Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rewind Your Report Development

I apologize for not blogging here more frequently. Life has gotten busy again. The good news is I have been working on a great BIRT project and learned all kinds of new tips and tricks. Things like dynamically inserting columns into reports, advanced library management, and building an automated report testing framework. Fun stuff, which I hope to to blog about as I find some time.

Today, I just want to give a quick tip. This is one of those things that I have been doing for a long time, but may not be well known. One of the developers that I was working with hadn't ever heard of it, so I thought I would share.

Do you ever wonder why your report suddenly is not working the way it used to? If you are familiar with Eclipse's Local History, you know that in Java you have the ability to see prior revisions of your report development. This handy utility lets you compare the current file with any of the saved revisions from your local system.

The same feature applies to BIRT report designs. If you go to the XML Source tab of your report you will see the underlying XML. Right click anywhere and select compare with
Local History.

A view shows up with all of the save dates for that file. Select one, by double clicking and a compare editor show up. The current version is on the left, past version on the right.

There are icons for going to the next difference, and icons for synchronizing the two versions. I'm not going to go through all of them, they are fairly straight forward.

One side note, you will find that BIRT tends to save a lot. Every time you run your report at the least. If you are worried about the space required for this you can change the amount of revision history you store using Window => Preferences => General => Local History.

have fun.

Monday, February 04, 2008

BIRT and ILOG JRules

Daniel Selman posted a very interesting Blog on using BIRT Scripted Data Sources with JRules. It is available here: Advanced Rule Studio Reporting using BIRT. In this example, Daniel walks through building a scripted data source that accesses the Rule Studio POJO model to populate a BIRT data set. His example is very informative and should help anyone accessing a POJO as a BIRT data source.