Creating a Dashboard that shows a high level status of Services, Processes, Technologies, etc is a common theme with NetIQ Operations Center customers. I typically refer to these as score cards because they show a high level metric (grade, color, etc) of a single category. Some customers even categorize the metric. In the example below, the categories (ie: Clinical Trials, Licensing, etc) have a single indicator of health (circle with color). You can add a label above the circle and add additional columns such as Application, Network, Performance, etc.
The purpose of this blog is to cover the high level basics of how to build something like this. The first concept to understand is NodeStyles vs Templates.
Nodestyles: This is the way to use (or create) an icon that is used in the system to represent an element. By default the system uses Administration\Graphics\Nodestyles\GraidientBubble. You have the option of using out of the box Nodestyles (make sure to look under 3D_Library), modifying an existing one, importing an SVG from Visio or downloaded from the web or even creating a new one. Nodestyles are related to classes. To assign a nodestyle to a specific class, navigate down Administraion\Metamodel\classes. Select the class you wish to change the nodestyle/icon for, in Layout view, click the drop down at the top of the screen and select Nodestyle. You can then drag the nodestyle from Administration\Graphics\Nodestyles into the center area of the layout view. This will now cause NOC to use that nodestyle for that specific class.
Templates: This is more of a way to pre-setup a view and/or ogranize the view.. a default. Specifically, you navigate to one of your views, you edit the drawing (add boxes, lines, containers, etc). When done, you right-click and save as custom and select to save this as a template on the class. What this means is, that anywhere you navigate in the system, if you are on that class of an element, it will use that template as the way to view it (as long as that view does not have an actual “drawing” saved to it).
The thing to consider is that nodestyles traverse up the tree, templates do not. What this means is, if you make a nodestyle at the lowest leaf (IE: a square), when you go up one parent, it will show the square child. A template, is only visible for that layer. Templates are good for organizing the child in a specific manner while retaining a different type of view for it’s parent. Suppose you wanted basic icons at a higher layer and then a scorecard when you drilled in. Templates are good for this example.
Back to the scorecard above. The first step is to organize the data (elements) so it works well towards building the graphic above. Based on the way that views are combined together (child to parent), I created an element called MyView. I then created a topology such as Research\Clinical Trials and Research\Drug Discovery. I made sure to create a new class for each layer (IE: myCmyApps for Clinical Trials and Drug Discovery). In some cases you need to create a grouping in order to lay things out properly.
The best way to approach these is bottom up. Create a nodestyle for the lowest layer such as:
Create a nodestyle like the one above, associate that to the appropriate class. Create another nodestyle for it’s parent, in this case my nodestyle was a single row container of children with a Text title overridden by the element name.
Potentially at this point you can customize the drawing directly and save it as a template. IE: suppose you had multiple categories (ie: more than just research), you could create a container to hold multiples of these boxes together. You then save it as a template and if you have others of these types of views, it would use it. You could also make it a nodestyle, it just depends if you need the drawing (icons and stuff) to travel up further. I usually do nodestyles all the way up until I reach the top and then do a template for that last/top layer.
My example at the top includes additional data (IE: Impacted Apps), this is just another tree of elements (with a different class).
- Clinical Trials
- Drug Discovery
- Impacted Apps
- Metric 1
- Metric 2
In summary, to build scorecards, you need the data (elements) organized in a manner that supports the methodology of building the view. You create nodestyles for each layer with specific classes where applicable. you go up to the parent, clear the drawing, add containers or manually re-add the children (tip, right-click drag and select “Add to Drawing) to the drawing and manually organize them where you want them. At the top layer, I typically use a template, but a nodestyle would be fine also. One more tip: It may make sense to have child containers at each level in order to control how the data is grouped together.
Hopefully between this blog and other blogs you have enough tips to get started. The best thing to do is to play around with it. A blog, even a video will get you started, but you really need to work through these concepts one step at a time to fully understand them and feel comfortable. Once you have the concepts down, it will help you with future views because you will understand the view you are trying to create and in turn you will pre-know the topology required to support that type of view (IE: less re-work). Have fun, play in development!