The ability to integrate and embed data within other applications is an iHub strength. This ability is particularly interesting to independent software vendors (ISVs) who want to embed analytics in their applications, and it’s thoroughly demonstrated in the Integration Framework example application. Once you launch iHub, Trial Edition and open the Examples, click on the Integration Framework image and you’ll see the Mashboard screen below. (More about that name in a bit.)
What it is: The first screen you get when entering the Integration Framework example application is a modern tile-style page – one with a few surprises up its sleeve.
What to look for: Some attractive visuals are immediately apparent, such as the subtle animation when you mouse over the four boxes at the top of the page. But to ISVs, more important is the way the page is constructed: the charts, maps and tables are created with iHub, but the boxes that contain them are created by the application itself. (That’s where the name Mashboard comes from – the page is a cross between a mashup and a dashboard.) All of the visualizations on the page are interactive, and the minus/plus icons in the upper right of each tile in the dashboard let you minimize or maximize the individual visualization independently of the others.
To explore the other Integration examples, pull down the menu icon at the top left corner of the page next to the words Sample Application. You’ll see five choices: Reporting, Analytics, Web Tools, Charts, and Embedded Code. Select Reporting.
What it is: Three different reports – Sales Order, Worldwide Sales, and On-Demand – that show iHub’s ability to generate and integrate reports.
What to look for: Each of these reports illustrates different strengths and integration capabilities, so let’s look at them individually.
Sales Order Report (shown above) combines infographic-style presentation of key metrics, a comparison bar chart, and two interactive tables of data. The lower right table uses an inline bar chart for each record (in the Actual vs Target column) as well as a red/yellow/green scorecard presentation for numbers. Click on any salesperson’s name and you’re taken to a dashboard for that individual.
The first page of this report presents aggregated data, and subsequent pages give detailed reports. (Page navigation is found in the upper-right corner of the screen; it’s cropped out of the screenshot above.) Go to one of the subsequent pages, Enable Interactivity and you’ll see that these aren’t ordinary static reports. You can easily sort data in the tables, hide and rearrange columns, and otherwise fine-tune the reports’ appearance and performance to suit your needs.
Worldwide Sales (shown above) is a report organized as a grouped table. Each page of the 20-page report presents data for a different geographic area; note how the infographic header changes as you click through the pages. The Order Status column uses a scorecard-style color code, so the type color changes depending on the displayed text.
What it is: A dashboard with four tabs – Inventory & Sales, Cross Tab, Performance, and Other gadgets.
What to look for: Each tab shows a different way that data can be integrated and displayed in a dashboard. We’ll consider each option individually.
Inventory & Sales dashboard showcases iHub’s treeview control. Explore the selectors along the left side of the dashboard; you can make selections, click Apply, and watch the graphs change. You can select any combination of whole countries and cities within countries; when you do, notice that the additional selectors at the top of the page (Cancelled, Disputed, etc.) also change according to the available data. Hovering over elements in the charts causes detailed figures to pop up, as seen above.
Cross Tab demonstrates that you can build a dashboard that contains a cross tab. (It sounds simple – and with iHub it is – but not all dashboard-creation products have this capability.) Selectors on the left side of the dashboard enable you to filter the data that is presented in the cross tab
Performance shows a variety of simple meters and thermometers, based on data picked using the selectors at the left of the dashboard. Don’t like the appearance of a meter? Click on the meter, click the triangle on its upper right corner, and select Change Type to see what options are available. (Developers control what other chart types are made available to users when the dashboard is created.)
Other Gadgets shows how you can embed a live web page – in this case, our own developer site — into an iHub report. This capability exists because many business dashboards also must provide portals to external data and content.
What it is: A direct link to iHub tools for building things: Dashboard, Interactive Crosstab, Report Studio, and My Documents.
What to look for: The four options here allow you to experiment with the visual developer tools that come with iHub. There’s too much here to highlight in a blog post, so keep the iHub documentation and tutorials handy as you explore these examples on your own.
But one thing you can easily do, even without reading the manual, is to compare the user interfaces of the Dashboard builder and Report Studio. You can also check out the many types of data visualizations that come with iHub, shown above. (We’ll talk more about your data visualization options in the next section.)
What it is: A collection of data visualization examples, both native to iHub and built using third-party technology.
What to look for: These visualizations are grouped into four broad categories: Lines – Columns/Bars, Pies – Donuts, Other Visualizations, and 3rd-Party Visualizations.
On the Lines – Columns/Bars page, note that the three visualizations across the top show the same data in different formats. This illustrates the fact that choosing the correct visualization for a given situation is not always easy. Same goes for the Pies – Donuts page; the same data is presented in a number of different ways.
What it is: Three examples of how you can add code to iHub content to increase the content’s functionality and improve its appearance.
What to look for: The first Embedded Code item, JQuery, shows how a few lines of JQuery code can be used to enhance standard iHub tables. The left table has extra highlighting and the right table demonstrates one-click expand and collapse capability. In both of these cases, the report tables were developed using iHub’s standard table tools, and JQuery code was applied after the fact to provide a different interactive experience.
The second Embedded Code option, GoogleMap, shows how a familiar map format can be embedded and integrated into an iHub application to provide location intelligence. The quickest way to see how data from iHub affects the map is to right-click the State column, choose Filter, and then set the Condition as Equal To CA. The map will zoom in on California and only show entries for that state.
The final Embedded Code item, Custom ToolBar, changes the Sales Order Report that we explored earlier by replacing the standard menu pull-down and the page navigation selectors with versions that better match the report’s overall style. Again, this is accomplished with a few lines of code, and shows how seamlessly iHub visualization and reporting can integrate and blend with your own content.