Business Objects has been encouraging report writers/developers to stop using the “full-client” and start using WebI. There are quite a few obstacles to overcome to be able to make the switch to WebI (training, functionality adjustment, server capacity planning, etc.), but perhaps the most difficult adjustment is learning to development under a timed session.
For many reasons Business Objects administrators configure their systems to timeout a web session and an InfoView session after a certain period of inactivity. With finite resources, which we all definitely have, this is always a good idea. However, this limiting concept has two problems. The first issue is that “full-client”, ZABO, or Desktop Intelligence developers are used to working in a virtually limitless development environment: their own desktop PC. The second problem is that system administrators need to find just the right balance between flexible the valid and acceptable dormant session limits and the obvious session abandonment.
Business Objects Administrator Settings
When Business Objects system admins find that magical median, which will be different for every user community, they need to set it at a few different places:
- The web server “connection timeout” setting should be increased first. This one is usually stored in seconds, not minutes.
- The InfoView application within the web server should also have its “Session Timeout” value increased.
- The web.config file also needs an update to the “
” section, setting “ ” (using the number of seconds in place of the “#” character.
BusinessObjects Report Developer Adjustments
Report developers or writers, including ad-hoc report writers, will need to adjust their methods and habits. Initially, business objects report developers will assume that as long as they save before any periods of inactivity they are safe. However, they will face the harsh facts of this assumption if they are working on the query the whole time.
In BO XIR2 editing the query of a Web Intelligence report does not reset the session timeout timer. Therefore it is entirely possible for a developer to be actively developing a report’s query and find that their session is lost, along with all of their work. In fact, in the WebI java editor panel there are many actions that are registered only on the client and they are not communicated to the server until a logging action takes place such as saving a document. Among these actions you may find general formatting, query editing, and even adding fields to a report.
The safest bet is to require all of your report developers to develop a habit of saving their report every 5 minutes. This will certainly reset the timeout timer and it will ensure that no report development work is lost. From my own personal experience I would say that I have probably lost about 10 to 20 hours of work because of lost session.
Enhancement Request for Business Objects XI R2
To be honest, I would like to see BO add some functionality to the report editor and even InfoView that would help avoid this issue. They could implement an auto-save function. Or perhaps a pop-up box prompt which warns the report developer that they are about to lose their session. Either one would be a wonderful improvement and would probably save BO users thousands of lost hours of work. Until then save every 5 minutes!