Spotlight on SpiraTeam 5.4 - Graphing Enhancements and Custom Graphs

January 10th, 2018 by inflectra

As we're in the final countdown for the release of the latest version of SpiraTest, SpiraTeam and SpiraPlan v5.4, we are going to be highlighting some of the most important new features in this version to help you get ready for the release. In this article we shall be discussing some of the graphing enhancements in v5.4, both the additional standard graphs, and the new custom graphing engine that lots of customers have been waiting for!

Additional Inline Graphs

As you may remember, in SpiraTeam version 5.3 we mentioned that we had completely overhauled the graphing engine in SpiraTeam to use the modern SVG-based c3/d3 framework instead of the previous mix of jqPlot and other, older graphing components. Well, we realized that this new graphing engine would let us embed graphs and charts in many different pages in SpiraTeam, in addition to the existing executive and reporting dashboards. So we have included graphs and charts on all of the list pages in SpiraTeam.We had previously piloted this approach on the incidents list page with an incident open/closed and incident count by priority graphs:


However we have now expanded this approach to all the other list pages in SpiraTeam:

Requirements List

We now display the requirements test coverage and requirements burndown graphs as standard on the requirements list page:

Test Case List

On the test case list page we now display the ratio of test cases that are in each execution status: passed, failed, blocked, caution, not run as a nice, simple donut chart (in addition to the bar chart version that is on the Project Home dashboard):

Test Set List

On the test set list page, we display two handy donut style graphs, one showing the ratio of the test sets' execution status, the other showing the ratio of overdue vs. on schedule test sets:


Task List

For the task list page we display two new inline graphs; the first one shows the ratio between the number of tasks that are on schedule, running late, starting late, and not started. The lower graph shows a miniature version of the task burndown graph for your convenience:


Test Run List

The test run list page now includes a small time-phased graph that displays the progress of test runs over the past 30 days. This is essentially a small inline version of the test run progress graph that exists on the main Reports dashboard:


However we realized that we cannot always anticipate every graphing need of our customers, so in addition to these new standard inline graphs, we have added a brand new custom graphing system in SpiraTeam v5.4...

Custom Graphing Engine

We have had custom reporting available in SpiraTeam for several years, with the ability to take our existing standard reports and customize the generated content by adjusting their XSLT templates. In addition, we have a custom query engine based on Microsoft's Entity Framework SQL language (called Entity SQL or ESQL) that lets you add bespoke queries and content sections to your reports. We realized that we could use the same ESQL query language to let SpiraTeam administrators create their own graphs and charts and then publish them for end users to display in the standard Reports dashboard.

Creating Custom Graphs

To create a custom report, simply go to the new Edit Graphs option in the new Reporting section of the Administration module:

When you click on the Edit Graphs link, you will be taken to the custom graph configuration page where you can add / modify custom graphs:

When you click on the Edit button to modify an existing graph, or click on the Add New Custom Graph option, you will see the graph creation screen:

The Query box is where you can choose the Reportable Entity from the dropdown list and then use that base query to create your own custom query. You need to make the first column in the query the category for the x-axis, the other columns need to be purely numeric, and will be used to populate the data series that will be mapped to the x-axis categories. You can test out your data by clicking the Display Data Grid button:

Then once you have verified the data makes sense, click on the three different Preview Graph buttons to see how the data will look as a donut, bar, or  line graph:

Once you are happy with your graph design, make sure the Active flag is set to Yes and then click Save to publish the graph for your end users.

Viewing Custom Graphs

Once published, the custom graphs can be displayed in the main Reports dashboard by your end users:

Once you have added an instance of the Custom Graphs to your dashboard, you can choose the specific graph, and the visualization type (donut, bar, and line currently):

You can display the data being used to generate the graph by clicking on the data-grid button in the bottom-left:

As with all of the graphs on the reporting dashboard, you can export the data-grid as a CSV / Excel sheet, and export the actual graph as an image (PNG, JPEG, and BMP formats supported).

We'd Love Your Feedback

We've had many requests for these features (especially the custom graphing engine) over the years, especially during our user summit in Mannheim, Germany in 2017, so thanks to all our customers for their encouragement and feedback. Please let us know what you think of these new graphing features, and of course, let us know what additional standard graphs you think we should add...

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