Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pentaho CDE and Bootstrap: The essential getting started info

Quite inspired by the recent interesting webinar by Harris Ward (@hazamonzo) of Ivy Information Systems I prepared this short write-down of the core principles of using the Bootstrap framework with Pentaho CDE (which in essence summarize the main points of the webinar). I take that you are familiar with CDE, so I will not go into details on how to install it or on how to create a dashboard. This article only focuses on using Bootstrap with CDE.

Why Bootstrap

For a long time Blueprint had been the default framework for CDE. While it worked nicely on the desktop, the content didn’t quite adjusted as nicely to tablets and mobile phones.
As of recently CDE supports the Bootstrap framework. The good news is that you can apply Bootstrap to the selector components like buttons, drop down menus etc as well, hence pathing the way to a uniform look of your dashboard!

How to use it with CDE

Configure your CDE Dashboard to use Bootstrap

The very first thing to do is define the settings for your dashboard. In CDE click on the Settings button in the main menu:
In the settings screen provide a Name and then set the Dashboard Type to Bootstrap:
Click Save.

Generate your standard layout

Next generate your Layout Structure as usual, just keep the following in mind:
  • With Bootstrap, the total span size of the page is 12 columns (as opposed to Blueprint, which has 24 columns). This means that if your page has only one column, the span size should be 12. If your page has 2 columns, the span size should be 6 for each of them and so on (calc: 12 / no of cde columns).
  • Within each column nest an HTML element: This one will hold the Bootstrap HTML snippet. In the most simple form it will look like this:
    Make sure to provide a name for the HTML object in the
    Properties panel (otherwise, the styles do not show up properly in the preview - at least in my case this happened).

Get code from Bootstrap website

The Bootstrap website offers a wealth of components. These ones can be found by click in the main menu on either CSS or Components. Use the side panel menu to get detailed info about each component:


One component which you will most likely use is called Penals [reference]. Again, there is a wide choice of panels available, let’s take a look at the Penal with header:
Copy the last main div section - this is the one we want to base our layout on.

Amend Bootstrap HTML

You can use for example JSFiddle to simply amend the Bootstrap HTML snippet and get a preview of it.


  1. Open up JSFiddle in a web browser tab.
  2. Copy the Bootstrap HTML snippet into the HTML panel
  3. Copy this reference into the CSS panel: @import url('http://getbootstrap.com/dist/css/bootstrap.css')
  4. Adjust the HTML. Do at least the following:
    1. Provide a proper title.
    2. Add an id attribute to the content div. This way we can later on reference it when we want to assign a chart component.
    3. Delete the default content text.
  5. Then click the Run button to get a preview:
We are happy with the preview, so let’s copy the HTML code.

Add amended Bootstrap HTML to CDE Layout Structure

When we initially created the Layout Structure in CDE, we nested an HTML element inside each column - just copy bootstrap HTML there. Choose the HTML element in the Layout Structure panel, then click on the HTML ellipsis [...] button in the Properties panel:
Finally paste the Bootstrap HTML snippet:
Click OK.


Save the dashboard now and do a preview:
Our Bootstrap panel is nicely rendered within the CDE dashboard now. It’s time to add some content!

Create your data sources

Business as usual - nothing special to consider. Just create your datasources as you would do it for any other dashboard.

Create your components

Overall business as usual, just keep in mind that you do not want to reference the HTML object the old way (so based on the elements you defined in the Layout Structure), but instead make use of the div ids defined within the Bootstrap HTML snippets (that you saved within the HTML element in the Layout Structure).


So for this article I quickly created a CCCBarChart component. The important bit about it is that I specified chart1 for the HTMLObject property:
Note that this ties back to the div id attribute we defined in our Bootstrap HTML snippet [stored in the Layout Structure HTML element]:


So let’s do another preview:
So that is it: It turns out using Bootstrap with Pentaho CDE is actually fairly easy. This example was certainly extremely simple and only meant to give you a brief introduction.

Last Example

Let’s add a button:
  1. Adjust the Layout Structure of your dashboard to make room for a button.
  2. Visit the Bootstrap website to find out all about their fancy buttons: reference.
  3. Let’s copy the HTML snippet for the standard button. Jump over to JSFiddle and adjust it until you are happy with the preview. Remember to add a dedicated id attribute.
  4. Copy the HTML snippet again and paste it into the HTML properties field of your HTML element in the Layout Structure panel.
  5. Save and Preview your dashboard.
    Again, a very easy example. I guess now you are certainly interested in creating some more challenging dashboards with Pentaho CDE and Bootstrap!


And finally, a big thanks to Harris for providing this excellent webinar!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Having problems starting Pentaho Kettle Spoon on Linux? Here are some solutions ...

End of last year I decided it was time to ditch Ubuntu for a pure Gnome experience. I didn't quite fancy installing Gnome 3.10 on top of Ubuntu due to some user having problems with this. So Fedora looked like a good candidate. And having worked with it for nearly two months now, I must admit that I quite like the new clean Gnome interface (and Fedora). Gnome gets criticized everywhere, a lot of people don't have anything good to say about, but honestly to me it seems like the Gnome development is going into the right direction. But this of course a matter of personal taste. Enough on this, let's talk about Pentaho Kettle:

Quite often, Pentaho Kettle Spoon - the GUI for designing transformations and jobs - starts up just fine on Linux OSes. Sometimes though, there might be some dependencies to install or special flags to set.

When starting Pentaho Kettle on Fedora I came across this nasty error message:
spoon.sh: line 166: 10487 Aborted (core dumped) "$_PENTAHO_JAVA"

On other systems I also got this error message:
The error was 'BadDrawable (invalid Pixmap or Window parameter)'.
 (Details: serial 13561 error_code 9 request_code 62 minor_code 0)
 (Note to programmers: normally, X errors are reported asynchronously;
  that is, you will receive the error a while after causing it.
  To debug your program, run it with the --sync command line
  option to change this behavior. You can then get a meaningful
  backtrace from your debugger if you break on the gdk_x_error() function.)

To fix this problems, just add this to the spoon.sh OPS section:
-Dorg.eclipse.swt.browser.DefaultType=mozilla



Another error message you might come across is the following:
org.eclipse.swt.SWTError: XPCOM error -2147467259

Matt Casters recommends installing libwebkitgtk instead of xulrunner.

 sudo yum install webkitgtk.x86_64
One dependency that you might have to install is xulrunner:
$ yum list xulrunner*
$ yum install xulrunner.x86_64


find the directory xulrunner is installed in:
$ which xulrunner
/usr/bin/xulrunner


To fix this open spoon.sh and add at the end of the OPS section:
-Dorg.eclipse.swt.browser.XULRunnerPath=/usr/lib64/xulrunner/

This advice was originally posted here and here and in this blog post. Also here: Source1 and Source2.


Did you get any other error messages when starting Spoon and found a solution for it? Please comment below and I'll add it to this blog post so that we have a good resource for trouble shooting.

Matt Casters:

FYI, the package to install  on Ubuntu is usually  libwebkitgtk-1.0-0 (as documented).  I'm sure it's the same on Fedora.  I would avoid all that xulrunner stuff if possible.
For those of us on Kubuntu there are bugs in theme oxygen-gtk so best switch to another theme like Ambiance of turn off a bunch of fancy-shmancy animations with oxygen-settings.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sparkl: Create your own app for the Pentaho BI/BA Server

Installing Sparkl

This is just a very brief walkthrough, Francesco Corti has already published an excellent step by step tutorial here, so please have a look there for detailed instructions):
From Home > Marketplace install Sparkl (and any dependencies like CDE etc).
Once installed, restart the biserver.

Initial App Setup

Let’s create our first app: Tools > Sparkl. Click on the BIG plus icon, then on CREATE:
Assign a unique name and click Create Plugin:
Then you are informed that:
So do as you are told ;) and restart the server.

If on next login your Pentaho User Console looks fairly blank and you find this error message in the log:

21:23:55,460 ERROR [GenericServlet] GenericServlet.ERROR_0004 - Resource /data-access/resources/gwt/D9EA02CD60EF4F8D3A2BD2613D9BB9A8.cache.html not found in plugin data-access

… then clear the browser cache and all problems should be solved.

So once you have your normal PUC back, go to Tools > Sparkl. You should see your app now:
Click the Edit icon. Time to provide some app details:
Next click on Elements, where we can define the endpoints. Endpoints can either be CDE dashboards [frontend] or Kettle transformations [backend].  

Click on Add new Element. Add 1) a dashboard and 2) a Kettle transformation:
All your app files are stored under:
pentaho-solutions/system/myPasswordChanger

The Pentaho Kettle job can be found in:
pentaho-solutions/system/myPasswordChanger/endpoints/kettle/mypasswordchangerendpoint.ktr

I am sure you can’t wait to have a look at this Kettle transformation, which has just been created for you … well, let’s go ahead and fire up Spoon and open up this file:

Still excited? Well, you didn’t expect everything to be done for you … did you? That’s why your special insider knowledge is still required here! But more about this later on.

Creating the dashboard


As you are probably aware of by now, Sparkl makes use of two very popular tools: CDE and Kettle. So if you have ever used CDE to create dashboards before, editing the Sparkl dashboard should be quite familiar to you!
Ok, let’s edit the dashboard:

We will use a very simple approach here (the aim here is not to create a fancy looking dashboard, but just some very simple prototype):

  1. Create a row called passwordTextRow.
  2. With passwordTextRow still marked, click on the Add HTML icon.
  3. Mark the HTML row and add this HTML snippet on the right hand side:
    <p>Specify your new password:</p>
  4. Then add a new row called passwordInputRow. For this row, add two columns, one called passwordInputColumn and the other one passwordSubmitColumn. The layout should now look like this:
  5. Save the dashboard and switch to the Component Panel.
  6. Create a parameter: Generic > Simple Parameter. Call it passwordParameter.
  7. Add a button: Others > Button Component. Call it passwordSubmitButton. For Label specify Submit and for HtmlObject passwordSubmitColumn (just press CTRL+Space to retrieve the values of the available HtmlObjects):
  8. Add an Input field: Select > TextInput Component. Name it passwordTextInput, assign the Parameter passwordParameter and the HtmlObject passwordInputColumn to it:
  9. Now switch to the Datasource Panel. Remove the SQL dummy query.
  10. From the left hand side open MYPASSWORDCHANGE Endpoints and choose mypasswordchangerendpoint Endpoint. For this datasource specify the name myPasswordChangerDS in the Properties section:
  11. Switch back to the Components Panel. In the Components area select the Button Component. Click on Advanced Properties.
    • For Action Parameters specify passwordParameter as [["passwordParameter"],["passwordParameter"]] and
    • For Action Datasource specify myPasswordChangerDS. At the time of this writing there were considerations about moving the datasource property to main properties area (instead of advanced properties), so this might have changed by the time you read this.
    • For Listeners specify passwordParameter

  1. Save the dashboard.
  2. Let’s see how our Sparkl plugin looks so far. Choose Tools > MyPasswordChanger:
    And you should see something like this:

Preparing the Kettle transformation

You can find a detailed documentation of the REST endpoints here (download the doc file). Harris also wrote an excellent blog post about it.

Extract the documentation zip file (which you just download) and then open the index file in your favourite web browser.

Click on UserRoleDaoResource from the REST Resources list, then choose /userroledao/updatePassword:
Let’s inspect the request body element a bit closer, so click on the user link:
So this tells us that we can either send an XML or JSON document containing the userName and password to this REST endpoint.


It’s a good idea to first experiment a bit with the REST services by using the popular command line tool curl:

Let’s start first with a simple get request. Note the use of --user to specify the authentication details:

$ curl --user admin:password -i -H "Accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" http://localhost:8080/pentaho/api/userroledao/users

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=7A850427D26D6F6AABA2B5BC3C7F40D7; Path=/pentaho
Content-Type: application/json
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 20:56:49 GMT

{"users":["suzy","pat","tiffany","admin"]}



Let’s get some role info (here we supply one parameter):

$ curl --user admin:password -i -H "Accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json"  http://localhost:8080/pentaho/api/userroledao/userRoles?userName=admin

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=92D98FAF9C5D23CF0ACADAB8655E287D; Path=/pentaho
Content-Type: application/json
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 20:55:29 GMT

{"roles":["Administrator"]}



So now let’s try the more complicated task of updating the password: We have send along some XML document. This can be accomplished by using PUT with the -d option (d for data):

$ curl -i --user admin:password -H "Content-Type: application/xml" -H "Accept: application/xml" -X PUT -d '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><user><userName>admin</userName><password>test123</password></user>' http://localhost:8080/pentaho/api/userroledao/updatePassword

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=3AC126B2276665B4F0FE655EC29A4964; Path=/pentaho
Content-Length: 0
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 21:15:08 GMT

Alternatively you could create an XML file:
$ vi update.xml

Copy and paste:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<user>
 <userName>admin</userName>
 <password>password</password>
</user>

Then issue this command:
$ curl -i --user admin:password -H "Content-Type: application/xml" -H "Accept: application/xml" -X PUT -d @update.xml http://localhost:8080/pentaho/api/userroledao/updatePassword

If you try to log on to PUC now, you will have to use your new password!

Enough playing around with curl! We have established that updatePassword REST API is working as expected.

The next step is to prepare a basic working Kettle transformation with the same functionality:
  1. Create a new biserver-user with admin rights which we can use just for authentication purposes.
  2. Fire up Spoon and open mypasswordchangerendpoint.ktr
  3. Amend the transformation to look like the one shown in the screenshot below:
  4. Double click on Generate Rows. Set the Limit to 1. Create three fields:
Field
Type
Value
url
String
http://localhost:8080/pentaho/api/userroledao/updatePassword
user
String
your username
password
String
your password
  1. Double click on Add XML. Into the Output Value field type userXML and into the Root XML element field user:
  2. Next click on the Fields tab. Configure as shown below:
  3. Double click on the REST client step. Configure as outlined below:
    • General:
      • URL name field: url
      • HTTP method: PUT
      • Body field: userXML
      • Application Type: XML
    • Authentication
      • HTTP Login: admin-rest
      • HTTP password: test123 (note: use the details of the specially created rest admin user here!)
  4. Finally configure the logging step to output the essential infos.
  5. Run the transformation.



When finished, restart the server (which is the official way to deploy your transformation).

Go to Tools > MyPasswordChanger. Click the submit button.

In a terminal window watch the Tomcat log:
[dsteiner@localhost biserver-ce]$ tail -f tomcat/logs/catalina.out
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 - =======================
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 - === KTR REST RESULT ===
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 - =======================
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 -
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 - result = Password was changed successfully!
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 -
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - Write to log.0 - ====================
2014/01/29 19:03:49 - OUTPUT.0 - Finished processing (I=0, O=0, R=1, W=1, U=0, E=0)

Watch out for the REST call result message. Here we see that the password was changed successfully. You don’t believe it? Log out of PUC and back in (with the new password).

Ok, now we know that this is working. Let’s make everything a bit more dynamic:
  • username: CPK server side parameter (currently logged in user)
  • password: supplied by CDE dashboard
  • URL: IP and port
  • authentication username
  • authentication password

We will not test the transformation any more in Spoon.

How to pass a standard parameter from a dashboard to a Kettle job or transformation

As you remember, we defined earlier on the passwordParameter parameter in CDE. To pass the value of this parameter to a Kettle job or transformation, simply define the parameter in your job/transformation as you would normally do:

  1. Open mypasswordchangerendpoint.ktr in Spoon.
  2. Right click on the canvas and choose Transformation settings.
  3. Specify the a new parameter called passwordParameter. As you might have guessed, this parameter name has to be exactly the same as defined in the dashboard:
  4. Change the transformation to look like this one:
    Disable the hob from the original
    Generate Rows step to Add XML. Add a new Generate Rows and a Get Variables step. For now the new Generate Rows should only supply the url and user values: Right now we just want to test if the password parameter is passed on properly. Open up the Get Variables step and create a new fields called password which references the variable ${passwordParameter}:
    This setup enables us to use the
    passwordParameter originating from the dashboard in our Kettle transformation stream.
  5. Just for testing purposes write the password field to the log (so that we see that the value is actually passed on). Change the Write to Log step config respectively.

Server-side Parameters

Kettle Properties

As you might well know, Kettle transformations/jobs running on the server have access to the kettle.properties file as well as long as everything is properly configured. If you have everything installed on one machine and are using the default settings, there is actually no additional setup on the biserver side required. The biserver will automatically access ~/.kettle/kettle.properties.

So for the REST authentication (server IP and port) I just defined a parameter in the kettle.properties file like this:
VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_URL=http://localhost:8080/pentaho
VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_USER=admin-rest
VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_PW=test123

Sparkl server side parameters

Sparkl currently provides these server-side parameters:
Parameter
Description
cpk.plugin.id
the plugin ID
cpk.solution.system.dir
the pentaho solution system dir (full path)
cpk.plugin.dir
the plugin dir (full path)
cpk.plugin.system.dir
the plugin system dir (full path, this isn't used very often though and it might become deprecated)
cpk.webapp.dir
webapp dir (full path)
cpk.session.username
session username
cpk.session.roles
session roles (string with session authorities separated by commas)

Marco Vala explains:

Additionally, if you add a parameter named
cpk.session.SOMETHING
CPK will try to find a session variable named SOMETHING and "injects" its current value
(this is one way only, just for reading session variables)

There is also a handy parameter named
cpk.executeAtStart
If its default value is set to "true", CPK will execute that Kettle when plugin starts

Amending our transformation


We have to implement following changes:
  1. Remove any fields from the new Generate rows step. It should be blank:
  2. Open up the Set Variables set and configure it as shown in the screenshot … add the username variable referencing cpk.session.username:
  3. Adjust the Add XML step:
  4. Change the config of the REST Client step to not read any more the URL from the field but instead key it into the URL config field like this:
    ${VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_URL}/api/userroledao/updatePassword
  5. Also, in the Authentication reference the parameters we just set up: ${VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_USER} and ${VAR_PENTAHO_BISERVER_PW} respectively.
  6. Save and then restart the server.
  7. Then test again the dashboard and watch the Tomcat log.

Oh well, oh well, all is not perfect right now … you wonder why we actually have to authenticate - this file is already on the server - right? Rest assured, Pedro’s team is already working on this feature!

So with the solution created so far every user should be able to change their password. The core functionality is provided, we will not cover the rest in this tutorial.

Closing words

This is certainly an ugly looking app, the password should not be shown, there has to be a confirmation page etc … basically a long list of tasks still to do. The point here was not to create a fully functional, nice looking Pentaho Sparkl app, but to build a bare bones prototype: Demonstrating how the two main components - Kettle and CTools - can work together; enabling us to create a wide variety of apps for the Pentaho BI-Server ecosystem. Go and explore this exciting new world now and create some fancy Sparkl apps!