Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Eclipse issues BIRT 1.0 BI software

LinuxWorld Reports:

The open source community gained another BI option in the form of BIRT 1.0 on Monday, when the Eclipse organization announced general availability of the reporting tool.

Actuate also announced support and maintenance services for BIRT.

BIRT, which stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool, includes the Eclipse Report Designer for authoring reports and features charting functionality, as well as the Eclipse Report Engine for generating those reports within Java applications.

"We are riding the Eclipse wave," said Mike Thoma, vice president of marketing for Actuate, and an Eclipse member.

Thoma described BIRT as the only top-level, 100 percent pure Java reporting tool available.

Eclipse is targeting the Java developers already using the Eclipse IDE and, among those, users in need of BI apps that require some application development process, Thoma said. For instance, a company that wants to enable its employees to visualize data, such as 401K reports, might consider BIRT rather than a proprietary product, he said.

BIRT supports multiple data sources and compound reports. The tool also generates XML or HTML output.

The benefits to using open source for reporting mirror the general advantages of other open source applications and operating systems: lower initial pricing, a promise of lower total cost of ownership, greater control, and customization.

"Instead of being locked into proprietary formats and vendors, you could choose one tool for embedded reports within Java applications, another for end-user reporting, another for high-volume production reporting -- whatever is most appropriate for the job -- but all of them will be compatible and able to share components as desired, such as templates or complex database queries defined by a DBA who doesn't need to know the reporting tool," wrote Carl Zetie, a vice president at Forrester Research in response to e-mail questions.

Likewise, at run time users can choose between different run-time engines, including open source or commercial ones, Zetie added.

Also on Monday, Actuate detailed its commercial version of BIRT, which includes everything the open source version has, but "removes the barriers to adoption," Thoma said.

For US$3,495 per year, subscribers get indemnification, support, and maintenance of BIRT 1.0.

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