WP Business Intelligence FAQ

In order to help you working with the WP BI services and solution, this is a (growing) collection of Frequently Asked Questions organised by category.

WPBI plugin

How do I install the WPBI plugin?

For WPBI Lite you have 2 choices: automatic and manual install, while for the Pro and Enterprise version you only have the manual install

AUTOMATIC INSTALL

From your WordPress instance dashboard go to Plugins->Add New. In the search box write WP Business Intelligence and click “Search”. In the displayed list look for “WP Business Intelligence” and click on “Install”. Confirm the popup message clicking on “OK” and after a successfull installation click on “Activate”. Now you should see a WP Business Intelligence menu in your admin bar on the left (see last screenshot).

WordPress plugin

MANUAL INSTALL

Download the WP Business Intelligence plugin (a .zip file) somewhere on your hard disk. For the Lite version this can be done from the WordPress plugins portal, while for the Pro and Enterprise version the file are available for download by registered users. Then from your WordPress instance dashboard go to Plugins->Add New, click on “Upload” and browse for the .zip file on your disk. After a successfull installation click on “Activate”. Now you should see a WP Business Intelligence menu in your admin bar on the left (see last screenshot).

WordPress plugin

 

WPBI WordPress plugin

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How to upgrade from Lite to Pro or Enterprise?

In order to upgrade please follow these steps:

1. Deactivate the WP Business Intelligence Lite plugin from the Plugins menu in your WordPress admin panel 2. Connect to your web server via FTP and browse to yourwebsiterootfolder/wp-content/plugins/ 3. Performa a backup by zipping your wpbusinessintelligencelite folder and storing it in a safe place 4. Delete the wpbusinessintelligencelite folder 5. Go back to the Plugins menu in your WordPress admin panel and click on “Add new“ 6. Select “Upload” and browse for the .zip file of the WPBI Pro or Enterprise version you have downloaded 7. Click on “Install Now” and watch the messages showing you the install progress. 8. If the install is successfull you can “Activate” the plugin and the new functionalities will be visible in the WP Business Intelligence menu

All the existing queries, charts and tables will be there and functional. Plus, you will be able to add new database connections via the “Connections” menu.

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Connections

How do I create a new database connection?

This feature applies only to the WPBI Pro or Enterprise plugin. The Lite version does not support several database connections and all the queries are run against the existing WordPress instance database.

In order to create new database connections, go to the administrator dashboard and click on WP Business Intelligence ->connections.

In the connection creation form provide the DB access credentials in terms of username, password, database name and host address (e.g. localhost, www.mywebsite.com or 111.111.111.111).

While WPBI Pro only supports MySQL connections, with WPBI Enterprise you can connect to other databases such as Oracle 11g, MSSQL 2008R2 and 2012, PostgreSQL.

connections1

 

Click on the “test” button in order to check if the credentials are OK. You will receive a confirmation/error message in a pop-up window.

Once verified that the credentials are OK, click on “Save” and the new connection will appear in the list of available DB connections.

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Queries

How can I pass variables to queries from the URL?

If you want to make your query parametric on dynamic variables you have to:

  1. Create a variable via the WPBI->variables menu. variablesvariables1
  2. Define a parametric query that uses the variable prefixed with the symbol ‘$’:

    select * from teams where goals_scored > $goals

  3. Define a chart related to the query created at point 2
  4. Insert the chart in a post or page using the WPBI shortcode
  5. If no query string parameter is used to access the page the default value will be passed to the query. If you want to change the default value access the page using a URL like this:

    http://www.mysite.com/mychart/?goals=50

 

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How to properly handle MySQL timestamps?

If you store dates as timestamps in your MySQL DB (as opposed to datetime), you need to use the UNIX_TIMESTAMP function in your query to convert them to a value that WPBI is able to handle.

For example this query retrieves dates and prices from the table “stocks”:

select price, UNIX_TIMESTAMP(date) as date from stocks order by date ASC

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How do I create a new query?

Once installed, the WP Business Intelligence plugin creates one database connection with the existing WordPress instance database by default.

If you need to grab your data from another database, first create a new connection.

Once you have at least one database connection available, you have to define a SQL query that retrieves the desired data from the database.

In order to create it click on WP Business Intelligence->Queries sub-menu and fill the form with the required information as shown below.

New DB query

 

Once you have filled the form with the required data you can test the query output by clicking on “Test

test new DB query

 

If the result is as expected you just click on “Save” and you will see your new query listed among the saved ones.

 

New DB query

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Charts

How to set the date format?

Some charts such as Line and Bar charts support the use of date/time values on the X axis. The format can be specified via the admin panel as shown in the picture below.

dateformat

The WPBI charts are built with D3JS and the date format syntax is described here

Examples of supported formats are

%d/%m%/%Y (23/11/2014)

%Y-%m%-%d (2014-11-23)

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How to properly handle MySQL timestamps?

If you store dates as timestamps in your MySQL DB (as opposed to datetime), you need to use the UNIX_TIMESTAMP function in your query to convert them to a value that WPBI is able to handle.

For example this query retrieves dates and prices from the table “stocks”:

select price, UNIX_TIMESTAMP(date) as date from stocks order by date ASC

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How do I create a new chart?

Once you have created at least one query, via the query management form, you will be able to associate one or more charts to the data retrieved.

To create a new chart go to WP Business Intelligence -> Charts. Select the query that retrieves the data to be displayed and click on “Set

New Chart

 

Via the interface you can then configure the chart name, title, dimensions, chart type and if the selected columns shall be used as labels or values. In case a label is a date you have to check the “Is Time” checkbox. You can also change the column names that are retrieved from the DB. Then click “Test” to check if the chart displays as expected.

 

New Chart

 

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How do I insert a chart in a page/post?

WPBI LITE (works for Pro and Enterprise as well)

With the free version of the WP Business Intelligence plugin in order to embed a chart you have to manually insert a shortcode in the page/post in the following form:WordPress Business Intelligence shortcode

The parameters have the following meaning

- id: this is the chart id you can see in the chart list page as shown in the screenshot below.

- type: this is always “chart”

- iframe: this can be either y or according to your choice of embedding the chart into an iframe or not.

You can put any text within the shortcode (for example you can put some text that helps remembering the chart meaning when editing the page).

charts

WPBI PRO and ENTERPRISE

Pro and Enterprise users can use the method described above or install the WP Business Intelligence Charts TinyMCE button in the same way as you would install any other WordPress plugin.

WP Business Intelligence TinyMCE button

Once installed, the button will appear in your CE editor menu bar as shown below

WP Business Intelligence TinyMCE button

When you click on the WPBI button a pop-up window appears enabling you to select the chart to be added to the page, if you want to embed it into an iframe and a preview of the chart.

WARNING! in case of charts with a lot of data the preview could hang your browser so you may need to click “OK” before the preview appears, otherwise the page could go into a timeout and block.

WP Business Intelligence button

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How do I create a scatter chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Scatter.

Scatter charts can be created with 2 types of datasets: 2 series of values, N x 3 data serier (where N=1,2,3,… i.e. the dataseries are a multiple of 3)

2 dataseries In this case the values in the first dataserie are considered X coordiantes while the values in the second dataserie are considered Y-values. The size of the dots is constant.

Nx3 dataseries In this case the dataseries are considered in their order by groups of 3 where the dataseries contain respectively X-values, y-values and the sizes of the dots.

If the selected columns are a number that is nor 2 neither a multiple of 3 no chart will be plotted.

The color of dots is always the one specified for the X-values series.

WordPress Scatter Chart

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How do I create a pie chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Pie.

In pie charts you have to select one column that contains the labels to be applied to the pie slices and one column that contains the corresponding values. All additional columns will be ignored.

WordPress Pie Chart

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How do I create a (Multi) Line chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Line.

Line charts can plot one or more lines according to the number of value columns selected in the chart creation panel.

If you select one column as being a label column it can be marked as “Time” column which contains values that will be converted in dates in the form of dd/MM/YYYY. Otherwise if no label column is selected or if it does not contain numeric values, the X-axis will be numbered from 0 to N-1 where N is the total number of elements in the value columns.

The X-axis of line charts cannot contain textual labels.

In multi line charts you can exclude some data series from the visualization by deselecting it in the legend embedded in the chart (top right).

WordPress Line Chart

multiline2

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How do I create cumulative line charts?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Cumulative Line.

Cumulative line charts are line charts where the relative deviation of each line with respect to an established starting point is plotted. The starting point is initially set to be the 0 of the X-axis, but can be changed dynamically by clicking on the X-axis. When the starting point is changed, the Y-values of all lines will be set to 0 to the new starting point and the relative deviation (before and after the starting point) will be adjusted accordingly.

WordPress Cumulative Line Chart

WordPress Cumulative Line Chart

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How to create a vertical bar chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Bar (Default).

Vertical bar charts require that values are provided for labels (optional) and actual values to be displayed.

The associated query shall then provide a result in the form of one or two columns where one is marked as “label” (if this is not selected the bars will be numbered from 1 to N) and the other as “value”.

The values are plotted as vertical bars. You can also have more than two columns in the result of your query, but only the first two selected will be taken into account.

Vertical Bar Chart

 

 

Then click on “Test” and see if the expected chart is shown below the configuration panel. In case no chart is displayed, this means that either no data are retrieved or the configuration of the selected fields is wrong.

 

Vertical Bar Chart

 

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How to create a horizontal bar chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Bar (Horizontal).

Horizontal bars must have at least one label and one value column. If you add additional columns, each label will have 2,3,4… values (bars) associated. In this case bars can be either grouped (side-by-side) or stacked. You can use the selector embedded in the chart to toggle the stacked/grouped view.

Horizontal Bar Chart

 

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How to create a mutiline focus chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Multi-Line Focus.

Each column selected as value will be plotted as a line, label columns will not be used in this type of chart.

multiline1

Then click on “Test” to verify that you get the expected result. You can select a segment of the X axis in the smaller lower chart to zoom in. Then click anywhere in the greyed area to reset the view to the original zoom.

Multiline focus chart

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How to create a stacked area chart?

In the Charts sub-menu select the desired query and click on the “Set” button.

In the chart creation form specify a chart name, title and size. Optionally you can specify the precision of the X and Y axis in terms of decimal digits to be shown.

Select the chart type as Stacked Area.

Each column selected as value will be plotted as a stacked line, one column can be selected as label for the X axis and ticking the “Is Time” checkbox will plot it as a time/date value.

The embedded selector can be used to switch among stacked, stream and expanded mode (see screenshots below)

Stacked Area Chart

Stacked Area Chart

Stacked Area Chart

Stacked Area Chart

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Can I copy a chart into a new one?

Yes! This is extremely simple, just go to the WBPI->Charts menu and roll the mouse over the chart that you want to copy. You will see that 4 link appear: Edit, Copy, Test, Drop.

If you click on “Copy” a new chart named “Copy of thesourcechartname” will appear in the charts list. You can then edit it by clicking on “Edit

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Dashboards

How do I create a dashboard?

A dashboards is a set of charts that show the same dataset using different visualizations. The main feature of dashboard is that any data manipulation on one chart (filtering, selection etc.) will alter all the other charts in the dashboard.

In order to create your first dashboard you need to have at least one query defined to retrieve your data. Once you have one you just need to click on the “Dashboards” submenu of the WPBI Admin menu and select the desired query.

At first the dashboard will only show the retrieved data in a table (you can configure the number of displayed lines set it to “0″ if you don’t want to display the table).

dashfaq2

Using the button bar below the configuration panel you can start adding charts to the dashboard. Each chart requires specific data types (numeric, date time, string) per each dimension so please have a careful look at the help displayed when you mouse hover on the corresponding button.

dashfaq1

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How do I add a dashboard to a page?

WPBI Enterprise ONLY

With WP Business Intelligence Enterprise you can embed a dashboard in any page by using a shortcode like this one:

dashshortcode

The parameters have the following meaning

- id: this is the dashboard ID you can see in the dashboards list of the WPBI-> Dashboards page (see picture below).

- type: this is always “dashboard”

- iframe: this can be either y or according to your choice of embedding the dashboard into an iframe or not.

You can put any text within the shortcode (for example you can put some text that helps remembering the dashboard meaning when editing the page).

dashboards

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Tables

How do I create a new table?

Once you have created at least one query, via the query management form, you will be able to associate one or more tables to the data retrieved.

To create a new table go to WP Business Intelligence -> tables.

 

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Custom BI

I Have a Specific Business Intelligence Need in Mind. Can you Help Me?

We have developed several custom solution for our clients. We believe that we can help you as well!

Please just contact us and we will be happy to get back in touch with you.

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What are custom charts?

In some cases the traditional line, bar or pie charts are way to simplistic for the level of insight you need to achieve. This is why we have developed an extremely large and diversified toolset of advanced data visualisation solutions.

You can have a look at some of our advanced chart in our showcase, but many more are available.

In this cases you would contact us to discuss your needs and the context in which the data visualisation has to be integrated, and our specialists will work with you to find the best solution.

The pricing is very flexible as you can choose between an hourly rate or a flat, all-inclusive rate.

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What are custom BI solutions?

In case custom charts are not enough for you, we can use even more powerful tools to best meet your needs by means of proprietary or third party (e.g. Microsoft Labs Pivot or Tableau Software Tools) technology.

If you want to know more please contact us to discuss your needs and the context in which the data visualisation has to be integrated and our specialists will work with you to find the best solution.

The pricing is very flexible as you can choose between an hourly rate or a flat, all-inclusive rate.

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