Wednesday, March 19, 2008

EclipseCon BIRT Sessions

EclipseCon continues to go really well with a lot of great talks. I have found the OSGi Services talks to be very interesting. Perhaps there are opportunities to add greater flexibility to the BIRT runtime through the adoption of more services for some functions? Going to have to think about that for a while.

On Tuesday Paul Clenahan presented a general intro to BIRT talk to a standing room only crowd. The nice lady at the door had to pull out her baseball bat to turn away the overflow crowd.

In the afternoon Justin Miranda from the OpenMRS team talked about how they are using BIRT to help provide better health care in some of the most difficult places in the world. If you are interested in making a difference, OpenMRS is looking for volunteers. If you are interested, send me an email at (scottr at innoventsolutions dot com) Please leave a comment and I can put you in touch with Justin at OpenMRS.

Jason Weathersby provided an in-depth review of the Chart API's. If you didn't know Jason has spent the last couple of months diving into the chart API's. He has walked through most of the code that makes up the charting plug-ins and he has created his own Chart extension. As a result Jason has really improved the charting chapters in the BIRT Integration book. In addition he provided a really great tutorial on chart scripting. He wrapped it all up with a tour of the chart api's. We will be posting the slides to the web site shortly. If you are interested in charting, make sure you get the second edition of the BIRT Integration book.

Today, I got a preview of the new DTP Query Builder. It won't be available until 2.3 M6, but I think that you will all like the new query builder. Two very cool features:
- re-factoring of the sql query e.g. changing alias names
- ability to dock the query builder as an editor, so that you don't have to continually re-open the dialog.

We also had a series of five really cool BIRT short talks. Virgil Dodson, Pierre Tessier, John Ward, Phillipe Coucaud and Santosh Kumar teamed up to show what can be done to really make BIRT dance. My personal favorite was the way that Phillipe wrapped the BIRT charts with a simple interface and then used it to provide visual feedback about the project.

In five minutes, we will be starting the BIRT BOF, I look forward to having an informal discussion with the BIRT community, I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fun At EclipseCon

Pierre Tessier made it to EclipseCon this year and is very excited about the shwag that can be picked up from the exhibition hall as well as his BIRT Rocks t-shirt. This is the first time that I have ever seen Pierre blush like a little girl (with five o'clock shadow). Some things need to be shared.

BIRT At EclipseCon

Most of the BIRT team is at EclipseCon this week. Yesterday we had the BIRT tutorial days, with three tutorials covering:
- Basic BIRT report Development (John Ward)
- Advanced BIRT Scripting (Virgil Dodson, Jason Weathersby)
- Integrating BIRT (Scott Rosenbaum)

We will have the presentations and the accompany code available soon, probably after the conference.

If you are at the conference there are several additional presentations on BIRT that will happen today and tomorrow. Here is the complete list:

Introduction to BIRT 2.2
Tuesday 11:10 207 Paul Clenahan

Because Size Matters :
Combining CDT and BIRT to Analyze Binary Code Size of Embedded Applications
Tuesday 14:00 209/210 Philippe Coucaud

BIRT Chart API's
Tuesday 16:30 207 Jason Weathersby

Using Eclipse BIRT in the real word seriously
Tuesday 16:30 Great America Ballroom JK Justin Miranda

Getting the most from your BIRT reports
Wednesday 10:10 Ballroom E Virgil Dodson

Introducing DTP Open Data Access Framework
Wednesday 13:30 Great America Room 2 Linda Chan

BIRT Short Talks
Amazon Web Service Report Virgil Dodson
BIRT and Google Maps Mashup Pierre Tessier
BIRT and Google Web Toolkit John Ward

Charting Everywhere Philippe Coucaud
OpenDocument Format Spread-Sheet Emitter for BIRT Santosh Kumar
Wednesday 15:30 (5 talks in one hour) 203/204

Meeting customer’s reporting reqs by extending BIRT
Wednesday 4:30 207 Neil Wang, Wei Liu, Santosh Kumar, Maged Elaasar

BIRT BOF - Birts of a Feather
Wednesday 8:45pm Grand Ballroom C
See a preview of BIRT 2.3.
Talk to the BIRT team about BIRT
We’re buying the beer …

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

BIRT 2.3 Milestone 5 New and Notable Features

BIRT 2.3 Milestone 5 has been released and contains many new features. Top among them is the new JavaScript debugger. You can setup a debug launch configuration to run a report in the current instance of eclipse, or you can specify a different BIRT location. In addition you specify which Report Engine Task to run while debugging. These include the Run, RunAndRender, and the RenderTask. You can also set the debugger to do a Run and then a Render Task. These options allow you to recreate the deployed environment. For example when using the frameset servlet mapping in the example Web Viewer, the engine performs a Run Task to generate the report document and then performs a Render Task on the report document. When debugging a report you can specify the Run+Render option to reproduce this behavior in the debugger. The debugger also includes breakpoints, expressions, and variables and supports stepping through either Java or JavaScript event handlers.

The JavaScript editor has also been improved to support code folding, breakpoints, and JavaScript validation. To read more about these features and others available in the 2.3 M5 release, go here.