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Thread: ALL: What are you using Action Sequences for?

  1. #1

    Question ALL: What are you using Action Sequences for?

    As one of the developers much interested in the fate of action sequences, I'd like to query the community about what business problems you use action sequences (aka xaction aka solution engine) to solve. What I'm looking for are just one liners, e.g.:

    "I use AS to burst emails, with reports attached, to business users on a nightly basis"
    or
    "I have an AS that runs on demand that renders charts to users in the Pentaho User Console"
    or
    "My AS runs a PDI transformation every 3 hours that populates my DWH"
    etc..

    You might also respond and say you don't use AS because approach XYZ works great for me and I don't feel that I need them (if you do respond this way, I'd love to hear what business need is in view here).

    Feel free to be more descriptive, but high level is plenty sufficient. I'm very curious about how AS are being leveraged and how Pentaho's other product offerings are stepping into the same solution space as AS.

    I look forward to the feedback.
    Cheers,
    Aaron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    "I use AS to burst emails, with reports attached, to business users on a nightly basis"
    Pedro Alves
    Meet us on ##pentaho, a FreeNode irc channel

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    235

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    Inputs for reports with more complex validations
    Creating parameter dependent MDX for analysis queries with Jpivot
    I think we still have one of those old style cross tab reports kicking around some where as well.

    Wil
    SQL: as much of a standard as the English language

  4. #4

    Default

    to generate reports and store them across to the file system
    to allow users to run parameterized pdi jobs when they need them

  5. #5
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    All of the above, plus the most memorable use of AS I've done was in a project where we had to modify Mondrian roles (at all grant levels) based on a relational DB table that contained authorization data and could change at any given time. So we used an AS that would get fired by a warehouse-loading DTS job (nope, couldn't implement PDI there :'( ), and this AS would execute a couple of PDI transformations to get the relational data, build the Mondrian roles XML code, inject it into the Mondrian schemas, refresh the Mondrian cache and execute a query to Mondrian so that the cache would get generated (since the first execution would be quite long, given the amount of roles and their size).

    Ugly, yes. It does work though... And it proved to me that there's little you couldn't accomplish by combining the tools in the platform through action sequences...

    Cheers!
    (en) Path to Pentaho knowledge: (1:Search the Wiki > 2:Search the Forums > 3:Ask) or (1:Get a Subscription)
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  6. #6
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    ... to trigger the rebuild of datamarts using PDI from PUC
    ... to schedule the PDI based transfer of data to a statics-db every night
    ... to export data to excel using pdi on demand (through PUC)
    ... to inject custom mdx queries into prpt-reports

  7. #7

    Default

    - Autostart action: On login, the user's e-mail address and other data are determined and saved in the session
    - Analysis views
    - Mailing reports
    - Data input (e.g. users can enter process IDs to watch; stores enter their current cash amount each day)
    - Complex reports with Kettle preprocessing

  8. #8
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    Hey, c'mon, someone write a descriptive post like mine. I'm starting to feel like in an exam, when you "didn't understand the question" :P
    (en) Path to Pentaho knowledge: (1:Search the Wiki > 2:Search the Forums > 3:Ask) or (1:Get a Subscription)
    (es) El camino al conocimiento en Pentaho: (1:Buscar en la Wiki > 2:Buscar en los Foros > 3:Preguntar) o (1:Comprar una Subscripción)

  9. #9

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    Good feedback all.. keep it coming. One more request, it would be helpful to know the type of using running these things, i.e. admin, business user, vp, data architect

  10. #10

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    -- using a parameter to set the locale for report translations
    -- using a parameter to set the datasource for a report
    -- saving a report to the filesystem

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Emailing - and logging this fact
    Dynamically modifying SQL used in reports - Easier/nicer in xaction
    Big one - running multiple prpt's and bundling into one single email
    Communicating with custom java classes - not sure if you can do this within a prpt?

    As everyone knows, i'm a huge fan of xactions - they give great power, and yet are very simple. - and adding that power everywhere it is needed seems like a big job, so i'd be very concerned if they disappeared!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Startup AS to pull a couple of different lists of keys and save them in session variables for use in report SQL. (Restricting access). Run as the user who logs in.
    AS that generates PDFs from prpt and sends them out to the right people. (Runs as admin via scheduler).

    I've come to realize that action sequences are a critical part of the suite. I can already see how others have used them to enhance solutions beyond the current packaged capabilities of the tools. It is not difficult to imagine having to use them to interact with PDI or Mondrian in some special way.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2007
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    I have a new one now. Bursting. What I do is get a list from a DB, run the report for each item in that list, and then email it accordingly. So there may be 10 reports run, 1, or 100! And many more people emailed.
    What must be avoided for me is to have to create multiple subscriptions for that!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Forgot two.

    1. We use xactions to write the JSON / HTML for using protovis graphs.

    2. People in our office use Excel and they want information from the data warehouse to get pulled into Excel automatically

    Solution:
    We have a xaction file on our server that returns an HTML table with many thousands of rows, which we use a URL to in Excel.
    When the user opens the Excel file, Excel calls this HTTP url, and receives a live table back, and they get to see the current situation.

    This is based on SQL, Javascript, and the message template example from Mike T's presentation on using Google's visualization API.

    Using this method we avoided doing the following to each user's system:
    1. Installing expensive, proprietary drivers (Simba $10k/yr/10 people minimum OR Jasper's Driver $250/seat/year)
    2. creating DSNs
    3. Tinkering with Mondrian's XMLA connection and catalogs (which we know little about).

    Yes, perhaps we'll buy a machine and install Palo server on it to take care of the Excel connectivity since the solution would be more secure and cost less than 1 year of license for a driver and we could do it with virtually no speed impact to our current system.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    I have 2 primary uses:
    1. Generate scheduled reports; burst them to a DB-stored email/FTP distro list.
    2. Present web apps in PUC by generating HTML. This may be replaced when the dashboard is more flexible/powerful, but until then...

    RE the web apps: I use CDF with XACTION/PRPT components and DOJO to create a multi-tab parametrised dashboard. This is flexible and easy to maintain.
    Guy van der Werf
    According to my calculations the problem doesn't exist.

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