The virtual data model contains a very large number of views that provide the data sources to the SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics apps. It is possible to explore these views using the developer tool, Eclipse IDE. However, for many users, Eclipse IDE is too complex and exposes too much unnecessary technical detail, such as the underlying source code of the views.
SAP provide a simpler SAP Fiori-based tool called the View Browser to explore the views of the virtual data model and to discover the basic information about each view, such as which tables and columns are exposed.
The key use cases for the View Browser are:
- Search for a consumption view to use as a data source to build a new analytical query
- Search for a dimension view to include in a custom cube view
Using the View Browser it is possible to navigate from the top level views of the virtual data model (consumption views) down to the lowest-level views that touch transaction and master data tables.
The tool contains many features to search for views including filters to limit the displayed list of views. You can tag the views so they can easily be found. You can also download a list of views to Excel.
SAP-supplied views often do not contain all the available fields from the underlying source tables, especially if the customer has added custom fields to the source tables. One of the key tasks of the analytics specialist is to determine if a suitable view already exists or a new one needs to be created. The View Browser is the tool to use.
The Query Browser is used to search only for analytical queries (the top level views). The View Browser is used to explore all layers of the virtual data model, including analytical queries. That is why the View Browser is mostly used by analytics specialists who have an understanding of the virtual data model. The View Browser includes all the features of the Query Browser including the ability to launch an analytical query into a multidimensional report and create a tile. An analytics specialist would probably only use the View Browser and not need to use the Query Browser.
The View Browser is launched from the SAP Fiori Launchpad and provides many ways to search for views. You can search by:
- View name and description (I_CUSTOMERS, Customer Master Data)
- View type (consumption, composite)
- Data category (dimension, cube)
- Tables (VBAK, MARA)
- Columns (MATNR, VBELN)
- Annotations (analytics: true)
- Application component (SD, FI)
You can mark views as Favorites and also create selection variants to customize lists of views.
For views that are defined with the data category query you can preview the results.
For views that are defined with the data category cube you can directly create an analytical query.
Launch the following video to learn how to work with the View Browser.