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Sintel BI Best Practices

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Here are a few tips that we recommend when building apps using Sintel BI.

Design order

  1. Create 1 or more Data Sources
    A data source provides the data to components on a dashboard.
  2. Design 1 or more Dashboards
    A dashboard can contain components such as grids, charts, images, and summary tiles to visualise your data.
  3. Configure your Settings and share it
    Define the home screen of the app, its navigation menu, and theme.

Design Recommendations

  1. One app per site
    When designing an app it’s best to create a SharePoint site (Site Collection or subweb) in which to host the app. This provides more granular control over the app configuration including who can access it and who can access the dashboards within it.
  2. Use SharePoint groups to define permissions
    When defining access levels or roles within your app consider using SharePoint groups rather than granting users access directly. This will make the security configuration of your app much easier and you will also benefit from being able to include the security configuration in app templates. App templates allow you to save an entire app and export it for use in another location. It’s an ideal mechanism for building apps on a test site and then exporting the configuration and importing it into a live site. It also allowsus in Sintel and our partners to build complete apps and then send the completed apps to our customers to import into their environment.
  3. Clone data sources to save design time
    When you have configured a data source with the columns you wish to include and the display order you can clone it to make a new data source with the same settings. This is much faster than manually creating each data source from scratch.
  4. Use separate dashboards for different roles
    If your app has a number of user roles such as Managers, IT and Finance then consider creating a dashboard for each of them. You can design a single dashboard and then clone it to create copies of it that can be used by the various user roles. If you add a filter component to each dashboard you can ensure that each user role only sees the data relevant to them on their dashboard. You can also use SharePoint groups to control the visibility of each dashboard to the relevant user roles.
  5. Set the order of navigation menu items
    It’s good practice to set the order of the navigation menu items within Settings->Navigation such that the items that are available to all users (i.e. Public links) are displayed first and any menu items whose visibility is restricted to specific groups or users appear after these. This ensures a consistent navigation experience for all users.
  6. Use System Links
    You can add system links within the Settings->Navigation menu. It can be helpful to add the system links which include Site contents, Site settings, and Site permissions. This makes it easy for admins to configure or modify the app settings in the future. We do not recommend making these System Links public as they are intended for use by admin users.
  7. Use relative links
    If you add regular links within the Settings ->Navigation we recommend that you use relative links such as “Lists/Expenses/NewForm.aspx”. This is to ensure the links work if the app is saved as a template for use on another site.
  8. Set a Landing page
    Within Settings->General remember to set the Landing page for the app, you can set the Landing page to any dashboard you wish and you should ensure that all the users who will use the app have access to the dashboard you choose. Generally, the dashboard that you choose as the Landing page will be one that is shared with all users i.e. it will be Public.

Sensitive Data

If your app contains sensitive data there are a few steps you can take to secure it and ensure that users only have access to the appropriate data.

  1. Configure item-level permissions in the source list
    This will prevent users from seeing items created by other users
  2. Create a custom group and associated permission level to enable certain users to see all data
    This is required to permit users to see items created by others such as a manager being able to see data for their direct reports
  3. Configure the default view of the list to show no data
    This is to prevent any items from being displayed if a user opens the list directly.
  4. Hide the list from site contents
    This is to hide the list from the site contents so users can navigate directly into it.

Finally, if you need to do something custom or something that you think can’t be achieved by Sintel BI functionality please contact us – customers often ask for new features and we listen. Many of our new features are as a result of feedback from customers and this improves our product as we can enhance it based on real-life use cases.

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