SAC Analytics Designer is the development environment for creating dashboards within the SAP Analytics Cloud. The Designer enables the development of complex web applications (Analytic Applications) that can be tailored to individual requirements by means of programming. Thus, SAC offers experienced front-end developers an alternative to the story environment, which follows a more guided reporting approach.
As a self-service tool, SAC Story offers users numerous tools to easily create visualizations and add interactive elements to them with just a few clicks. The features available in SAC Story allow less tech-savvy users to create their own dashboards. Nevertheless, Stories are not suitable for more sophisticated use cases, as one is limited to the predefined functions. The development of analytic applications offers the creator more possibilities, but is associated with a higher effort.
In addition to the elements available in SAC Story, the Analytics Designer equips the dashboard creator with extra tools that allow him to create more complex dashboards. The developer can define specific behaviour, such as interactive features using program code, and thus implement custom logic. Dashboard viewers eventually run Analytics applications the same way they open stories, but they can take advantage of the additional features.
The development environment of the Analytics Designer is similar in parts to the Story environment. As in SAC Story, predefined charts and tables can be added to the canas via drag-and-drop and populated with the required data via the Builder panel. In addition to the objects known from Story, there are a number of elements that are only available as filter settings in Story, such as drop-down menus or radio buttons. These can be designed more freely in terms of their possible uses and interaction behaviour in the designer through scripting. In addition to the linked analysis function available in Story, charts and tables can also be linked using scripting. For this purpose, various functions can be defined for each object on the canvas via scripting.
SAC already has a wide range of components available out-of-the-box. If the specific scenario cannot be implemented using the predefined widgets, experienced web developers also have the option of developing their own components (custom widgets), which can be tailored precisely to individual requirements. After importing the custom widget into SAC, it is available in Analytics Designer and can be configured and formatted as intended by the developer in the Builder Panel. However, unlike predefined charts, Custom Widgets cannot have measures and dimensions added via the Builder Panel.
At this time, SAC does not support data binding for custom widgets, so they must be populated with data using a secondary table. Read more about this in our article about the NextLytics Smart Tile.
All in all, Analytics Designer has evolved remarkably since its release at the end of 2019. Especially more complex use cases like planning scenarios benefit from the ability to add custom logic to the dashboard. Still, we miss more features besides more flexible CSS options. Download our whitepaper "Dashboarding with SAP Analytics Cloud" to learn more about the Analytics Designer and to find out where we see the strengths and weaknesses of SAC.
Analytics Designer is a relatively new tool that is subject to permanent change. With each update, SAP provides many new and improved features. In our blog section you will receive regular updates about releases and further developments of the Analytics Designer.
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