This getting started tutorial is aimed at beginner AppBoard administrators. It may also be useful for general users that would like to understand the basics of how AppBoard works to deliver dashboards and interaction.
The overall goal of the tutorial is to build an interactive sales dashboard and use this to present an overview of major features within AppBoard. The tutorial is limited in scope and should be possible to complete within 30 minutes, however the underlying data contains more information than utilized and the Next Steps section at the end covers some suggestions on further exploration.
To complete this tutorial the following is required:
In part one of this tutorial the focus will be on bringing up some basic content. This will consist of:
The first step is to log into AppBoard as an administrator. If using a clean install on your local system then the default access and credentials are as follows:
The first step in creating a dashboard is defining a data source that will be used by the Widgets. The Data Sources Builder Mode displays the Data Sources panel, where you can add and edit data sources.
Data Sources connect AppBoard to external sources of data such as files, databases, web services, 3rd party connectors, and custom commands. The basic purposes of a Data Source are to define a connection to the outside data, define the sets of data returned by the source (Data Source entities), define associations between different Data Source entities, and other properties such as caching.
In this section you will create a data source for a directory containing comma-separated-values (CSV) files. One file contains US state information, and the other includes a breakdown by counties for each state.
Perform these steps:
Let’s also create a summary for each sales region. Since this information is not in the CSV files we can use the Sub-Query adapter to perform this function:
That’s it. We now have a derived data source with a count of states and a total sales figure grouped by region.
By default a data collection is automatically created for each data source entity using the same name. Select the Data Collections builder mode to view the data collections and the following should be visible:
You can preview the data returned for each of these data collections by clicking the blue icon in the preview column.
On our dashboard we want a Top 5 chart showing the states with the strongest sales. Create a custom data collection to order and limit the result set to support this visualization:
Stacks represent a collection of dashboards and always have at least one top-level dashboard. Stacks also form the top level navigation in AppBoard with stacks presented as tabs along the top of the interface. Provisioning is used to determine what stacks a user may see or access. The administrator has access to all stacks and can control which stacks are visible in the Builder.
Boards are dashboards in AppBoard which consist of a number of visualizations (widgets) and how those widgets are laid out.
Create a new stack for the State Sales dashboard:
Managing stacks and boards in general can also be performed from the Stacks & Boards builder mode.
AppBoard Widgets are visualization elements placed and arranged on boards. AppBoard includes a large variety of widgets and includes an API for creating custom widgets. Typically you are working with widgets in the Builder mode directly on boards. However widgets can also be managed from the Widgets builder mode.
Let’s create several widgets to form our initial sales dashboard:
Perform these steps to create the map. Please note that Internet access is required for the Tile Map, if this is not possible then you can substitute in the Vector Map instead:
Repeat a similar process for the bar chart:
Repeat the same process again for the pie chart:
With three widgets on the dashboard we can re-arrange the widgets and adjust the dividers to improve the look. Try the following and come up with a layout that suits your preference:
The result of part one is we now have a top level state sales summary dashboard with three widgets. It should look something like this, of course the layout, colours, etc… may differ for you:
In part two the focus is on adding interaction and building out additional context sensitive content:
In AppBoard both Click and Hover actions are configured per widget and form the basis for interaction with the dashboards. Actions can be coupled together to perform complex behaviour such as drilling down to a child board and filtering the information to suit the item selected.
As a first step the map would be much more useful if the user could hover over a point to see additional information about that state. Perform the following steps to set this up:
The next thing we want to do is to be able to drill-down on a state to get more information about how that state is performing.
There is one more action we need to configure. The getting_started.state_counties data collection contains over 3000 records covering all states. When we drill down to the state summary dashboard we only want to show records for the selected state. This can be achieved by performing either a Server Side Filter (SSF) or Client Side Filter (CSF) action. Server side filters are executed on the server and only the results sent to the client. A client side filter is executed on the client and so the client has to receive the full data collection in order to do this. In this case it doesn’t matter too much so let’s configure a SSF:
We now want to add a table showing counties on our State Summary drill-down. Based on the actions above this table should only show a filtered list of counties that match the state clicked on from the top level dashboard.
The top-level dashboard should look the same except for the mouse-hover data tips on the map. It is also now possible to click on a state in the map and drill-down to a state summary showing a table with sales by county. The table should look something like this, with Washington selected. This table includes an extra status shape renderer showing whether the county is on target with sales or not (as suggested in the Next Steps section).
This tutorial is limited on purpose to just cover the basics, however AppBoard provides a lot more capability and we haven’t quite exploited the underlying data as much as we could have. We certainly recommend playing around with the components already added as part of the tutorial and here are some additional suggestions:
Also this tutorial has focused on data and visualizations, the next areas to look at are: