Sex, Rock and Roll, and Open Source Reporting Frameworks

Sex, Rock and Roll, and Open Source Reporting Frameworks

Summary: 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.

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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.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

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.

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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.

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Data Centers, Open Source, Software

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • I agree with your assessment

    I used to support HP OpenView sales (OK, it's debatable if OpenView can be used for BI but it was an excellent IT management environment that could be adapted for manufacturing or some forms of business reporting), and we used to talk about the SDK and how the user could write their own OpenView apps and such to support custom devices or applications, but no customer I was involved with ever wrote anything themselves. In a few cases they used HP Professional Services to develop ($!) some custom integrations, but those resources where rare and dear, and the ongoing support from HP made the original investment seem minor.
    The beauty of Open Source management tools is that if you need a plug-in for your Widget-Master 3000 it can be as simple as posting a request on the appropriate website and chances are someone can write that code and support it for relatively very little. The pool of people with the right skill sets is massive since the developer does not need to be an expert in your business and can find the reference materials online. On the other hand, the danger is that the developer might not have the [i]right[/i] skill sets, so buyer beware still applies, but chances are you can find someone if you apply normal screening techniques and some common sense.
    914four