How Do I Embed Dashboards And Reports Within My Application?

How Do I Embed Dashboards and Reports Within My Application?

Our last chapter explored how to efficiently and seamlessly integrate your chosen embedded analytics product with your app’s existing data model. In this chapter, we’ll break down how to embed dashboards inside your application with minimal hiccups.

How Do I Embed Dashboards And Reports Within My Application?

Definitions

In this chapter, it might help to brush up on the following definitions:

Live reports – Reports that are generated in real-time rather than at a fixed recurring time.
Data Visualizations – Presenting data graphically to assist people in understanding information that may be hidden in the raw data.
iFrame – A section of a web page that can act as the container for a second separate page or resource.
JavaScript – A dynamic programming language commonly used for web pages, web applications, and gaming applications

Here’s What You Need To Know

What types of embedded analytic objects can be embedded?

Your chosen process will tie back to your existing requirements and the actual objective of embedding analytics into your project. Why did you decide to embed analytic objects into your app? Consider the actual use case of doing so for your unique project. Perhaps you’re only looking to embed dashboards, or maybe you’re interested in embedding individual reports.

You may also want to make it possible for end-users to generate their reports, and thus embedded reporting functionalities are a must-have.

In today’s world, visualizations of analytics are becoming more and more popular to improve accessibility.

What types of visualizations does your application need?

To put it simply, if your chosen BI platform doesn’t have the functionalities for integration that your app needs, you might have to look into additional functionalities or third-party software. You might want to develop these functionalities yourself, although that comes with an additional cost that may not be in your project budget.

What features are needed for end-users?

Your end-user should be the main focus of the integration. Many application vendors prefer live reports, but others require perfect visual static reports that can be easily printed and pre-filled with data. You must know exactly what you want (and, more importantly, what your end users want) when it comes to features for embedded dashboards and reports. Your chosen BI platform will need to support these features.

Consider a few common features and whether or not they are vital to your bottom line:

  • Live data display
  • Cached data display (often beneficial for speeding up display times for end-users in general)
  • Offline requirements for mobile users
  • The type of analysis needed, including filters, drill-downs, associative dashboards, etc.
  • View-only mode
  • End-user functionalities for building their reports
  • What are the methods for embedding?

This last point on methods for embedding is very important. What type of code will your application receive to embed dashboards or reports? How will this code be implemented? Typically, there are four options: iFrame (the most common), Javascript, Subdomain, and API integration.

  • The iFrame is the easiest to implement for self-hosted BI platforms but can be problematic when working with a cloud BI platform in terms of security.
  • Javascript is very powerful and simplistic, but you will need to ensure that branding doesn’t clash with your app’s established stylesheet and code.
  • The subdomain approach can be a great alternative to embedding an object within a page by branding and displaying the BI tool as a whole as a subdomain within your application, which is recommended for projects that need to be less developer-intensive.
  • API integration, or headless mode, involves querying the BI platform’s API instead of using the platform interface to pull data and bind that data to customer build user interfaces within your application. This method, however, is labor-intensive compared to others.

Conclusion

It’s vital to understand how your prospective BI platform embeds. All four of the mentioned methods have their use cases. Still, the one you choose ultimately comes down to the level of development expertise you have onboard, your app’s unique interface, and what your end users need in terms of embedded reporting.

The next chapter will tell you how to integrate your embedded analytics with your existing security systems and setups as seamlessly as possible.

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