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Visualizing Tax Day

Posted by Fred_Sandsmark in Fred Sandsmark's BIRT Blog, 15 April 2014 - * * * * * · 367 views
BIRT, Visualization

Visualizing Tax Day It’s April 15, and in the United States that means one thing: Taxes.

Federal income tax returns are due with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. The IRS says about 35 million Americans have waited until the final week to submit their tax returns this year, so lots of us have taxes on the brain right now.

Being taxman isn’t a job for the insecure. In 2013, 40 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of the IRS. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, the IRS is a data geek’s dream source. By law, huge volumes of tax data are public record and available online. It’s yours to play with; after all, you paid for it.

If you want to dig into some of this data—and analyze and visualize it with BIRT—start with the 2011 ZIP Code Data from the IRS’s Statistics of Income (SOI) division. In a single 93-MB CSV file, you get data from all tax returns filed between January 1 and December 31, 2012 (the most recent completed year), tallied by ZIP Code.

That file contains the usual data that makes up tax returns, such as adjusted gross income (AGI), interest and dividend income, charitable contributions, mortgage interest paid, total tax liability, population, and much more. It’s aggregate data, so you can’t look up how much your next-door neighbor earns; still, it can give you a big-picture view of major forces in the American economy. And the data quality is very high; indeed, the IRS (and 13 other federal statistical agencies) have set demanding professional standards for themselves regarding data quality and scientific integrity.

What are some things you might do with IRS data? Here’s one example: You’re a developer for a brokerage firm, making an application to help your clients interpret their dividends. (At Actuate, we call that a customer-facing application, or CFA.) Your app could compare qualified dividends from the IRS data (an external data source) with that of your client (your internal data), and personalize that information by letting client compare their dividends with those earned by others in their own ZIP Code or state. This personalized analytics capability can be embedded in both web-based and mobile apps.

And that's just one example. BIRT lets you group and aggregate data and create meaningful visualizations, including tables, charts, crosstabs, and maps. So you could create a map showing which states have the most farms or self-employed people, like so:

Attached Image (T
exans filed the most farm tax returns in 2012, according to IRS data. Click the map for a larger view.)

And because BIRT allows for multiple data sources, you could download the ZIP Code dataset from previous years (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 are available, and more are coming) and explore how different data points change over time.

BIRT data sources don’t have to be the same type of data; with BIRT you can access data from multiple sources, so you could connect to government economic data (using the Department of Commerce’s Data API) and combine it with IRS tax data to look for correlations.

Who knows—you might discover a hidden connection or trend that can make or save money for you or your company.

I’d love to hear from developers who are using BIRT on projects that use government data. Leave a comment or send email to FSandsmark@actuate.com.

(Coins image from taxcredit.net)


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Take Me Out to the Data

Posted by msinger in Michael Singer's BIRT Blog, 11 April 2014 - - - - - - · 658 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.

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BIRT and Cloudera: Give Your Hadoop Data Meaning

Posted by mwilliams in Michael's BIRT Blog, 10 April 2014 - - - - - - · 851 views
Cloudera, Hive, HQL, Hadoop and 3 more...

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BIRT and BIRT iHub are now certified with Cloudera 5!

What is Cloudera?

For those that don't know, Cloudera Enterprise 5 is one of the industry-leading Hadoop data management platforms. It provides a single integrated platform for bringing diverse users and application workloads to a common infrastructure with security, enterprise-grade data auditing, fault tolerance, automated data backup, system and data management, and more.

Download Cloudera

Why is this Certification Important?

With BIRT Designer Professional and BIRT iHub now certified with Cloudera 5, it becomes easy to rapidly gather, filter, and analyze massive amounts of data. This allows for critical insights to be formulated and quickly communicated with end users through meaningful and interactive BIRT-based visualizations. All you have to do is connect to your Hadoop data via HiveServer2 or Cloudera Impala.

Loading Your Data

Data from HDFS can be loaded into your Cloudera HiveServer2 in several different ways. For running HQL queries through the command terminal, you have by simply typing "beeline" into the terminal and then connecting with your database url, as seen in the image below:

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Or you can use the Hue interface within Cloudera Manager to manage HDFS and run Hive and Impala queries.

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Connecting to Your Data

Now that you have data loaded into your HiveServer2, you can either write queries against that data from the terminal or Hue, as seen in the image above. Or, you can use a tool like BIRT to grab the data via a JDBC connection and turn it into something meaningful for your end users.

BIRT Designer Professional has a Cloudera specific data source. With open source BIRT, you'd use the JDBC data source. In this blog, I'm using BIRT Designer Professional.

Download BIRT

First things first, grab the 0.12.0 Hive2 jars from your Cloudera install and add them to your BIRT install in the folder <BDPro location>/eclipse/plugins/org.eclipse.birt.report.data.oda.jdbc_4.2.3.v20131216-0430/drivers/. In the Cloudera VM I used, these were located at /opt/cloudera/parcels/CDH/lib/hive/lib/.

Now, all we do is create a new data source in BIRT and choose the Cloudera Hive Data Source type.

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Next, you'll enter your connection information and test to make sure you're able to connect to your server. In the below image, a connection to the HiveServer2 is made. If you were wanting to connect via Impala, you'd use a URL like: jdbc:hive2://192.168.40.130:21050/;auth=noSasl

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With your connection made, you can now create a data set using this data source and write your HQL queries.

What Now?

Now that you're able to connect to your data, it's just BIRT. Just as with any other data, you can do further computations and joins, create tables, charts, crosstabs, etc. to display your data in the way that is useful to your end user. Then, you deploy the reports to make them accessible to your users.

For the certification, I took these reports and deployed them to my BIRT iHub3 and scheduled 20 reports to run against HiveServer2 and Impala performing various HQL query functions. For those that don't know about iHub, it's a very powerful BIRT based platform that provides security, scheduling, distribution, interactivity, and more. To learn more about iHub, see the product page. You can download a free trial here to experience all that Actuate and BIRT can do for you and your Cloudera-managed Hadoop data.

If you have questions about using BIRT with Cloudera, feel free to post questions/comments in the blog comment section or ask questions in the community forums. Thanks for reading.

-Michael

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Creating a custom ODA (Part 1)

Posted by kclark in kclark's BIRT Blog, 04 April 2014 - - - - - - · 1253 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
developer.actuate.oda.blog.runtime
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!

-Kris

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BIRT Usergroup Mannheim Meets November 21st

Posted by Virgil in BIRT Evangelist Blog, 04 November 2013 - - - - - - · 4424 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


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

Posted by Ray Gans in Community BIRT, 07 October 2013 - - - - - - · 4745 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:

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Stephen Few Student Performance Dashboard using BIRT

Posted by mblock in BIRT Blocks, 10 May 2013 - - - - - - · 4560 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.

http://poc.actuate.com/few/winner

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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.

http://poc.actuate.com/few/stephen

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The report designs can be found here:

http://www.birt-exch...ard-using-birt/

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10 Jaw-dropping Visualizations in Your BIRT Application

Posted by dmelcher in dmelcher's BIRT Blog, 04 March 2013 - - - - - - · 4620 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: 570

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Generate report with twin pages in different language

Posted by Mad1s0n in BIRT by the rules, 27 December 2012 - - - - - - · 4578 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"),
                   Locale.ENGLISH,
                   Locale.FRENCH

}

public void buildDipthychReport(File templateLeft,
                                  File templateRight,
                                  Locale leftLocale,
                                  Locale rightLocale) {
    try {
        ByteArrayOutputStream reportLeft = createTask(
                templateLeft,
                leftLocale);
        ByteArrayOutputStream reportRight = createTask(
                templateRight,
                rightLocale);
        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);
        document.open();
        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);
            table.setWidthPercentage(100);
            if (i <= leftPageNumber) {
                PdfImportedPage importedPageLeft = writer.getImportedPage(readerLeft, i);
                Image leftSide = Image.getInstance(importedPageLeft);
                leftSide.setBorder(0);
                table.addCell(leftSide);
            } else {
                table.addCell("");
            }
            if (i <= rightPageNumber) {
                PdfImportedPage importedPageRight = writer.getImportedPage(readerRight, i);
                Image rightSide = Image.getInstance(importedPageRight);
                rightSide.setBorder(0);
                table.addCell(rightSide);
            } else {
                table.addCell("");
            }
            document.add(table);
            document.newPage();
        }
        document.close();
        fos.flush();
        fos.close();
    } catch (Exception e) {
        e.printStackTrace();
    }
}

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();
    options.setOutputStream(bos);
    options.setOutputFormat("pdf");
    task.setRenderOption(options);
    task.setLocale(locale);
    task.run();
    task.close();
    return bos;
}


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BIRT at Eclipse Demo Camp Juno 2012

Posted by averma in BIRT Rocks!, 08 June 2012 - - - - - - · 5684 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

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Chart, Table and their dataset

Posted by dzish in dzish's Blog, 22 March 2012 - - - - - - · 5428 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.

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

Posted by Megha Nidhi Dahal in Arpan's Blog, 30 December 2011 - - - - - - · 5580 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

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Bangalore BIRT Roadshow

Posted by rmurphy in Adventures with BIRT, 30 September 2011 - - - - - - · 5704 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 - - - - - - · 4321 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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