesting to give your user access to important content any time immediately after a successful login. From the Pentaho Mobile's home page, touch on the Startup Screen button located on the left-hand side of the home page and open the Browse Files dialog. Navigate the solution to the folder containing the content we want and then touch the content item to show as the default startup screen. The Browse Files dialog box immediately closes and the Settings dialog box opens. The new selected item is shown as the default startup screen content item, referenced by Name, and the complete path to the Pentaho Solution folder is seen. We can change the startup screen at any time, and we can also reset it to the default Pentaho Mobile home page by touching on the Pentaho Default Home radio button.

There's more…

We have always showed pictures from Pentaho Mobile in landscape orientation, but the user interface has a responsive behavior, showing things organized differently depending on the orientation of the device.

Pentaho Mobile's responsive behavior

We always show pictures of Pentaho Mobile with a landscape orientation, but Pentaho Mobile has a responsive layout and changes the display of some of the items in the page we are looking at depending on the device's orientation. The following screenshot gives an idea about displaying a dashboard on Pentaho Mobile in portrait orientation:

If we look at the home page with a device in the portrait mode, the Recent, Favorites, and Opened lists covers the available page's width, equally divided by each list; and all of the buttons we always saw on the left side of the user interface are now relocated to the bottom, below the three lists we talked about so far. This is another interesting layout; it is up to our taste or viewing needs to decide which of the two could be the best option for us.

Summary

In this article, we learned about accessing BA server from a mobile device, accessing files and folders, adding files to favorites, and changing the default startup screen from a mobile device.

Resources for Article:


Further resources on this subject:


Pentaho Business Analytics Cookbook Over 100 recipes to get you fully acquainted with the key features of Pentaho BA 5 and increase your productivity with this book and ebook
Published: June 2014
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About the Author :


Sergio Ramazzina

Sergio Ramazzina is an experienced software architect/trainer with more than 25 years of experience in the IT field. He has worked on a broad number of projects for banks and major Italian companies and has designed complex enterprise solutions in Java, JavaEE, and Ruby. He started using Pentaho products from the very beginning in late 2003. He gained thorough experience by deploying Pentaho as an open source BI solution, standalone or deeply integrated in other applications as the analytical engine of choice.

In 2009, due to his experience in the Java/JavaEE world and appreciation for the open source world and its main ideas, he began participating actively as a contributor to some of the Pentaho projects such as JPivot, Saiku, CDF, and CDA and rose to the Pentaho Active Contributor level. At that time, he started participating as a BI architect and Pentaho expert on a wide number of projects where open source BI and Pentaho were the main players. In late 2010, he founded Serasoft, a young Italian consulting firm that specializes in delivering high value open source Business Intelligence solutions. With the team in Serasoft, he shared his passion and experience in designing and delivering highly innovative enterprise solutions to help users make their work more effective. In July 2013, he published his first book, Instant Pentaho Data Integration Kitchen, Packt Publishing. He is also passionate about skiing, tennis, and photography, and he loves his young daughter, Camilla, very much.

You can follow him on Twitter at @sramazzina. You can also look at his profile on LinkedIn at http://it.linkedin.com/in/sramazzina/.

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