Ease of use, flexibility, integrability, extensibility, performance, etc… are few terms that we make use to describe the standard of any tool or a software. Before adopting any software or api, we try to rate it on these parameters.
Today, I will be giving a brief introduction about an open source tool in Java which qualifies to be associated with majority if not all of these terms.
Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool (BIRT) is a java based open source tool that can make your job of report generation as a developer very very quick and easy. Backed by Actuate, BIRT is an Eclipse based reporting tool that is capable of generating pdf, excel, ppt, ods, odt, etc.. and many other reports formats. It can read data from a variety of sources including flat files, excel spread sheets, databases, xml, etc and also supports addition of custom sources as eclipse plugins.
There are a couple of other tools that can do something similar, their comparison can be found here: http://www.innoventsolutions.com/birt-jasper-pentaho-comparison-matrix.html & http://www.innoventsolutions.com/open-source-reporting-review-birt-jasper-pentaho.html.
Generating a report from a data source (db, files, excel, or a custom source) hardly takes any time. All that has to be done is to design the layout in a WYSIWYG report designer and it is enough to generate multiple formats (xls, pdf, ppt, etc) right away. Another very important advantage of using BIRT is, it has a very well maintained community collaboration website. BIRT Exchange (http://www.birt-exchange.org) is a place where BIRT users collaborate to resolve impediments, share tips and tricks and also contribute to the community by writing many custom utility plugins.
Besides that, Actuate hosts plugin development contests at regular intervals and winners get to walk away with brand new iPads and other consolation prizes. One such contest is underway and it would be nice to see Provangers contributing to it. It isn’t rocket science and many including myself have won in such contests in the past.
Follow this to find out more about the contest http://www.birt-exchange.org/org/wiki/index.php?title=Plug_In_2_BIRT_Contest_for_Spring_2013_Details_and_Examples.
To know more about BIRT follow these links:
To know further, you can get in touch with me as well..