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05-00: Working with Interfaces

An Interface allows the Visual KPI Server to communicate with a system that contains KPI data. Visual KPI allows you to retrieve KPI data from different systems, even within a single KPI. If your system is external to the Visual KPI Server, you may need to define the credentials that allow for the connection between the external system and the Visual KPI Server. Each KPI definition can include an interface name for each range attribute (Low Low, Low, Target, High, High High), as well as the Actual value, Status value, InService status, and Show status (and any custom attributes).

The Interface definition includes an Interface Name, the URL for the Visual KPI web service that is used to connect to the system, the authentication method to be used, as well as any required login credentials. Once the Interface data is saved, you can reference the interface’s Name within a KPI data object's definition.

NOTE: It is important to note that ALL interfaces with an “x” in the (x) column will be affected by the Save Selected Interfaces, Verify Selected Interfaces, Membership of Selected Interfaces and Delete Selected Interfaces buttons. If you do not want an interface affected by these buttons, simply remove the “x” for that interface.

Manual Data Interface

A default interface, Manual Data, is created when you install Visual KPI. The Manual Data interface allows for the manual entry of KPI data values; the values are stored in the Visual KPI database. The Manual Data interface allows you to Enable or Disable Updates (only applies to entering values via the Visual KPI website). You must also specify a domain user group to allow Visual KPI website users to manually enter KPI values. (Refer to Manually Entered KPI Values for details.)

NOTE: If you save any KPI data after removing the Manual Data interface from any of the KPI data’s attributes, all previously saved history associated with that KPI attribute is lost. You will not receive a warning on this action; the data will be immediately deleted.

Opening the Interface Data Worksheet

  1. Open the Visual KPI Designer. The VisualKPIDesigner.xlsx file opens.

  2. In the Action pane, select Interfaces from the Config menu.

  3. In the Interfaces area, click the Open button. The Interfaces worksheet is added to the workbook. If it already exists in the workbook, the Interfaces worksheet is activated and the current Interface data is retrieved from the database and displayed, including a Reference Count column that indicates the number of individual attributes that reference the interface.

NOTE: Clicking the Open button after making changes causes the changes to be overwritten with the most recently saved Interface data.

Creating an Interface

  1. To add an interface definition, enter an Interface Name and an Interface URL in the next available row below the column headers. The URL is used by the Visual KPI web service to communicate with the external system.
    The Reference Count is automatically updated each time you open the Interfaces, indicating the number of individual attributes that reference the interface.

  2. Select the Authentication method. The options are: Anonymous, Integrated, Digest, and Basic.

  3. Define the login credentials (Domain, User Name and Password) required to allow the Visual KPI Server to connect with the external system.

  4. To allow users to manually enter data via the Visual KPI website, select True in the Allow Writes column; otherwise select False. This is only valid for the Manual Data Interface.

  5. If you have set the Allow Writes column to True, enter a valid active directory group name(s) in the Write Group column; otherwise enter N/A. Only those domain users within the specified group will be allowed to manually enter data via the Visual KPI website. If the Write Group value is not a valid domain group, you will not be able to enter KPI values via the Visual KPI website. This is only valid for the Manual Data Interface. (Refer to Manually Entered KPI Values for detailed information.)
  6. Place an “x” in the (x) column for the new Interface.
  7. Click the Interfaces Verify Selected Interfaces button to verify that the URL is correct and that you can connect to the system. A new column, Verification Results, is added to the worksheet for each interface that includes an “x” in its (x) column.

    The following are example Verification Results:

    1. If the URL is valid and you can connect to the system, “Connection successful” is added to the Verification Results column.

    2. If the URL is valid but you cannot connect to the system, “The remote name could not be resolved: '[website]'” is added to the Verification Results column.

    3. If the URL is invalid, an error message displays indicating there is a problem with the URL.

  8. Click the Save button to write the changes to the database.

Editing an Interface

You can modify existing Interface definitions by overwriting any piece of the Interface’s definition data (with the exception of the Interface ID) directly in the cells in the Interfaces worksheet. You can also copy an existing Interface row and paste it into a new row. Be sure to remove the pasted Interface’s Interface ID before you save it.

In order to save your changes, place an “x” in the (x) column for each Interface you want to save, then click the Interface’s Save Selected Interfaces button. All x’d Interfaces will be saved to the Visual KPI Server.

Deleting an Interface

You can delete any Interface included in the Interfaces worksheet. In order to delete an Interface, place an “x” in the (x) column for each Interface you want to delete, then click the Interface’s Delete Selected Interfaces  button. All x’d Interfaces will be deleted from the Visual KPI Server.

NOTE: You may want to save a copy of the VisualKPIDesigner.xlsx file prior to deleting your Interface data. If you later realize that you did not want to delete this data, you can open the copy of theVisualKPIDesigner.xlsx file and then re-save your data.

« 04-00: Using the Workbook Area | Main | 05-01: Working with Attributes »
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