Our First Look at Web Intelligence 4.2 SP3

Web Intelligence 4.2 keeps getting better and better with SP3, now officially released as of August 15, 2016. SP3 is an ambitious release packed with fixes, new features, and long-awaited enhancements.

SAP describes SP3 as follows:

“This release of Web Intelligence has been dedicated to feature completeness. Web Intelligence 4.2 SP3 extends the possibilities of features introduced in Web Intelligence 4.2 by removing numerous limitations. The HTML client has also been greatly improved to be on par with the Java applet and now offers increased functionalities.”

New features, fewer limitations, and a more capable HTML client? Yes, please.

What's New in WebI 4.2 SP3?
Source: Web Intelligence User's Guide (SAP)


Web Intelligence offers two online clients: Java and HTML. Traditionally, the Java client has been the most fully functional of the two clients. However, users will sometimes prefer the HTML client for its performance, and to avoid the complications of browser and Java compatibility. SAP is now pushing for “client parity.”

Beginning in SP3, the HTML client now supports all of the following features: Conditional formatting, custom number and date formatting, ranking, subqueries, and change source.

References are cell shortcuts, similar to the concept of direct cell references in Excel. To create a reference, you right-click the cell you want, choose Assign Reference, and then give your new Reference object a name. All cell reference objects will appear in their own folder in the Available Objects panel.

References can be used just like any other dimension or variable. The value of the reference changes in real time to reflect the current value of the associated cell. If the referenced cell is deleted or filtered out, the reference object will return a #REF_DATANOTFOUND error.

I’ve always felt that Input Controls were one of the best and more useful features of Web Intelligence. One of the only drawbacks has been that each input control was a distinct and standalone element, which meant it was impossible to create sets of “cascading” input controls. Well, that limitation is now history with the introduction of input control “groups.”

Report developers can now bundle two or more Input Controls into a “group.” The order of input controls in the group create a funnel. A change to one member of the group will automatically force all other succeeding members to be recalculated so that they display only the relevant values.

The screenshots below provide an example. Notice how the City values automatically change when only California is selected.

(NOTE: Input control groups do not require hierarchies at the universe level.)

Two key changes were made to the Comment feature in Web Intelligence.

1) Users can now edit and delete their previous comments.

2) Report developers can now embed comment threads for specific report elements, like charts, tables, text boxes, and even individual table cells. A small icon is displayed in the upper-right corner of report elements with enabled comments.


The Available Objects panel now includes an option to arrange objects by data source. The default is Alphabetical, which is consistent with prior versions.


Report developers can now map information based not only on name, but also by latitude/longitude. You can also use merged dimensions in a geo map, which was not permitted prior to SP3.


The “merge” functionality in SP3 is expanded and more flexible. You can now merge two or more queries using variables. That’s right – merged variables! That means you can create variables to derive the key values used to merge queries.


The 4.2 SP3 release allows you to create and schedule Web Intelligence reports using any of the following delivery rules: (1) Always deliver, (2) Never deliver, (3) If scheduled content contains data, (4) If scheduled content has been fully refreshed.

MemberAtDepth() FUNCTION

MemberAtDepth() is a new function that can be used when reporting from hierarchies. This function allows you to pluck a value from a specified level from a given hierarchy object. The function will return null if the given object is not a hierarchy or if there is no value at the selected level.


Users are now treated to a brand new “Export” menu when clicking the export button on the top toolbar (see ‘arrow’ button). The menu includes a new option where the user can specify a DPI value (dots per inch) for PDF and Excel files. Higher DPI values mean better image quality, but larger file size. (Typical values range from a black-and-white print standard of 72 DPI to many more depending on the paper, printer, and document.)

For more information on these and other new features, click here to view the latest Web Intelligence User’s Guide.


  1. Abner

    Great summary! LOVE the feature on input control groups!!!

  2. EdMan

    thanks for the complete details