Oracle has released a design tool that lets users create their own custom analytical apps for mobile devices.
The Oracle BI Mobile App Designer is part of the Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Foundation Suite. The new tool is browser-based and uses a drag-and-drop interface letting users assemble mobile analytical apps without writing any code. The apps created by the tool are HTML5-based and will run on Android, Apple iPad and iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile smartphones and tablets.
The key word in this description, of course, is ‘assemble’. As part of Oracle BI Foundation Suite, Mobile Apps can make use of enterprise data from the BI Semantic layer (RPD), from BI Publisher data models or Microsoft Excel. Essentially, the designer shows the data models and cubes in the BI suite as data sources, and the users can click on a particular data source, select a chart type and chart style, and specify the data dimensions they want to use. The App Designer handles the rendering onto the target devices, and also manages the touch-screen interface so users can use touch and swipe to select, drag, and drill down into charts to see background data.
The designer lets the app creator preview their mobile app via a web-based mobile simulator. Once the app is finalised, it can be shared via an App Library containing all the available mobile analytic applications for that organisation, and that users can subscribe to, in which case they’ll receive automatic updates when available.
The tool looks a nice way to create mobile BI dashboards, and the automatic handling of the screen resolution and touch and swipe is good. However, the skill here as in most BI systems is in knowing which data cubes you want and in moving the dimensions around. I don’t think the BI developers need to be too concerned about the end users taking over; in most cases this will be just one more tool for the developer to use to assemble BI delivery systems.
Alongside the Mobile App Designer, Oracle has also released Oracle BI Mobile HD, a mobile app for smartphones and tablets that gives access to BI analytic content like analyses, dashboards, scorecards, and reports from the BI elements available on the customer’s network. The content delivered is optimized automatically for interaction on mobile devices via touch and multi-touch gestures.