Cognos Portal Tabs: Past, Present & Future

View our entire library of updates and reviews on Cognos new features.

In IBM Cognos BI 8-10, the Portal Tab feature was an extremely useful one. The ability to define a custom landing page for different users and groups made it easy to find and access the required reports, while also securing areas that should be locked down.

With the advent of Cognos Analytics, a brand-new UI was introduced, and Portal Tabs disappeared. Since 11.0.5, Cognos Analytics included features that could be easily setup to provide the same capabilities as in Cognos BI 8-10. And now…Portal Tabs are back!

In this on-demand webinar, we look at how Portal Tabs have been integrated into the new Glass UI of Cognos Analytics. We review how to set them up and the pitfalls and work-arounds required to use this re-introduced feature.


Chris McPherson
Senior Offering Manager
Data Science & Business Analytics

Chris’s areas of responsibility include the Cognos Portal, APIs, Mobile and the Business Partner Channel. He joined Cognos in 2005 and held a number of senior technical roles in the Support organization before moving to Product Management in 2008 when Cognos was acquired by IBM.

Todd Schuman
Practice Lead – Installations, Upgrades and Performance Tuning
Senturus, Inc.

Todd has over 16 years of business analytics experience across multiple industries. Todd also regularly connects with the IBM product development team and has been in the forefront of the Cognos Analytics upgrade and installation process since it debuted.

You might also be interested in reading Todd’s blog Windows vs Linux: What’s Best with Cognos Analytics? in which he discusses the pros and cons of each to help you assess the best fit for your organization.

Questions log

Q: Are Recents something we will be able to add to a custom view/perspective with extensions in Cognos Analytics in the future? Not the menu, but as shown on the default Welcome screen.
A: There is not currently any way to do this as far as we know, although it sounds like a great enhancement request.

Q: When you say you cannot edit a portal page in Cognos Analytics, what does that mean?
A: There is no editor built into Cognos Analytics 11.0.11 to edit or create portal pages. To do this, you would need to enable the Cognos BI 10 portal (which is still in the box) and modify or create pages there. The two portals (11.0.11 and 10) can both be enabled at the same time as they have different URLs.

Q: Can you recommend ideas for a JSON editor or at least training/manuals for Cognos Analytics?
A: We like using Notepad++ for any code related work, but there are many options available. See W3Schools for free tutorials on JSON.

Q: I am new to Cognos Analytics, if I send the portal tab to my colleagues can they view/interact with it without being a user?
A: If you have security enabled in your environment, someone would need to be a Cognos Analytics user to view and interact with the content.

Q: If no security is enabled in Cognos Analytics, can everyone see the content?
A: If you have anonymous access enabled (which is almost never the case) then anyone who could access the page would see the content. There could be licensing considerations, or options, for this if needed.

Q: When setting a report as a home page in role customization in Cognos Analytics, the report takes a long time to run and the hourglass icon keeps appearing when I first log in. How do I make the report appear when displaying the home page so there is no wait?
A: The report will be running, so we suggest using a report output as home.

Q: If My Portal Pages are enabled in Cognos Analytics is dashboarding unavailable universally or just for users that have access to portal pages?
A: Enabling My Portal Pages should have no impact on dashboarding. The portal pages themselves are not capable of displaying new Cognos Analytics objects such as dashboards or reports build with the interactive viewer mode set to true.

Q: How do we invoke the extensions from the Cognos Analytics welcome page?
A: You create an extension bundle (.zip) that contains the necessary files, scripts and JSON file and then an administrator will upload it to the environment. An administrator would upload the extension bundle (ZIP) that contains the files. They should then be available after a browser refresh.

Q: Can I assign an extension to a specific role in Cognos Analytics? The demo seemed to show an extension being added for all users, but not a specific role.
A: The extension is global, but you can customize what is visible by role.

Q: How do we determine what icon relates to what extension in Cognos Analytics? The folder icon is pretty easy to discern but what about the rest?
A: You would specify in the JSON file which icon to use for a specific element.

Q: Is there a place that shows the folder icon and then describes what to use it for in Cognos Analytics? I can’t tell by the shape/look of the icons themselves which type of extension they are.
A: The icons and extensions shown in our webinar are part of the samples that are shipped with the product. You may want to provide your own icons. The samples are well documented so it should be pretty easy to reuse and modify an existing sample.

Q: Can I disable the enable My Portal Pages in Cognos Analytics?
A: Only a system administrator has the ability to enable the My Portal Pages functionality.

Q: How can an administrator set a user’s custom home page and test it if the users are all in active directory in Cognos Analytics.
A: The administrator can set a custom home page for a role, but not a specific user.

Q: Is there a way to limit access to types of reports within report capabilities (e.g List), since Query Studio has been deprecated in Cognos Analytics?
A: Access to the reporting tool can be limited as well as some of the options such as the toolbar or query buttons. The ability to remove specific objects such as lists and crosstabs is not currently possible.

Q: Can I put permissions on portal tabs in Cognos Analytics?
A: 11.0.11 will automatically honor the permissions that were set in Cognos BI 10. You can put the portal pages in a secured folder if you want to restrict users from adding them to their list.

Q: Can I create new Portal Tabs in Cognos Analytics?
A: Not really. If you enable the Cognos BI 10 connection portal it is possible, but doing so is not recommended.

Q: Can we open a report in an edit mode from portal page after migrating portal from Cognos BI 10.2 in 11.0.11?
A: Today, the launch icons for Report Studio, Query Studio, etc. are not visible. IBM is working on putting those back in a future release.

Q: Can we add our own roles to customize, for example HR and sales roles in 11.0.11?
A: Yes, you can create a new role in the Cognos Analytics namespace. IBM provides a collection by default, but you can remove them or add new ones.

Q: Where can we find info on custom JSON elements, such as option? What are the possible arguments?
A: The samples provide around 15 samples to cover various use cases. They are pretty well commented in the code to help you understand the elements and the use.

Q: Can we remove the My Portal Pages button in Cognos Analytics?
A: Only users who have access to portal tabs will see the folder. If they don’t have any, the folder won’t appear for them.

Q: In Cognos Analytics, the enabled portal tabs folder appears in the nav bar in every single view, even when creating reports. There appears to be no way to hide it using the customization tab, is this correct?
A: Yes, it’s either enabled or disabled and is not able to be conditionally hidden using the customization panel.

Q: In Cognos Analytics, if an object referred to an extension has its name changed, does it break the entire extension.
A: Yes, we recommend using folders or caution when changing report or folder names.

Q: With the current access manager, we can set every user’s home page individually and test it, has this functionality been removed in Cognos Analytics?
A: Yes and no. You can create a role for each user and map the user to the role. You can then set the role to have a custom home page. We recommend not using this approach, but instead use a one-to- many (role to user) approach instead.

Q: In Cognos Analytics, the portal can’t display an interactive report when we select a report from a folder that is on the portal page, so is report interactivity not possible?
A: Correct, the report launches in the classic legacy viewer and will not have interactivity.

Q: Can I edit the portal page if I switch from Cognos Analytics back to Cognos BI 10 Interface view?
A: Yes.

Q: I work at a company with more than 6000 employees with lots of Cognos users. To confirm, I could have an extension that would only appear for users in a certain security group instead of being visible to the entire company?
A: The extensions themselves are global, but you can hide elements based on user role in the Cognos security.

Q: How do I disable My Portal pages in Cognos Analytics?
A: It is disabled by default. A system administrator needs to enable it. To disable it, the admin needs to repeat the ConfigSetter steps and set the value to false.

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