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What's New in iHub 3?

Posted by mwilliams in Michael's BIRT Blog, 25 April 2014 - - - - - - · 3846 views
Actuate, iHub, BDPro, iHub 3

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In December, Actuate released the latest generation of the BIRT iHub (iHub3) for distribution. The completely updated iHub 3 simplifies the design and deployment of personalized analytics and insights via a single platform that integrates BIRT based, visually appealing, interactive application services, predictive analytics services, and customer content services. This release promotes increased creativity, efficiency, and productivity for BIRT developers creating internal and customer-facing applications that can deliver personalized visualizations and analytics securely to millions of end users, on any device, at any time.

The BIRT iHub 3 release features the following:

Enhanced User Experience via Data Visualizations and Presentation
  • HTML 5 based data visualizations that support any data source and any device
  • Appealing visualizations by default
  • New Android phone app for consuming BIRT content
  • Rich, modern interface that provides a new, simplified, and consistent user experience
Enhanced Developer Productivity and Broader Data Access
  • Faster time to market via reduced time to develop and deploy applications
  • New BIRT Data Model that simplifies BIRT meta data management
  • Access to more Big Data sources and Excel data
  • Mac OS and Windows 64 bit developer tools
  • Enable easy migration from open source BIRT to commercial features
Improved IT Efficiency via a Unified Deployment Platform
  • Centralized system management
  • Quick installation and configuration
  • New built-in monitoring and utilization system
  • Simplified management for all styles of deployment including SaaS or on-premise
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be highlighting these areas in a blog series. Download the trial version of the iHub 3 to explore the new features and look and feel yourself. If you have questions or comments, feel free to post them in the comments section below or in the iHub forum.



What Can Hockey Learn from IoT?

Posted by Fred_Sandsmark in Fred Sandsmark's BIRT Blog, 22 April 2014 - - - - - - · 3811 views
BIRT, Data visualization, IoT

What Can Hockey Learn from IoT? Hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs began last Thursday, and most hockey fans – particularly those whose teams are in the hunt – are in heaven. But hockey fans who also are students of analytics and data visualization are in a sort of purgatory, because hockey lags behind other sports in adopting advanced statistical analysis of players and teams. Put another way: There’s no Moneyball for hockey.

Don’t take my word for it. A panel at last month’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (called Hockey Analytics: Out of the Ice Age) noted that the rink “remains a less-than-forgiving climate for perfected analytical judgment and implementation.” That’s changing, though: Conference organizers also said “in-depth statistical analysis has permeated the front office of NHL teams” and noted that fans are getting in on the data action.

Maybe hockey can learn something from the Internet of Things (IoT). Think about it: The data collected by sensors in factories, vehicles, and infrastructure is more varied, voluminous, and faster-paced than business data of just a few years ago. Developers have created systems – often using BIRT– to analyze and derive value from this data. Similarly, hockey teams are moving beyond basic stats (like wins, goals, and time on ice), collecting more data, and trying to build models based on that data to deliver insight. Already, new statistics are growing more important and valuable.

The most popular modern hockey statistic, the Corsi (named in 2007 after goaltending coach Jim Corsi, who was just released by the Buffalo Sabres), counts shots on goal, including misses and shots blocked by players other than the goalie. (That definition is oversimplified; sportingcharts.com has more detail.) Some hockey fans say the Corsi shows the “tilt of the ice,” and studies of past seasons show that the Corsi tracks pretty well with puck possession, zone time, and most importantly winning percentage.

For developers who want to analyze NHL data – and maybe discover the next Corsi – I recommend two sites: Behind the Net posts NHL stats plus a 10-article series about statistical analysis in hockey; its downside is an unfortunate relationship with online gambling sites. You might prefer Hockey Prospectus, which has detailed records for every shot taken in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons, an extensive hockey blog, and some lively interactive data visualizations of the NHL draft.

In the future, real-time data collection and advanced data analysis – coupled with the knowledge and experience that only humans can bring to the game – might reveal other correlations that can help teams rack up more wins. Who knows – maybe the infamous FoxTrax (also known as the glow puck) will return with embedded sensors to aid with puck tracking. One thing is certain: Greater use of data and personalized analytics is coming to hockey. After all, if Miami and Phoenix can host professional hockey teams, anything is possible.


Take Me Out to the Data

Posted by msinger in Michael Singer's BIRT Blog, 11 April 2014 - - - - - - · 4862 views
BIRT, BIRT Viewer Toolkit and 1 more...

America's pastime is ripe with opportunities to dust off your data visualization tools and practice your Big Data swing.

As spring begins and bees collect pollen for honey, baseball statisticians collect millions of interesting facts about this year's baseball season. Ever since the 1870s when sportswriter Henry Chadwick began pulling together players' data, people have been keeping score on everything from hits and runs to strikeouts and averages.

This year is no exception. There are more than 40 million people playing baseball in the United States alone, distributed between 30 Major League Baseball teams, college teams, little league teams, and guys like me playing on the weekends. That's a lot of data to collect, even for the seasoned statistician.

Baseball stat fanatics love their averages. They even collect obscure facts such as Weighted On-Base Average (also known as wOBA). According to Riley Brown's data blog entry "10 Obscure Baseball Sabermetrics":

"[The] wOBA combines the relative values of each offensive event and weighs them against the actual run value to their team. For example, a single during the 2012 season had a weight of 0.884 because that is the league-average run value that the single will produce. The final number is calculated similar to Slugging Percentage, but encompasses more ways in which a batter can reach base."

Here's how one MLB Division's the 2010 wOBA looks, according to Beyond The Boxscore's Bill Petti:

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While the presentation looks simple enough, the data is based on multiple layers: batting average, walks, being hit by a pitch, etc.

This is where a personalized analytics tool like BIRT can help. Remember that in assessing Big Data such as baseball stats, you'll need a powerful tool that can scan multiple sources of disparate data and present it in a compelling way. So swing for the bleachers with the BIRT Viewer Toolkit.

The Viewer Toolkit, a free companion package to the Eclipse open source BIRT Designer,IS MADE for developers seeking to embed or integrate BIRT reports within their web applications. The toolkit is a supported, commercial-quality alternative to the sample viewer included in the open source distribution of BIRT.

The Viewer Toolkit allows for:
  • JavaScript API (JSAPI) access and integration – Easily integrate BIRT designs into web pages… any web language that supports JavaScript.
  • Progressive Viewing – first page of report becomes visible while rest is still executing – improves user experience
  • Collect and display report parameters including an “auto-text” picker, a data picker identifying which parameters are mandatory, as outlined in red or optional inputs. – better handling and styling of report parameter collection pages
  • URL Adapter to facilitate document linking and navigation within and outside the report – (better handing of URL links (internal, external, and to other reports)
  • Link to report page for sharing documents – easier to send link to report via email… and easier include the report in a blog post as javascript.
  • Export content & data in multiple formats without re-execution of the report – save database hit
You can download the BIRT Viewer Toolkit here to get started: actuate.com/info/birt-viewer-toolkit/

Photo: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.


Creating a custom ODA (Part 1)

Posted by kclark in kclark's BIRT Blog, 04 April 2014 - - - - - - · 4643 views
oda, custom, java, data access

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Writing a custom ODA (part 1)

In BIRT there are several ways we can connect to data. Some of these methods are out of the box such as MySQL while others require a little more work. This blog series aims to teach you how to bring in the power of scripted data sources and POJO's while adding an easy to use interface for the report designer. By the end of this series you should know how to

-Design an ODA UI
-Create an ODA runtime driver
-Deploy and distribute your custom ODA

What is an ODA?

ODA stands for Open Data Access, it's what allows you to connect to and retrieve data that will be used as the content of your design. If you've created a report with BIRT then you've used an ODA. ODA's can either be used in the designer or used with the BIRT API's.

Why build an ODA?

This is an interesting question by itself because all of the other options available to you. While it is true you can decide to build a scripted data source or a POJO to retrieve data for use in BIRT, every project is different. An ODA has many advantages, while I won't go over all of them I will give you my two favorite reasons to build one.

1. Easy deployment.
Once you've created an ODA you only need to worry about distributing the jars to your designers and the server. It's a one size fits all solution instead of having to keep code in your design.

2. A cleaner design file
If you have lots of data that needs to be retrieved and you decide to build a scripted data set, reading, debugging, and maintaining that script can start to get complicated depending on how complex it is.

How complicated is this?

If you're like me, then you want to get up and running as soon as possible. The good news is that the designer already has two wizards available. One will generate the base code for your runtime driver while the other generates the base code for the UI. Since all of this is already generated for us then we only need to be concerned with the data retrieval and our ODA specific UI components.

Enough talk, let's do this!

Today we won't get too deep into the ODA. By the end of this blog post you'll know how to

-Create an ODA Runtime project
-Create an ODA UI project
-Run your new ODA in Eclipse without any data – yet.

Create the runtime project

The first step in our journey of creating an ODA is to create the runtime project. We need to create the runtime project before the UI or the UI project will complain that it can't find the runtime. To do this we need to open up eclipse and go to File > New > Project and find “ODA Runtime Driver Plug-in Project” inside of “Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools”.

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Then we'll need to name the runtime project. For this blog I'll be using developer.actuate.oda.blog.runtime

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Click “Next” then we can tell the wizard what the name of our ODA will be. This name will appear in the ODA creation UI.

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In the next screen make sure to select “ODA Data Source Runtime Driver” then finish.

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Once this has all been completed you should see the runtime project in your workspace. We'll now repeat the same steps for the UI.

Go to File > New > Project and select “ODA Designer Plug-in Project”

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For this project name we'll be using developer.actuate.oda.blog.ui

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Again, we'll need to name the project.

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Just like before, we'll need to make sure and choose the correct project type.

Then click finish. You should now have two projects in your workspace. One for the runtime and the other for the UI. We need to make two small changes to the UI project before we can run this. First, open up “MANIFEST.MF” located under META-INF in the UI project. Then click of the “MANIFEST.MF” tab. Replace line 11 with
Then open CustomDataSetWizardPage.java and change line 243 to this
IDriver customDriver = new developer.actuate.oda.blog.runtime.impl.Driver();
Now we can test our new ODA by pressining Ctrl+F11 from within that same java code and selecting “Eclipse Application.” Go ahead and create a BIRT project inside the new eclipse instance that just opened up and create a design. You can now see the beginnings of your ODA when you create a new data source.

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And that's it! At least for now :) As you can see from today's blog, BIRT takes care off all that pesky setup and let's us jump right into having a barebones ODA that dosn't do much until we start to make our changes, which will be covered in next week's blog discussing the ODA UI creation.

I'll wait to post example code until next week when we have something more substational to run, for now, the wizard will help get you this far. If you're waiting for the next post in this series, take a look at the code, break some stuff, fix that stuff, and have fun with it!


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BIRT Usergroup Mannheim Meets November 21st

Posted by Virgil in BIRT Evangelist Blog, 04 November 2013 - - - - - - · 8357 views
BIRT, BUG, Germany

If you will be in or around the Mannheim, Germany area on November 21, I encourage you to take some time to attend the next Mannheim BIRT User Group meeting (BUG Mannheim). It should be a great experience for all participants where you'll be able to connect with other BIRT users in the area as well as share and learn some cool things about BIRT!

The meeting will take place on November 21, 2013 starting at 6pm German time at OIO http://www.oio.de in Mannheim, Weinheimer Strasse 68. Food and drink will be available and attendance is free.
For directions see: http://goo.gl/hTVYK

Please register so they'll know to expect you: https://www.xing.com...annheim-1317629


Actuate Customer Days 2013 - Coming soon to a city near you!

Posted by Ray Gans in Community BIRT, 07 October 2013 - - - - - - · 8055 views

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Between November 7 and December 4, 2013 Actuate Customer Days is coming to cities around the world.

It's not too late to register for one of these free and informative all day events.

Whether you are an Actuate customer or an open source BIRT user, Actuate Customer Days is a great opportunity for managers, developers and analysts to improve their knowledge and skills, learn more about the future of BIRT, and find out what Actuate's commercial enhancements bring to the table.

You can customize your experience based on your learning needs. Discover tricks and tips about designing for visualization and application integration in the "Developing with BIRT" track, or explore the latest updates in the "What's New in BIRT iHub" track.

What to Expect at Actuate Customer Days 2013
  • Annual keynote with Actuate CEO Pete Cittadini
  • Tips and tricks for BIRT development
  • What’s new at Actuate – latest features and demos
  • Big data and business analytics – maximizing for personalized insights
  • Live customer successes delivering value with BIRT
  • Networking with peers, Actuate management, BIRT experts and the BIRT developer community
To Register
Click on the city of your choice below:


Stephen Few Student Performance Dashboard using BIRT

Posted by mblock in BIRT Blocks, 10 May 2013 - - - - - - · 8852 views

Stephen Few is a visualization expert and the author of some books on the topic including 'Show Me the Numbers'

Last year he had a competion to design a dashboard on class performance based on data he provided. The winner was announce last year ( http://www.perceptua...om/blog/?p=1374 ). I was challenged by my manager to build the winning dashboard from the competition last year in BIRT (Disclaimer: I am an Actuate employee) as Stephen Few was presenting at our customer days. As one would expect I was not given much warning (asked Monday night, needed to deliver by Wednesday). As I always love a challenge of course I said no problem. Below is a link to a live report and an image of the result.


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Stephen has published his own solution ( http://www.perceptua...om/blog/?p=1466 ). I thought I would build that too (was a bit more challenging). Again below is a link to a live reportand an image of the result.


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The report designs can be found here:



10 Jaw-dropping Visualizations in Your BIRT Application

Posted by dmelcher in dmelcher's BIRT Blog, 04 March 2013 - - - - - - · 7915 views

I recently had the honor to present at last week's Big Data for Defense and Government conference. My presentation showed 10 jaw-dropping visualizations along with other application and workflow visualizations. I'm attaching my PowerPoint slides that contain screenshots of these visualizations. In the Notes section, I discuss the different attributes that make these visualizations relevant to us all. I hope you find this collection helpful and inspiring.

Attached File  Actuate Data Visualization - 20130301.zip (2.97MB)
downloads: 30595


Generate report with twin pages in different language

Posted by Mad1s0n in BIRT by the rules, 27 December 2012 - - - - - - · 8741 views

The following piece of code shows how to design a report that prints the same report on a landscape page in two different languages (english on the left, french on the right for the example).
The report is run twice with a different default language and is merged using iText.

public static void main(String[] args) {

buildDiptychReport(new File("c:/template1.rptdesign"),
                   new File("c:/template2.rptdesign"),


public void buildDipthychReport(File templateLeft,
                                  File templateRight,
                                  Locale leftLocale,
                                  Locale rightLocale) {
    try {
        ByteArrayOutputStream reportLeft = createTask(
        ByteArrayOutputStream reportRight = createTask(
        File finalReport = new File("c:/finalReport.pdf")
        FileOutputStream fos = new FileOutputStream(finalReport);
        PdfReader readerLeft = new PdfReader(reportLeft.toByteArray());
        PdfReader readerRight = new PdfReader(reportRight.toByteArray());
        Document document = new Document(PageSize.A4.rotate(), 0, 0, 0, 0);
        PdfWriter writer = PdfWriter.getInstance(document, fos);
        int leftPageNumber = readerLeft.getNumberOfPages();
        int rightPageNumber = readerRight.getNumberOfPages();
        int pageNumber = Math.max(leftPageNumber, rightPageNumber);
        for (int i = 1; i <= pageNumber; i++) {
            PdfPTable table = new PdfPTable(2);
            if (i <= leftPageNumber) {
                PdfImportedPage importedPageLeft = writer.getImportedPage(readerLeft, i);
                Image leftSide = Image.getInstance(importedPageLeft);
            } else {
            if (i <= rightPageNumber) {
                PdfImportedPage importedPageRight = writer.getImportedPage(readerRight, i);
                Image rightSide = Image.getInstance(importedPageRight);
            } else {
    } catch (Exception e) {

private ByteArrayOutputStream createTask(File report, Locale locale) throws FileNotFoundException, EngineException {
    ByteArrayOutputStream bos = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
    IReportRunnable design = getEngine().openReportDesign(new FileInputStream(report));
    IRunAndRenderTask task = getEngine().createRunAndRenderTask(design);
    RenderOption options;
    options = new PDFRenderOption();
    return bos;


BIRT at Eclipse Demo Camp Juno 2012

Posted by averma in BIRT Rocks!, 08 June 2012 - - - - - - · 16415 views

I was awarded a speaking slot at the Eclipse Demo Camp Juno 2012 next week on Wednesday, June 13 at Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores, CA. This is a great opportunity to network and learn about various technologies that makes Eclipse a great development platform. I will give an introduction to BIRT and talk about how you can integrate it into your applications. The event is completely free to attend and snacks and drinks are provided. Sounds like fun to me, are you in?

Cick on this link to find details and register for the event


Chart, Table and their dataset

Posted by dzish in dzish's Blog, 22 March 2012 - - - - - - · 16620 views

I had strange behaviour when one DataItem in table showed result from dataset and next day there was empty space. What's the matter?

The dataitem is binded with computed column in dataset which has default value empty string. And onFetch event writes an localized string. Because of some request I needed to change binding of my chart from table direct to dataset. And it was "the apple of discort". Now is computed column fetching only for chart not for table. And that's why in table is empty string.

My result is to make another simpler dataset for chart.


BIRT-Talk, A collaboratively edited question and answer site for BIRT

Posted by Megha Nidhi Dahal in Arpan's Blog, 30 December 2011 - - - - - - · 17754 views

Hello Community,

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year 2012 in advance. I'm sure that the coming year will witness a lot of progress in BIRT.

Now, as we are moving ahead year by year, BIRT also has gained immense popularity amongst different sections of people, ranging from a developer to the executive level. Developers like BIRT as it is very flexible, extensible and integrable. While people at the executive level like BIRT because of its rich dash-boarding capabilities and interactivity.

One instance of BIRT's popularity can be understood by looking at the growing number of publications made on BIRT and also by observing new Q&A forums on BIRT.

My intention of writing this post apart from the new year wishes is to introduce you all to a new site on BIRT. BIRT-talk is a Q&A forum on BIRT just like the BIRT-Exchange. Though the site is limited only with Q&A unlike BIRT-Exchange where we have DevShare and blogs, I find the look and feel very appealing and intuitive.

Now as a member of the community, we can help each other by getting ourselves associated with it. We can ask questions, answer the ones that we know and so on.

So here's the site BIRT-talk.com. Go through it and share your questions as a comment to this blog.

Best Regards
Megha Nidhi Dahal


Bangalore BIRT Roadshow

Posted by rmurphy in Adventures with BIRT, 30 September 2011 - - - - - - · 18783 views

A couple of months ago I was asked if I could go to India as part of the BIRT Roadshow. For me, this was a no brainer. I love to talk about BIRT, and this was a chance for me to return to a part of India that I have visited in the past. My previous trip to Bangalore was in 2009 was spent working with several companies that were interested in learning BIRT and building a solid foundation from which to build business practices. Over the two years since my last visit I have seen steady growth in the number of people in India who are leveraging BIRT in applications they are building and have had a chance to work with many of them.
As I began working with the team responsible for organizing the event I was told that this could easily be the biggest BIRT Roadshow yet. My part included giving a series of three different presentations. The first was a general overview and history of the BIRT project, next an overview of the emerging marketplace trends, and finally an overview of how Actuate is responding to the market trends with its value add products. Now, I have given some form of these presentations before to audiences around the United States and Europe. When I saw the setup for the room, I was blown away. The team told me this was big, but WOW, this is REALLY BIG.

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The day of the event, we are all there bright and early to get everything setup and do sound checks. Once everything was setup we were already getting a chance to interact with some of the people attending the show. From some of the questions we were getting, and the number of people expressing their appreciation for Actuate making BIRT, I knew that BIRT had definitely taken off in India since my last visit.
The show started with an executive overview from Pete Cittadini including awards for some very active contributors in the BIRT Community. As I took the stage with one of Actuate?s best technical presenters and product demonstrators, Mark Gamble, it was clear that this was going to be a great event. For all the presentations I have done, I have never had such a large audience as engaged and energetic as the audience was in Bangalore.

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We did have a technical glitch related to our network during the presentation that cost us valuable question and answer time. However, immediately at the close of the presentation large sections of the audience came forward with lots of great questions. It was so exciting to hear all the great things people are doing with BIRT. Both Mark and I were completely surrounded with people wanting more information and to answer questions related to their project.

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As a member of the Actuate team that first started working with developers and partners in India several years ago, it is very rewarding to see such growth in the use of BIRT and Actuate?s commitment towards future success. Part of this commitment from Actuate can be seen in the team on the ground in India, headed up by Sandip Sharma and Nilesh Karania, working with the folks from all over the country on a daily basis.

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There's a Community Manager for BIRT Exchange?

Posted by Ray Gans in BIRT-ing Out Loud, 21 July 2009 - - - - - - · 7494 views

Who is this Ray Gans? Isn't he a Java guy?

It feels like introductions are in order. Actuate created the opportunity for a BIRT Exchange Community Manager and here I am to fill the bill. Okay, it wasn't quite as simple as that, but close enough. My recent background is within the Java Open Source Community. I led the core team at Sun Microsystems responsible for moving Java SE to open source.

Now that I'm with Actuate, my role within the BIRT community will be to build new and cool ways for you to participate, help you have a strong voice in BIRT development, coordinate community events and activities, and in turn, take the community feedback and activity to Actuate.

5 Fun Facts about Ray
  • Loves fine wines and cheeses (well, not blue cheese)
  • Boardgamer extraordinaire (especially cooperative games)
  • Shameless iPhone fanboy
  • Descendant of England"s King Richard the Lionheart
  • Happily married to Jayne and living in San Jose, CA

To help me acclimate here, I'm interested in your thoughts and opinions on BIRT and the BIRT Community. You can leave feedback for me from my contact info here. I look forward to working with you to continue evolving this community and BIRT to suit your needs.

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