What is an iView?

Definition | Characteristics | Uses | Adaptation

Definition 

An iView refers to any kind of application, information or service that can be visualized in a Web browser frame. iViews appear in a special container called tray, which offers a certain functionality for using and adapting the iView.

iViews are self-contained Web documents that are provided via a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) managed by the SAP portal framework. The resource itself can be anywhere on the Web.

Examples of iViews: Alerts, reports, e-mail/calendar, etc.

Content - not just a Point of Entry

An iView is not simply a point of entry or a entry mask which leads directly to a Website. That is, the iView must offer some content to users and fulfill its raison d'être within the allotted space. Additional information may be offered as a link and take the user to the provider's Website.

For example, if a user enters a word in a dictionary iView, the definition should appear inside the area of the iView. A link to usage examples, similar words, etc. could be provided which would then take the user to the provider's homepage.

Added Value

An iView should provide the user with some added value, such as customized pushed information, integration with different applications and systems, etc.

Integration - Roles, Work Sets, and Tasks

iViews on a portal page may be integrated in the sense that they share information or feed one another with information, similar to information cockpits. Such an integration further enhances the work place of a user and provides additional value; as shown below, it can be based on the concepts of user roles and worksets.

The whole set of iViews provided in the SAP portal environment depends on the role of the user. Subsets of iViews may be grouped together to form a workset. A workset comprises a complete work intent within a user's role, that is, a set of tasks for fulfilling that intent. Thus, worksets are constituents of a role. Or the other way round: A user role can be regarded as a bundle of worksets, which themselves bundle certain tasks into autonomous units within a role (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Relation between a role, several worksets and the tasks assigned to worksets

Definition of Workset

A workset is usually assigned to a job role. It may also embed other smaller worksets. Tasks are the activities that are performed in the context of a workset. A task can be more or less complex. Some tasks may require a larger set of services, while others correspond to one single interaction step. Depending on this, the workspace design will based on portal pages filled with iViews either give an overview and will provide access to related services or it will directly offer in-place actions.

So far, the concept of worksets has been limited to stateless iView collection that are used to deploy and assign targeted content to portal users. In a second step, this concept can be generalized to support instantiated, state-full worksets that represent a current state of a working process. That is, iViews may no longer be stateless but communicate with each other, or depend on each other.

 

Characteristics

iViews have the following characteristics:

  • Stateless: Not permanently connected to the SAP System
  • Embedded: Non-dominant, parallel to other iViews
  • Preview: Provides preview on underlying processes, data
  • Simple: Very limited, one-screen interaction (Palmtop-like)
  • Essential: Includes only key functionality
  • Direct: Provides direct access without navigation
  • Active: Pushes information, refreshes periodically
  • Open: Integrates third-party software
  • Personal: Allows user to modify appearance

 

Uses

The basic uses of iViews are to provide information and to accelerate the users' work. Below we present examples for these uses.

Information

The key message here is to provide data instead of asking for them.

  • Offer active information
  • Monitor business processes
  • Preview data and processes
  • Display notifications for initiating task-related processes
  • Provide fast access to often used data

Accelerating Work

The key message here is to provide simple and efficient services.

  • Provide direct access to simple applications
  • Provide accelerated access to other applications
  • Reduce information and interaction to the necessary
  • Drag-and-Relate: Use outputs (results) as inputs via drag-and-drop between iViews and iPanel

 

Adaptation

iViews can be adapted to the users' role and needs on a two-level basis. Customization is typically performed by the system administrator for a user role, that is, for a set of users that fulfill the same role in a company. Personalization is carried out by the individual users - they adapt the iViews and portal pages to their personal needs.

Customization

What the system administrator does for the users (based on user roles):

  • Select iViews from a pool of iViews according to a user's role
  • Reduce information unnecessary to a user's role(s) and goals
  • Provide focussed information tailored to a user's role(s) and goals

Personalization

What the users themselves do:

  • Select iViews from a pool of iViews (preselected for the role)
  • Provide content for generic iViews
  • Subscribe to content for iViews

Note: Currently, the personalization of an iView beyond its appearance on a portal page has to be handled by the iView itself. There is no general personalization interface available.

 

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Source:  SAP iView Guidelines