Creating new Documents with Pentaho Design Studio

To create and deploy new documents in Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite you can use the web interface directly. The web interface is usefull when you have simple reports or simple analysis or to let the final user create them. Some external tools, like Pentaho Report Designer or Mondrian Schema Workbench can publish docuements directly into Pentaho's web platform to achive more control on document definition.

When you need more flexibility or the document to be published is quite complex Pentaho provides a powerfull format, called Action Sequence, and a complete tool, Pentaho Design Studio, to define them. With this tutorial you'll be able to creare new analytical documents quickly using Action Sequence format and register them in the plaform.

Create new document in Pentaho


Setup Pentaho Design Studio

Pentaho BI Suite can run analytical documents (reports, queries, charts, etc) using a flexible and powerfull format called Action Sequences. For example a report is described as an Action Sequence and then deployed in Pentaho.

To start creating new documents in Pentaho first download Pentaho Design Studio from the url

Next extract the archive and run the executable eclipse.exe as in the following picture.

Pentaho design studio run IDE


Pentaho Design Studio is an Eclipse based IDE and at startup ask you for folder (workspace) where to save project's data. Choose a workspace folder, the default one is fine, and then press Ok.

Once Pentaho Design Studio is started press File -> New -> Project... to define a new analytical document.


New Action Sequences project


As project type choose General -> Project.

New Action Sequences project type


In the Next dialog is VERY important to set as Location the pentaho-solutions folder of you Pentaho BI Suite installation.

New Action Sequences project setup


Create a new Action Sequence

By now you have a new Pentaho's project pointing to your documents repository. If everything is ok you should see a group of folders, as in the next picture. By fact you are now working on Pentaho's repository and you have access to all its folders, even the ones hidden in the portal.

To create a new document simply right click on a folder and choose New -> Other... You must select a folder visibile in Pentaho web portal (http://localhost:8080/pentaho), in this case /steel-wheels/reports.

Create Pentaho Action Sequence


In the dialog choose Pentaho -> New Action Sequence Wizard

Create Pentaho Action Sequence wizard


Click Next and give a File name for this document, as example helloworld.xaction.

Create Pentaho Action Sequence definition


A new form appears with the document's data. The General tab contains any information used to identify the document and display it in the web portal. For example this document has "Hello World Action Sequence" as Title. Make sure the Visibile checkbox is selected, otherwise the document won't be visible to portal users.

Pentaho define action sequence


In the Define Process tab you can define an entire process to be executed for this document. Action Sequence is a quite powerfull format, by now you can keep it simple and create a new Hello World document. To do so click on the plus icon of Process Actions and choose Utilities -> Hello World.

Pentaho define action sequence process


As Message we set a simple "Hello World!!"

Pentaho action sequence define process operation

Once you have filled in the blanks press File -> Save to register the document.


Test and deploy a new Action Sequence

Now we have created a new Action Sequence it's time to test it. Open Action Sequence Test tab and set in  "Pentaho Server URL" the web portal address, as example http://localhost:8080/pentaho. Make sure the Pentaho BI Suite is running, otherwise the test won't work.

Now click on "Test Server", complete the log on process as an administrative user and then click on "Generate URL". Finally to run the document you've created simply click on "Run" button near the generated url.

Pentaho test action sequence


The first time you create a new document you can have an error as output (SolutionEngine.ERROR_0007) like in the next picture.

Pentaho test action sequence error


This is because the new action sequence is saved in Pentaho's repository, but Pentaho BI portal loads all action sequences at startup only. Simply Pentaho cannot find the new document in it's cache, and you must refresh the cache to make it avaiable.

To make new documents avaiable in Pentaho's cache point the browser to Pentaho BI portal's home, log in and click on Tools -> Refresh -> Repository Cache.

Pentaho BI refresh cache


You should see the new document appearing in Pentaho's portal navigator.

Pentaho BI refresh repository cache


If you go back to Pentaho Design Studio and press "Run" the new action sequence should work.

Pentaho BI run new document


Creating a new folder in Pentaho BI Suite

The creation of a new folder is quite simple in Pentaho. The easiest way is to log in Pentaho BI web portal as an administrative user and right click on a root folder.

Pentaho BI creare folder


For  example, if you create a new folder called "Test" you can see it on Pentaho web portal and, after a refresh, in Pentaho Design Studio.

Pentaho BI creare folder design studio


Pentaho BI design studio new folder


Notice each repository folder has a special index.xml file, which tells Pentaho the folder should be visibile to portal's users.