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Notifications

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Modified on Fri, 24 May 2013 06:46 PM Categorized as Administration, Annotations, Configuration, Level-Advanced, Viewer
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Overview

Notifications offer a way to send email reminders or alerts to users under certain conditions. Notifications are created in the viewer, allowing anyone viewing a dashboard to subscribe to them.

Notification types

There are two types of notifications:


Note: In Dundas Dashboard 5 or later, the scheduled notification type is no longer available. Scheduled notifications have been replaced with the new scheduled reports functionality. When upgrading to Dundas Dashboard 5 from an earlier version, any existing scheduled notifications are automatically converted to scheduled reports.

Note: Data rule-based and annotation event notifications cannot be defined on formula series/results.

Data rule-based notification

Data rule-based notifications respond to changes in a metric, and will notify users of this change. This allows you to track and respond to important changes in your key metrics. You can choose conditions for the notification, allowing you to send a notification under very specific circumstances. Data rule-based notifications are important in many scenarios, for example:

  • Notifying warehouse staff at 5 p.m. which items are low in stock and need to be ordered
  • Notifying a customer service manager of a falling trend in customer feedback ratings
  • Alerting sales managers when they haven’t reached sales targets for 3 of the previous 5 months

For instructions on creating a data rule-based notification, see create a notification.

Annotation event notification

A dashboard viewer might subscribe to an annotation event notification after posting a question (in the form of an annotation) on a dashboard. When someone follows up, the original poster will receive a notification email.

Annotation event notifications will notify users when a question or comment is posted on a dashboard. Questions and comments are added in the form of annotations, and the annotation is always in reference to data in a particular metric.

For instructions on creating an annotation event notification, see create a notification.

Create a notification

Prerequisites

For notifications to work properly, you must ensure that the following tasks have been completed:

  1. Configure the email and other delivery providers (performed by the server administrator)
  2. Configure the scheduler service (performed by the server administrator)
  3. Create a single-value representation for the KPI or Dataset

Once these tasks are complete, a notification can be created or subscribed to in the viewer, by pressing the 'Notify' button.

The 'Notify' button in the viewer allows users to create or subscribe to notifications.

The 'Notify' button in the viewer allows users to create or subscribe to notifications.


The first page of the subscription wizard allows you to:

  • Create a new notification from scratch.
  • Copy an existing notification that you have created, or another user's shared notification. The copied notification will be enabled by default.
  • Subscribe to another user's shared notification. Note that you can only subscribe to shared notifications that are enabled.

The first page of the subscription wizard.

The first page of the subscription wizard.


Note: This page will only be visible if you have previously created an notification on the current dashboard, or if another user has created a shared notification on the current dashboard. Annotation event notifications from other users will not be visible on this page, and will not cause this page to become visible.

If you choose to create a new notification, the next step requires you to select the type of notification you want to create.

Choose which type of notification to create.

Choose which type of notification to create.


Instructions on creating each type of notification can be found here:


Create a data rule-based notification

Data rule-based notifications allow users to react to changes or trends in data. They require four pieces of information:

  • A measure, whose value will be sampled
  • A schedule, which indicates when the measure will be sampled
  • A range of values, which define the conditions under which the measure will return a positive sample result
  • A notification rule, which determines the conditions under which positive samplings will result in a notification

To define a data rule-based notification, use the Notify wizard in the viewer to perform the following steps:

  1. Select a control and measure to sample
  2. Define the notification conditions
  3. Select a schedule for sampling the value of the measure
  4. Select the recipients for the notification
  5. Select the general settings for the notification

Select a control and measure

Selecting which control and metric to use for notifications.

Selecting which control and metric to use for notifications.


This page is used to select a control and a metric to use for notifications. You can either click on the dashboard on the right to select the control you want to use for the notification, or choose it in the selection dropdown on the left. Each notification can apply only to a single control and a single metric; if you want to notify on several metrics, you will have to create a notification for each metric.

Select a notification condition

Selecting or defining a state and conditions for data rule-based notifications.

Selecting or defining a state and conditions for data rule-based notifications.


This step defines the rules for triggering a data rule-based notification. If you have states set up on your KPI or Dataset, you can use them to define what state a measure has to be in to trigger a notification. Otherwise, you must define your own custom state in this wizard.

Note: The single value representation, which is defined in the KPI or Dataset, is used to determine the value of a metric, if there is more than one data point in that metric.

Warning: If you have parameters on your dashboard, the current parameter values will be stored, and will be used to determine the value of the metric. Make sure your parameters are set up correctly before creating a notification!

There are several important settings on this page:

  • Notification state: If you have a state in your KPI or Dataset, you can select which state returns a positive sample. If you don’t have a state like this, you will have to define a custom state (below).
  • State rule: This is where you define a custom state. If the measure is in this state when it is sampled, it may trigger a notification. This step is necessary when you don’t have the state defined in your KPI or Dataset.
  • When do you want to be notified?: Indicates the conditions under which samples will result in a notification being sent. You can send a notification when the measure leaves or enters the specified state, or when a certain number of the last ‘N’ samples were in the specified state.
  • Assume missing data is in state: If no data is returned for any reason, then the measure will be assumed to be in the state selected here. If you select <outside all states>, missing data will count as a negative sample for the purposes of triggering a notification. On the other hand, if you select the same state as you have selected above, then missing data will count as a positive sample for the purposes of triggering a notification.

Select a schedule

Choose a schedule for the data sampling (data rule-based notification).

Choose a schedule for the data sampling (data rule-based notification).


This page allows you to define a schedule for the notification. For data rule-based notifications, the schedule defines when the measure's value (or single-value representation, in the case where there are multiple data points in the metric) will be sampled. For example, if you define an hourly schedule for sampling, and the notification condition was "the last 10 of 15 samples", then it will take at least 10 hours for the notification to be sent (provided that all of those samples were in the state you defined in the previous step).

There are four options on this page, three of which represent commonly used settings (Hourly, Daily, Weekly), as well as a custom option for defining your own schedule. If you want a simple hourly, daily or weekly schedule, be sure to read the description below each option to verify that these are the settings you want, then click ‘Next’. Otherwise, click the Edit button and the scheduler will open. For instructions on using the scheduler, please see Setting up a Schedule. The scheduler is the same one that is used for defining caching schedules for data connectors.

Tip: To set up an hourly schedule, the scheduler will select the 'Daily' option. This is correct; the hourly behavior can be changed under 'Recurrence'.

Tip: To schedule a notification for particular days of the week, such as Monday and Friday, use the weekly schedule (not the daily schedule).

Note: Even though you are permitted to set up a recurring schedule with resolution down to 1 minute, the actual notifications may arrive in intervals that are longer than 1 minute. To achieve more accurate arrival of notifications you can set the SchedulerPollingInterval key in the Dundas Dashboard Configuration File to a smaller value. By default, it is set to 1 minute.

Select recipients

Selecting the recipients for the notification.

Selecting the recipients for the notification.


This page allows you to define a list of recipients for the notification. If you are logged in to Dundas Dashboard via a local user account, your email address will be added to the Recipients list automatically.

If your email address is the only one in the Recipients list, and the “Add Recipient” button is grayed out, this means that you don't have the user rights to subscribe others to your notifications. If you want to add subscribers but you can't modify this list, you should contact your administrator to request this permission.

There are some important fields on this page that should be filled out:

  • Delivery method: Determines the type of Delivery Method (provider) to use for notifications:
    • E-Mail notifications - Deliver notification as an email message, with option to embed an image of the dashboard as an attachment or a link.
    • Create file - Deliver notification in the form of a dashboard image file that is placed in a file folder on the Dundas Dashboard server.
    • Other delivery method options are listed here if your Dundas Dashboard server has custom delivery provider add-ons installed.
  • Recipients: A list of email addresses that will receive the notification.
    • Allow Unsubscribe: If left checked, the email will include an unsubscribe link.
  • Message Subject & Body: This email will be sent to all recipients when a notification is issued. There are several keywords (&ie; placeholders) you can use to help personalize the email and add additional information about the notification. Click the small menu button to the right of the Message subject/body boxes to insert one of these keywords:
    1. Date: The date the notification was issued (will be slightly before the email is delivered).
    2. Time: The time the notification was issued (will be slightly before the email is delivered).
    3. Metric: The name of the metric which is triggering the notification.
    4. Dashboard: The name of the dashboard which is triggering the notification.
    5. User: The name of the user who created the notification.
    6. Annotation: The text of the annotation (for annotation-based notifications). If the annotation is a thread with multiple posts, this will be the text of the latest entry in the conversation.
    7. Annotation User: The name of the user who created the annotation (for annotation-based notifications).
    8. DashboardLink: This will only appear if you have selected "Include a link to the dashboard in the message body". By default, this option will insert the link at the end of the message; however, this token allows you to move the link elsewhere. If the token is used, the link will be inserted where indicated, instead of at the end of the message.
    9. DashboardImage: This will only appear if you have selected "Attach an image of the dashboard to the message". By default, this option will include the dashboard image as an attachment; however, this token allows you to place the image inline. If the token is used, the image will be inserted where indicated, and will not be included as an attachment.
  • Attachments: There are two checkboxes here. The first indicates whether to include a URL (link) to the dashboard in the notification email. The second option, to include an image of the dashboard, is only visible when you have installed and configured the image creation service on the server. If this option is selected, the notification email will include an image of the dashboard at the time that the notification was issued.

Note: Before you can successfully send or receive emails, you must configure the email delivery provider as well as the scheduler service.

General Settings

Choosing general settings for the notification.

Choosing general settings for the notification.


There are several important options on this page:

  • Notification Name: The name of the notification, which appears in both the Management and central administration screens. It's a good idea to give your notification a name which is concise and descriptive.
  • Notification Description: A description for the notification, which also appears in the central administration screen.
  • Notification Frequency: This option allows you to limit the frequency of the notification, which is a good idea if you think there's a chance the notification will trigger many times in rapid succession.
  • Notification visibility: This notification can be made visible to other users by checking the Shared checkbox. This allows other users to subscribe to this notification in the viewer. This option is not available for annotation event notifications.

The summary at the bottom includes information on the dashboard and metric to which the notification applies.

Create an annotation event notification

Annotation event notifications leverage the annotation framework to provide a notification when someone viewing a dashboard posts a new annotation or replies to an existing annotation. This can be used to stay updated on conversations regarding particular metrics.

To define an annotation event notification, use the Notify wizard in the viewer to perform the following steps:

  1. Select a control and measure. Note that you can only select a control if it supports user annotations. For example, if a control's underlying KPI does not specify an axis dimension, the Notify wizard will not allow you to select that control.
  2. Select the recipients for the notification.
  3. Select the general settings for the notification.

Tip: Remember that annotations are added to data, not dashboards. This means that if you want to subscribe to all annotations posted on a particular dashboard, you will have to create an annotation event notification for each measure used on the dashboard.

Note: Suppose you have a dashboard that displays multiple instances of the same KPI, but you have subscribed to an annotation event notification on just one of the charts/KPI instances. When a user adds a new annotation to, or replies to an existing annotation on, any one of the KPI instances the notification will still be sent because the annotation will appear on all KPI instances.

Delivering notifications as an image file

In the Define Delivery Options step, set the Delivery method to Create file if you want the notification to be delivered in the form of a dashboard image file that is saved to a file folder on the Dundas Dashboard server. There are different options for specifying the folder location and image filename.

Deliver notification as an image file.

Deliver notification as an image file.


In the File name box, you can:

  • Specify the full path of the image file (⪚ C:\TEMP\notify.png).
  • Specify a folder path without indicating the name of the file. This can be a local folder on the Dundas Dashboard server or it can be a shared network folder (⪚ \\netsvr\images\). In either case, a generic filename will be used (⪚ Generated File.png).
  • Specify just a filename (instead of a full path) and configure the UNC baseFolder where the image file will be saved. See this article for more details.

If you uncheck the Override existing file(s) option, the name of the image file will be appended with the date and time of image creation to ensure uniqueness (⪚ Generated File3_20130404_063059_836.png).

Managing notifications

There are two administrative tasks for notifications:


Central Administration

Administrators are able to edit, delete, disable or enable all notifications from the Notification Manager in the Administration panel:

The administration panel, where administrators can manage all notifications in the application.

The administration panel, where administrators can manage all notifications in the application.


The notification manager panel is launched by selecting 'Administration' from the home page, and selecting 'Open' command from the context menu of the Notification Manager.

Note: The notification manager displays all notifications in the application, from all users and all projects.

User Rights

Administrators can edit which users have rights to create, manage, and subscribe others to notifications, by editing the user account options:

The user options, where an administrator can add or remove rights for creating and managing notifications.

The user options, where an administrator can add or remove rights for
creating and managing notifications.


The options are as follows:

  • May create notifications: Causes the Notify button to appear in the viewer toolbar for that user.
  • May delete and disable/enable notifications created by others: Enable the user to delete or disable/enable notifications created by other users.
  • May (un)subscribe others to notifications created by the holder: Enables the user to subscribe other users to their notifications, or unsubscribe them. Without this option, users can only subscribe themselves to notifications, or unsubscribe themselves.

Manage your notifications

Users can manage notifications they have created using the viewer’s Manage button:

The manage button in the viewer allows users to manage notifications they have created.

The manage button in the viewer allows users to manage notifications they have created.


This opens the management window, which allows you to edit, delete or rename your notifications:

The manage window, where users can edit, delete or rename their notifications.

The manage window, where users can edit,
delete or rename their notifications.


There are two folders under Notifications:

  • Created Notifications: Shows all notifications that were created by the current user. You can edit the notifications, or delete them, from this menu.
  • Subscriptions: Shows all notifications that you have subscribed to. You can Edit the subscription to change the delivery options and frequency, or you can delete the subscription from this menu.

Subscribe to a notification

You can subscribe to a notification that another user has created by pressing the 'Notify' button in the viewer, and selecting 'Subscribe to another user's shared notification'. Select a notification in the list, and click 'Next' to see a summary page for that notification:

Note: You can only subscribe to a notification that is enabled. Disabled notifications will not appear in the list of available choices.

The subscription summary screen, which appears when subscribing to other users' notifications.

The subscription summary screen, which appears when subscribing to other users' notifications.


If everything looks good, click 'Next' to view the recipients list.

Note: If there are no shared notifications to subscribe to, then this page will not be accessible!

Unsubscribe from a notification

If someone other than yourself has subscribed you to a notification and you no longer wish to receive these notifications, you can click on the 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom of the email to be permanently, silently unsubscribed from that notification. If you wish to unsubscribe yourself from a notification you have created, you can click 'unsubscribe' in the email, delete the notification through the 'Manage' window, or ask your administrator to delete the notification through the Administration panel.

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