Sunday, March 28, 2010

BIRT Roadshow Series Continues – Help decide the content!

In the past year Actuate has been running free one day BIRT training events, where users are introduced to BIRT technology by a series of talks followed by some hands on training exercises. This road show series, which was conducted in major cities around the globe, has been heavily attended.

Actuate is currently planning a new series that focuses on some of the more advanced topics of BIRT and is looking for feedback on what the community would like to see in the agenda. Are you interested in learning more about Charting, Advanced Scripting, or Custom data sources? To provide input simply follow this link, which provides a form for your input. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

BIRT 2.5.2 Enhancements

As BIRT 2.5.2 was released recently, I wanted to post on some of the new features available in the release. BIRT 2.5.2 represents a maintenance release, which is generally dominated with bug fixes and not new enhancements, but this release does have a few that are worth noting.

SQL Query Builder
The SQL Query Builder is now directly available without creating a connection profile. When adding a new data source, the query builder is listed as one of the data sources available.

After selecting the Query Builder data source you are prompted with a list of available databases. Once you select the type of database you can then specify the specific driver and connection properties that will be used.

One of the advantages to using this driver is that the jar location of the driver is a data source property and can be changed using Property Binding or an Event Handler Script.

<property name="jarList">C:\birt\mysql\mysql-connector-java-5.0.4-bin.jar</property>

After the data source is created, you create a dataset just like you would with any other BIRT data source. The editor allows graphic query creation as shown in the following image.

Designer Classpath Configuration

In prior releases of BIRT, the classloader while in the designer would search all projects within the workspace to locate a class that was used within the design. This would happen for classes invoked used in expressions or JavaScript event handlers. Event handlers written in Java where located in this fashion as well. In BIRT 2.5.2 you can now configure the classpath for the workspace or for the individual project that BIRT will use. To set this preference select the window->preferences->Report Design->Classpath entry.

Sorting Enhancement
BIRT provides sorting on many report items, such as tables, group sections, and crosstabs. New for BIRT 2.5.2 is ability to set the collation strength and locale for the sorter.

Crosstab Cheat Sheet and Template
A new Report Template and Cheat Sheet are available for creating a cross tab style report.

Other enhancements are also in BIRT 2.5.2 and these can be viewed in bugzilla. The full list of bug fixes is also available with this query. You can download BIRT 2.5.2 here.