19 August 2008

Installing Business Objects Web Services

We recently installed the Business Objects Enterprise at this client to get web access to crystal reports.  One of the excellent features (of many) of this software is the ability to incorporate the web application into other applications. 

Reports are exposed in two ways:

  • The Enterprise Server can launch reports via URL, which is an easy way to launch reports directly from inside any application.  The disadvantage is that the URLs are static and have to be coded every time the BOE repository is updated.  For example, if a new report is added for an application, the new URL has to be added to the list and possibly coded back into the application.  The advantage to URL access is that it's simple to implement and works with no further server modification.
  • Business Objects publish an extensive web services API.  However, the instructions for installation that ship with BOE can be pretty confusing and daunting.  In the end, I found the instructions incomplete and difficult to follow.  I think installation complexity is the biggest implementation impediment.  However, if one can get through the installation, the improved functionality is well worth the pain.

The installation steps I followed can be found by clicking here.  (The directions here are for XI R2/Windows Server 2003.)

Start by installing Business Objects and making sure Tomcat is installed.  In our case, Tomcat was installed by default.

The BOE web services installation instructions are found by opening the Dev Library and navigating to Web Services SDK > Web Services Server Components > Administrator Guide > Installing Business Objects web services.  There are several steps worth reviewing in this document, but I have found a simpler way as follows.

Then do the following: 

  1. Ensure that the Java SDK is installed.  On the server, open the command prompt and type java -fullversion.  If Java is installed, the version is returned.  If not, follow the instructions for downloading the Java SDK.
  2. Locate the dswsbobje.war file.  This is the file that creates the web services.  The file automatically installed in following directory on Windows servers:   [install_dir]\BusinessObjects Enterprise 11.5\Web Services\en\
  3. Deploy the .war file.  Copy the .war file into the [install]\Tomcat\webapps directory.  If a directory with the same name of the .war file already exists (in this case dswsbobje), rename it to 'zdswsbobje' as the installation will not overwrite the existing files.  Restart the Tomcat service, either through the Tomcat management console or the Business Objects Central Configuration Manager (CMC).  Tomcat will create a directory in the webapps folder with the same name as the .war file.
  4. Confirm the installation.  Before testing the service, run access the happydsws.jsp page to make sure all the services installed correctly.   The page will display a list of found components and any missing components.  The page can be found at http://[server name]:[port]/dswsbobje/happydsws.jsp.
  5. Access the services.  If the services are working properly, they can be accessed at http://[server name]:[port]/services.