Actuate 10 and the Eclipse-based Open Source BIRT framework allows you to build rich reporting applications for your enterprise. Click on the photo to watch a video of the software in action.
The title got your attention, didn't it?
While reporting tools are hardly "sexy" or "exciting" from a software standpoint, they are an extremely integral and critical part of any large organization's IT infrastructure. Typically, however, reports have to be custom designed and built, and commercial reporting tools tend to be inflexible, expensive and not easily extensible.
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Last week Actuate launched Actuate 10, the latest version of their enterprise reporting tool. The important distinction about Actuate 10 from its competitors in the reporting tool space is that it was built on a Open Source reporting framework that was created called BIRT (Business Intelligence Reporting Tools), which is a sub project of the Eclipse Foundation, and has a rich community associated with it, BIRT-Exchange, where developers can swap BIRT code additions, modules and applets. BIRT is a mature Open Source project, which was started by Actuate and Eclipse in 2004.
A sophisticated BIRT reporting application created with Actuate 10.
I liken BIRT and Actuate 10 as a reporting tool equivalent to OpenOffice.org, where you have the FOSS version, OpenOffice.org which anyone can freely download, but you also have Sun's StarOffice and IBM's Lotus Symphony, which are commercial derivatives. You can certainly build rich web-based reporting applications on BIRT, but Actuate 10 is the "polished" version and comes with technical support as well as other commercially developed modules that you would otherwise have to spend time and money and develop yourself. The cool thing about having both of these products in house from the perspective of an IT shop is that with Actuate 10, you get the support and the rich reporting features, but if you need to extend it, you've got all of BIRT to draw upon as well.
Are you planning to integrate BIRT-based reporting applications in your enterprise? Talk Back and Let Me Know.