Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Eclipse Brings Open Source to Business Intelligence Market

BusinessIntelligence.com Reports:

The Eclipse Foundation, an open source community committed to the implementation of a universal development platform, today announced that the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project version 1.0 is now generally available. BIRT 1.0 marks the culmination of Eclipse community participation during which hundreds of members of the community provided their feedback to shape the future of the project. BIRT has been downloaded 9,000 times since a preview version was made available in late February.

The goal of BIRT is to allow Java developers to easily integrate business intelligence and reporting capability into enterprise Java applications and commercial products. BIRT was created as a top level Eclipse project in September 2004. The project is part of the Eclipse strategy to provide open source tools and frameworks that span the software development lifecycle.

BIRT benefits Java developers by minimizing the time and effort associated with hand coding core application functions such as reporting and analysis. BIRT enables HTML and PDF reports to be created in a matter of hours, a great alternative to coding the same functionality from scratch, using JavaServer Pages (JSP) and Java. Using BIRT, developers are able to quickly respond to changes in user requirements, while delivering and maintaining functionally rich, perfectly formatted reports to their end users in either PDF or HTML format.

Furthermore, BIRT 1.0 provides excellent support for internationalisation and localisation to save the developer time in customising reports for particular languages and locales. For instance, a single report can be created that displays strings in the end user's language. BIRT also provides locale-aware data formatting, meaning that a date, currency or numeric format can be applied to a report based on the end user’s locale with dynamic formatting compensating for the typical lengths of language descriptors by automatically adjusting the size of report items to fit their content. This avoids the need to test a report with every possible translation. The Report designer is available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish interfaces.

“BIRT 1.0 extends the Eclipse platform to provide infrastructure and tools that allow application developers to easily design, generate and integrate reports within their applications,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “BIRT is a natural extension for Eclipse and it supports key themes within the overall Eclipse community which include designing extensible functionality for broad community appeal and providing a tool that is enterprise ready, while remaining simple to use.” BIRT 1.0 includes:

-- Eclipse Report Designer: an Eclipse-based desktop authoring environment that generates reports based on a comprehensive XML-based report design. In addition, it provides a rich business chart generation capability.

-- Eclipse Report Engine: enables reports to be generated within any Java application using report designs created by the Designer

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