Monday, October 15, 2007

2.2.1 Memory Woes

Show of hands, how many of you have upgraded to version 2.2.1 of BIRT? Okay, now how many of you have had memory issues? Based on my experience and the messages on the newsgroup, it seems like almost everyone that has moved to 2.2.1 through installation of the new All-In-One build is having this problem. Fortunately, there is an easy fix. The problem is related to a change in the Eclipse.ini file. This is a bug on the entire platform and affects all of the Eclipse products, not just BIRT. To fix open the Eclipse.ini file in your ECLIPSE_HOME directory. Find the line with


Replace that line with

That should solve the problem. The platform team is tracking this bug here. They are trying to make a decision
to release a new version of the platform or not. The BIRT team is also tracking the issue here.

Depending on what the platform team does with a new release, we may create a new 2.2.1a build of BIRT so that
this problem does not continue to exist.

Updated: It has come to my attention that there could be a couple of issues.
First) -XX:MaxPermSize=256m has to be the last line in the eclipse.ini
Second) There is only a single dash before the XX:MaxPermSize

Here is the complete eclipse.ini that I am using on my system. I have bumped the memory numbers a bit since I have plenty of RAM on my system.

-showsplash org.eclipse.platform


Monday, October 08, 2007

Introducing BIRT Exchange

I referenced in an earlier post, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to formally introduce it.

It's a new site, sponsored by Actuate, that provides a variety of content on Eclipse BIRT and the related products and services Actuate has built on top of the open source project.

I particularly like two features of the site. The first is the DevX area, which is a repository of content about BIRT, including sample reports, code, tips and tricks and links to articles and blogs, both on the site and elsewhere. Anyone can access content or add to the repository. Think of it as a sort of just for BIRT.

The second is the Eclipse BIRT newsgroup mirror, which includes all the posts from the site, but enables you to read and search them using a web-based forum package. I find it a lot easier to locate answers to questions that may have already been addressed using the forum interface.

Next time you're searching for information on a particular BIRT issue or question, keep in mind BIRT Exchange as another good resource.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

EclipseCon 2008 Call For Participation

EclipseCon 2008 is six months away, and it is time to start submitting proposals for talks. I am on the Program Committee and have been given the task of recruiting for the reporting track. This year, I want to have the best possible talks about reporting in the Eclipse environment possible.

There are three types of talks and reporting has been allocated 11 hours of presentation time. Thats a lot of content to come up with, so I need your help. We really want to see members of the BIRT community submitting proposals for talks.

The reporting category is described as:

Topics that show using Eclipse tools and frameworks for business intelligence and reporting applications. In particular, this category is focused on applications of BIRT project components. We are interested in report development, BIRT integration, using the BIRT extension points, and integration of the BIRT Chart components. Preference will be given to presentations that reflect real world experience.

The reporting category has been given 12 slots as shown below:
- 3 Tutorials (2 hours)

- 4 Long Talks (1 hour)
- 5 Short Talks (10 minutes)

Proposals for talks are done through the EclipseCon 2008 submission process.

We are actively recruiting for high quality talks for all three slots. Our goal is to get as much community involvement as possible. You may say, "Whats in it for me". First, you have a chance to receive recognition for all of the great things that you have done with BIRT. Second, the Tutorials and Long Talks allow you to go to the conference for free. Each short talk is worth a 20% discount on your registration.

What are we looking for? We have two goals: First show off as much of the BIRT technology as possible and second show off the actual implementations of BIRT that you are all doing. In terms of the first goal, we have drawn up some broad objectives on the types of talks we would like to see, so any community submitted talks that will help us achieve those goals will have a strong chance of acceptance.

If you have ideas for talks that are not in the objectives, feel free to submit them. We will give careful consideration to all reporting proposals. The presentations are not limited to BIRT, but have to in some way involve Reporting and Eclipse.

The deadline for submissions is the November 19, so please make your submissions as soon as possible.

The BIRT PMC Objectives for EclipseCon talks:

Tutorials (3 allocated two hours each)
* Basic
* Integration / Report Engine
* Integration / Design Engine
* Extension (Data Extension to be covered under Data Tools)
* Charting

Long Talks (4 allocated one hour each)
* Introduction to BIRT
* Customer Success Story
* Advanced BIRT Report Dev (DataCube/Pivot, Expressions, Event Handlers, Libs, and CSS)
* Charting
* Integration (Report Engine / Design Engine)

Short Talks (1 hour – 5 talks allocated ten minutes each)
* Features Hour
o Parameters & Script
o Charts
o Re-Use (Libs & Styles)
o Layout
o Features Q&A

* Customer Hour
o Four stories from our customers on how they used BIRT. (ten minutes each)
o Followed by a joint Q&A with the four customers and one team member.
o customer Q&A

Monday, October 01, 2007

BIRT Web Service ODA

In the August edition of Eclipse Magazine ( Virgil Dodson and I wrote an article on the use of the Web Service ODA that is new with BIRT 2.2. One option that we discussed was the use of a custom connection class, which allows the developer the option of specifying a class that will be called which will be responsible for retrieving the web service data. In BIRT 2.2 this feature was initially disabled. With the release of BIRT 2.2.1 this week this feature in now enabled. In addition the driver has been improved by adding a driver class path property to locate your custom connection class.

A custom driver class must implement one method named connect. This method should accept two parameters, which contain the connection properties and application context. This class should instantiate another class that implements an executeQuery Method and a close method. The executeQuery method should accept the queryText (SOAP Request), parameter values and data set properties as parameters. In the example from the article this connection class simply opened a FileInputStream which contained a SOAP response and returned the data.

To use this feature, you will still need to provide a SOAP endpoint or a WSDL document when configuring the Data Source. Although the WSDL document can reference methods that may never be called in your custom class, essentially making it a dummy WSDL. In the example you will note that the SOAP request is never used.

An example report and source code using this feature can be found here.

Virgil has also made improvements to the example since it was published , adding pagination and hyperlink controls for navigation which he included in his BIRT Exchange post.

By the way, if you're not familar with it, BIRT Exchange is a community site for BIRT developers that enables you to share code samples, report designs, technical articles, as well as tips and tricks. To read more about the site take a look at this blog.