Before setting up a BI connection, please be aware of the data privacy and security considerations.
At agileBase we host an instance of Apache Superset which can be used by customers to create reporting dashboards.
However the setup processes below also applies to third party tools such as Power BI. In fact, any tool which utilises ODBC can be used, such as Excel for example.
The first step is to contact us to request we set up an Apache Superset account (this will also allow connections from other BI tools). We will then set up as many Superset users you require - there is no ongoing cost for these login accounts.
Note that Superset logins are separate from agileBase ones - the usernames and passwords can be different.
Sending data to Superset or Power BI
A developer with MANAGE privileges on a view’s parent table can set this up.
- In agileBase, open the view you wish to report on. Ensure it has all the necessary fields and calculations in it which you want to report on. If not, add them before continuing.
- Click the charting icon to view the chart setup interface
- At the bottom of the screen, tick ‘send data to a shareable dashboard’. As this makes data available outside of agileBase, you will be asked to confirm you will treat the data in a way which maintains privacy and security before enabling the feature.
Within a few seconds, the data will then be visible to your external application.
The first view set up in this way is free, further views can be purchased in bundles.
It’s easy for developers to make changes to views in agileBase, for example adding / removing fields, changing calculations or just renaming a view.
However, when the BI connection is active, bear in mind that certain changes could break it. The reason is that once data is set up to transfer to a separate system, the other system typically expects it to remain in the same format.
That means that if you rename the view or move it, or rename/delete fields and calculations, you may afterwards need to check your charts in Superset / Power BI, to see if they need re-creating.
Once the view has been set up, external applications will see a new read-only snapshot of data once a day. If your data needs to be updated more often, you can add a workflow button to accomplish that:
- Ensure that the view A is used for reporting only, in particular it doesn’t have any workflow set up.
- From another view B, edit the view and go to the ‘workflow - edit records’ panel
- Under ‘chain workflow’, select the reporting view A
Then, when a user opens view B, they will see a button at the top of the screen with the button text set to the name of view A. Pressing it will refresh the view A data sent to external applications.
Creating dashboards in Superset
This section applies to Superset only, for Power BI or other instructions please contact us.
Now that you’ve set up agileBase to make data available to Superset, you can create charts and dashboards there.
- Create a ‘dataset’ in Superset, corresponding to the view you set up above
- From the Data menu at the top, select datasets, then click the + dataset button
- Under Schema, select your company name
- Under Table, select the name of the view that you set up above
- Click ADD at the bottom of the dialog (you may need to scroll down)
- Create the chart
- Click Charts at the top, then + Chart
- Select the dataset created above
- Choose a chart type, then Create New Chart
- Drag metrics (e.g. ‘COUNT’) and fields from the left into the appropriate areas in the middle column
- Click Save and Superset will prompt you to add the chart to a new or existing dashboard
- Access the dashboard from the Dashboards menu at the top
For more details on creating charts and editing dashboards, including video walkthroughs, see here
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