Question: What is a Flash Variable connection and what is it used for?
Answer: Flash Variable connection is used to pass a variable from one dashboard or interface to the second dashboard.
Let us consider two dashboards here:
a) Parent dashboard – from which you will be passing a variable to the Child dashboard
b) Child dashboard – this will consume the variable passed from the Parent dashboard
“State name” is the variable that is passed from the Parent to the Child dashboard.
“California” is passed as a variable from the Parent dashboard to the Child, and the Child dashboard now shows data for California.
The data for Child dashboard is fed through Live Office and the WebI report that is feeding the dashboard has a prompt on State.
After selecting State, click on the button on the right, in the Parent dashboard, which will open the Child dashboard as shown below:
There are 2 aspects to this:
- Creating a Live Office connection – where the data is coming from a prompted WebI report; the WebI report in this demo has prompts for State as seen below.
- Setting up the Live Office piece.
Cell E3 is where you have prompts being provided for the WebI report, so if you change the states in this cell then the data (E16:H26) will change and will reflect the changes for the corresponding state that is in cell E3.
The purpose of this Flash variable is so that we can pass the value of state from the Parent dashboard, or any web interface, to another dashboard.
a snapshot of the Parent dashboard
On the left side, you have a selector which is dropping state value in the blank cell; below is a snapshot from Excel:
Cell E3 is where the labels are being dropped, note that I have a URL button in Xcelsius, and I am pointing the URL to Cell E20. Cell E20 is the concatenation of E19 & E3.
In this URL “completevm” is the name of your server and Child is the name of your main dashboard. In the Child dashboard, we will create a Flash Variable. Go to Data Connections.
Add a connection Flash Variable:
Provide a suitable name for the range. Notice that the Range is pointing to cell E3, which means that the name of the state will come from the Parent dashboard through the Flash Variable to this cell, this is also the cell which is acting as the prompt for the WebI report for Live Office (refer to Fig. 4).
For the Live Office connection, in the usage tab, I have made the trigger based on a change of cell E3, since Live Office should refresh based on the change in this cell.
Export this child dashboard in html format to the inetpub folder. Publish the dashboard in this path: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot.
Put the crossdomain.xml file in this folder.
In this folder, you should now see 2 files – Child.html and Child.swf. Right click on the Child.html file and change its extension from html to aspx. Your file will now be Child.aspx. Right click on it to edit this file, here is how the file looks before editing:
Notice that “Enter value(s) for state: = California appears in 2 places. In this case, California is the default value. This is our Flash Variable, and to make it dynamic, replace California with <%=Request.QueryString%>. Save the file after making the changes.
To see how the data is changing, drag a spreadsheet component onto the Xcelsius canvas, so you can see the changes. Whenever the State changes in the Parent dashboard, you can see the corresponding changes in the Child dashboard as well.