BIRT, which stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool, is a technology platform that is being widely adopted for open source reporting in present times. It is an Eclipse-based open-source reporting tool that provides powerful features such as design layout, data access and scripting.
Open source BIRT consists of two main components:
Another exciting feature of BIRT is its charting engine that helps add customized charts, an important way to display data in business intelligence.
Catch a glimpse of the high level BIRT architecture below:
To generate a report, this tool requires a report design file (.rptdesign), which is an XML file that contains the complete information on the report’s look and feel, data sources to be contacted, SQL queries to be run and more.
ThinkPalm has embarked on this trending reporting technology by successfully implementing it in one of our flagship projects on school management. We were able to successfully represent a plethora of student information in processed, visually appealing report cards for the end users.
The Eclipse BIRT reporting tool helped to meet a practical business need of our project. It allows users to create and deploy graphically rich, parameter driven reports.
Since BIRT is an eclipse based reporting tool and its output is a .rptdesign file, it must be run through the BIRT engine to view this file as an HTML file. This can be done in two ways, one is through the BIRT viewer engine and the other is through BIRT runtime engine.
BIRT Viewer Engine generates the report comparatively easily with minimal coding and prints the report in multiple formats such as PDF, JPG, EXCEL, CSV, etc. But, the interface provided is static and may not merge seamlessly with the web applications interface. On the other hand, BIRT Runtime Engine requires a lot more programming for setting up and print functionality (apart from PDF and HTML), but this can be integrated much faster and perfectly as a part of the web application, replicating the complete look and feel of the application.
Haven’t embarked on BIRT yet? Make sure you give this next-generation business intelligence reporting tool a try!