The tool itself works very much like the existing BI authoring tools, especially BI Publisher, reducing the need for additional training or expertise. One or more mobile pages are designed, analytic components like tables and charts are dropped in and configured, and the result is made available to users using a bookmark-able URL link.
In fact we've heard from partners in our community that this tool is directly satisfying the need for extension of the existing mobile apps without high costs. It's being used by many Fusion Applications customers today.
Let's take a walk-through of creating a simple BI mobile app to illustrate the basic flow and options available. There is a video at the end of this article which gives more detail.
So firstly you access the BI Mobile Application Designer by going to the Fusion Applications Navigator, clicking Reports and Analytics, and then click the book icon to open the OBIEE interface in a new window. Once inside BI, click the Home link at the top and under the 'Create' task there is a 'Mobile Application' section. Click the link to start the Mobile App creation wizard.
Inside the wizard the first step is to decide upon a format to use. This is simply based on a phone-sized screen or a larger one for a tablet. This obviously governs the number and size of the components you'll be able to put on your pages.
In the next step you define a data source for your app's reports. The recommendation to begin with is to use the BI Subject Areas as these are already defined with all the fields/facts, dependency links, summations, and calculated fields for the most common situations. As your requirements evolve and your confidence grows you may consider leveraging a BI Publisher data model for query based reporting, or even upload files from excel for reporting against external data.
After saving the app definition, you enter the designer to start building pages and adding content. The tool defaults-in an Oracle branded cover page (that you can change or delete) and clicking the New Page icon offers a simple choice of additional pages with different layouts that you can add. The layouts are used to space the report components.
Next comes the heart of the work, adding components to the page(s). This is very similar to the process in the other BI authoring tools, simply drag-and-drop the component onto the page layout, and then drag in the fields from the data-source. To the far right is a Properties pane which allows you to set display and formatting values for each component. As you can see in the screenshot the range of components is broad, and has emerging support for custom plug-in's also.
When you're ready, use the Preview button to see your work as it would show on the mobile device. The finished app is accessed through a URL that is obtained by pressing the Share button in the preview window. This provides a URL, a QR code, and some iFrame HTML that can be supplied to users. The resulting app runs in a browser window with a rich native app style display, as shown below.
Note that use of the Publish button is not required and you may see configuration messages if you use it (explained in bug 21069841).
Because there is no native client app install, this solution is flexible enough to allow for ad-hoc improvement cycles based on real-time feedback from users. Someone needs a new page with new charts or data, create it and tell them to refresh.
For more details on the options available in this tool, take a look at the following video from our YouTube channel showing the creation of the above demo app.
For more detail on the BI Mobile App Designer tool itself take a look at the following resources: