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What's New in TIBCO Spotfire® 10.8

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Last updated:
3:06am Jun 30, 2020
Table of Contents

Spotfire 10.8 adds the ability to customize the Spotfire toolbar, makes it easier to view details of library items when browsing the Spotfire Library and improves the data loading user experience and progress display. This improves users productivity and these were also highly requested by users on the TIBCO Idea portal and other forums.  In addition Spotfire 10.8 adds improvements in many areas: better positioning of labels on feature layers in the map chart, transformations on the data source in the data canvas, data access to Amazon and Azure MySQL based databases, improvements to SAP data source, seamless session fail-over and simplified upgrades for the Spotfire Server, and for Developers, new APIs corresponding to some of the new features.

Watch the What's new in 10.8 session on YouTube.

Back to the What's new in Spotfire landing page.

Visual Analytics

Based on frequent requests in the TIBCO Idea portal, the Spotfire toolbar is now customizable so users can choose which features they want the quickest access to. This makes it quicker and easier for each user to do the tasks that matters most for them. This capability is available both in the web authoring client Spotfire Business Author and the installed Spotfire Analyst client.

Creating a default configuration for the custom toolbar

In addition to each user being able to customize his/her toolbar, it is possible for an admin (that has access to the Spotfire Administration Manager tool) to define the default content of the toolbar for other users by setting a preference. This can for example be used to provide all users with direct access to a custom tool, or other features. The default toolbar is controlled on user group level by the preference ToolbarShortcuts.

A convenient way for an admin to create the default configuration of the toolbar is to configure the toolbar as needed, then select "Copy Toolbar IDs to clipboard":

 

Then it is just to paste the copied values into the preference "ToolbarShortcuts" as show in the below screenshot. Notice that Preferences in Spotfire can be set per user group so it is fully possible to have different toolbar configurations for different user groups.

 

Locking down customization of the toolbar

For cases where the Admin needs to fully control the toolbars configuration for some or all user groups, there are licenses by which an admin can control which user groups that should be able to customize the toolbar themselves. The license is called Customize Toolbar and is available separately for the Business Author and Analyst license groups.

View details of selected items when browsing library items

It is now possible to view details about selected library items, for example information links, in the library browser. This was one of the most voted ideas for Spotfire 10 and now users can more quickly find the right asset, for example, by seeing which columns an information link uses.

Examples of fields that are available are "Modified by", "Date created", "Created by", "Modified by", "Path", "Library URL", "Web client URL", etc. For information links there is additional details such as "Columns" and "Prompts". It is possible to copy the information to the clipboard if you want to use it in another program or system.

Automatic reconnect for streaming data

Spotfire clients, both web and installed, will now automatically reconnect if the Spotfire Data Streams server goes down and then restarts. This is useful both for individual users that don't have to reload data, and even more so for applications/dashboards shown in hallways and other common areas, where it is not used by a particular individual, since the application will now automatically reconnect and start to work again as the Spotfire Data Streams server restarts.

More flexible drill-down

It is now possible to configure visualizations so that their data is limited by the same marking that the visualization itself is using. This makes it even easier and quicker to drill into your data, and allows for more compact dashboards. As always with Spotfire, you can drill from any angle, from any visualization, which enables users of any skill-level to analyze their data using interactive, free-form visual analytics.

The below video shows an analysis where the mapchart is set to auto-zoom based the available data and at the same time the data is limited by the same marking as used in the map chart and the three barcharts. The data in the bar charts is also limited by the same marking, while the scatter plot in the lower right is not limited by marking at all.

Note 1: To be useful, a visualization set to be limited by its own marking must be configured to show "All data" in Visualization Properties→Data when nothing is marked. 

Note 2: This behaviour is by default enabled for new DXP files. However, since this changes the behaviour of visualizations, the feature is disabled for already existing DXP files. If you want to enable this behaviour in old DXP files, open the fil using the Spotfire Analyst and go to File->Document properties->General->Compatibility settings and there make sure that the check box "Enable 10.7 data limiting using marking" is unchecked.

Position Labels on Geometries Center

Labels for Feature Layers in a Map Chart are now positioned automatically on geometries center. There is no need anymore to provide the centers coordinates (XCenter/YCenter), Map Chart computes these coordinates automatically for each geometry contained in a Feature Layer. This is especially useful when visualizing spatial features from a spatial database or from a Shapefile that do not come with XCenter/YCenter coordinates information.

Note that if centers coordinates (XCenter/YCenter) are provided as part of the data, Spotfire still uses this information to position labels over Features.

Add Image Layer in Business Author

Web Authors can now add and edit Image Layers like they are used to in the Analyst client.

The Image Layer can be used to layer images over a geographical map or to use images as map background for geographical or non-geographical analysis.

Generated coordinate reference system

Spotfire now automatically reads and apply the projection definition from an imported Shapefile or GeoTIFF image. This means that Map Chart is now capable of rendering Shapefiles and GeoTIFFs even if the projection definition is not officially supported by Spotfire. In addition to EPSG code, Spotfire now reads the full projection definition and applied it as a Generated CRS if no match is found with the list of supported coordinate systems. The definition is added to the projections list as an Imported Coordinate Reference System and removed when layer(s) using it are deleted.

 

Advanced Analytics

Self-service Python package management in Spotfire Analyst

Spotfire Analyst now has a tool for managing the locally used Python packages. This makes it easier to import and use Python packages in data functions for users who prefer a UI-based tool over the command line.  Python Tools is available through the Spotfire Tools menu. Also remember that Spotfire provides comprehensive python package management features for administrators that want to ensure that all users have access to a set of python packages of the same version.

 

Data Wrangling

Smarter loading of new data into an analysis

When adding more data to an existing analysis, Spotfire will now load all new files or database tables in parallel background threads. While the new data is being loaded, you can configure Add columns, Add rows and On-demand settings in the summary view. When you are done with your configurations, the new data may already be completely loaded into your analysis file. If it isn't, you can monitor the remaining data loading steps, as well as any add columns or add rows operations, in the new progress dialog.

A smarter data loading progress dialog

The new progress dialog enables business users and administrators to monitor the data loading process. When opening an analysis file, the new progress dialog displays more details about the remaining and completed data access and data wrangling steps.

Administrators can copy these details to the clipboard from the progress dialog (clear the Close when finished check box to keep the dialog open) and later paste the details into Spotfire for visual exploration of the data loading steps and their time for completion.

A smarter recommendation engine for adding rows

The background data loading that takes place when new data is added to an analysis has made the recommendation engine for add rows smarter. Recommendations presented when adding data are now based on both metadata and actual data coming in on the background threads.

This means that the recommendation engine can now more precisely suggest when data should be added as rows. This works both between multiple files being added at the same time and for data tables already present in the analysis file.

Transformations on imported data from connections now also available on the data source

Transformations can now be added on the data source when loading data from an imported data connection.

Previously, it was only possible to add transformations as a separate step after data from a data connection had been imported.

Data Access

Amazon Aurora MySQL support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for Oracle MySQL now supports Amazon Aurora MySQL.

Amazon RDS MySQL support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for Oracle MySQL now supports Amazon RDS MySQL.

Microsoft Azure Database for MariaDB support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for Oracle MySQL now supports Microsoft Azure Database for MariaDB.

Microsoft Azure Database for MySQL support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for Oracle MySQL now supports Microsoft Azure Database for MySQL.

Oracle MySQL TLS support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for Oracle MySQL now supports the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. TLS is sometimes referred to as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) but MySQL doesn't use the SSL protocol. With the addition of TLS support to the Oracle MySQL connector, TIBCO is able to support the MySQL cloud data sources Amazon Aurora MySQL, Amazon RDS MySQL and Azure MySQL.

SAP BW/4 HANA 2.0 support

The TIBCO Spotfire connector for SAP BW now supports SAP BW/4HANA 2.0.

SAP HANA binning support

When using a numeric column for the X-axis in a visualization (the category axis in a bar chart), you sometimes may want to bin the values to compare segments of the data to each other. One very handy tool to help you dynamically do this is the binning slider.

By right-clicking the category axis selector, and selecting Auto-bin Column, the bars are automatically binned.

 

There is a small slider with a handle just above the axis selector. This is the binning slider. By dragging this horizontally, you can alter the number of bins dynamically.

The Auto-bin Column functionality is actually creating a custom expression (BinByEvenIntervals([AMOUNT_SOLD],5)), for example, for a numerical column the AutoBinNumeric function is used. This is automatically translated to the Width_Bucket function in SAP HANA.

New Apache Spark SQL, Cassandra and MongoDB ODBC drivers are available for download

The latest Apache Spark SQL, Cassandra and MongoDB ODBC drivers are now available for download.

Download TIB_drivers_1.9.0.zip as an individual component of the Spotfire Server from TIBCO eDelivery here. (login required)

Download from TIBCO Cloud Spotfire here. (TIBCO Cloud Spotfire account required)

Server and Administration

Various improvements to simplify the server upgrade process with the upgrade tool

The Spotfire Server upgrade tool now:

  • preserves previously configured Java memory properties (JvmMs and JvmMx) within setenv.sh/setenv.bat
  • detects unsupported database versions,
  • detects incompatible driver versions,
  • implements a trust store that supports multiple trust stores. This way, each server to be trusted can have a trust store, separate from the one included with the JRE, that can easily be transferred during upgrades.

Spotfire Server provides seamless session fail-over

In a Spotfire Server cluster, any server can be taken offline and all users currently connecting through that server can seamlessly (via load-balancer rerouting) continue their session on another server without re-authenticating. Also, all running analysis sessions in the Web Player can continue without losing their current state.

Added support for initiating OpenID Connect login from a third party

The OpenID Connect specification describes an optional feature through which a third-party (such as an Identity Provider or a portal of some sort) may initiate login on a Service Provider. Examples of third-party Identity Providers are Google, Azure AD, Okta, etc. See ThirdPartyInitiatedLogin within the OpenID Connect Core specification for more information.

Developer

Custom map chart projection

The C# API now allows for defining a custom projection to use with the map chart. This type of projection can be generated from imported GeoTIFF image files, from imported Shape files, or, they can be added by users. See example.

Data transformations on data sources

The C# API now allows for getting and setting data transformations performed on the result of an imported data connection data source. Read more here.

Set legacy limit by marking behavior

To allow for compatibility for applications that require the legacy limit by marking behaviour there is now a C# API that allows for configuring whether visualizations should use the behavior of versions 10.7 and prior,  or the new behaviour introduced in this release, when limited by their own marking.