Business Intelligence

Visualising data in third party Business Intelligence tools

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.

Initial Setup

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

A developer with MANAGE privileges on a view’s parent table can set this up.

  1. 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.
  2. Click the charting icon to view the chart setup interface
  3. 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 available in Superset.

Changes

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 any such changes will disable the connection. 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 make any changes to the view, you must afterwards re-connect BI by repeating step 3 above. As long as you haven’t deleted or renamed fields used in charts within Superset, those charts will continue to work.

Creating dashboards in Superset

Now that you’ve set up agileBase to make data available to Superset, you can create charts and dashboards there.

  1. Create a ‘dataset’ in Superset, corresponding to the view you set up above
    1. From the Data menu at the top, select datasets, then click the + dataset button
    2. Under Schema, select your company name
    3. Under Table, select the name of the view that you set up above
    4. Click ADD at the bottom of the dialog (you may need to scroll down)
  2. Create the chart
    1. Click Charts at the top, then + Chart
    2. Select the dataset created above
    3. Choose a chart type, then Create New Chart
    4. Drag metrics (e.g. ‘COUNT’) and fields from the left into the appropriate areas in the middle column
    5. Click Save and Superset will prompt you to add the chart to a new or existing dashboard
  3. Access the dashboard from the Dashboards menu at the top

For more details on creating charts and editing dashboards, including video walkthroughs, see here

The first view sent to Superset is free, further views can be purchased in bundles.


Last modified November 6, 2021: Apache Superset instructions (15e1354)