BIRT 2.6 Data Analysis and Reporting
BIRTis an open source business intelligence and reporting tool, built on top of the
Eclipse Framework. BIRTis used by developers for building reports that can best
represent data and tell a story of that data that is easy to follow. In addition, BIRTcan be
integrated into a product, to allow that product to provide reporting capabilities. This
book will walk the user through the basics of building reports with BIRTand introduce
them to the various sections of the BIRTenvironment.
What This Book Covers
Chapter 1, Getting Started, is an introduction to BIRT. It gives the reader an idea of the
BIRTfeatures, community landscape, and the various websites out there that are
dedicated to BIRT.
Chapter 2, Installing BIRT, guides the user through the various ways of installing BIRT.
Chapter 3, The BIRTEnvironment and First Report, introduces the BIRTworkspace
environment by walking the reader through a simple report example.
Chapter 4, Visual Report Items, presents us with various visual report items that are
available for use in a report design.
Chapter 5, Working with Data, discusses how to retrieve data from databases, fl at text
files, web services, and other data sources.
Chapter 6, Report Parameters, explains how to get input from the report user, along with
how to apply these report parameters in filtering data.
Chapter 7, Report Projects and Libraries, looks at reusing report sections and sharing
resources through libraries and report projects.
Chapter 8, Charts, Hyperlinks, and Drilldowns, shows how to build summary data using
charts and linking sections of charts to reports. In addition, hyperlinking used in online
reports to link and show detailed data in other reports is discussed here.
Chapter 9, Scripting and Event Handling, discusses report generation through event
expressions. Some advanced scripting examples are provided based on common requests.
Chapter 10, Deployment, looks at how does a developer can get reports out into the world
Charts, Hyperlinks, and Drilldowns
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the world of reporting,
we call these pictures as Charts. With the help of charts, one can present a large
amount of data with relative ease, in comparison to presenting with the help of huge
data outputs. Charts are useful when used with raw data to drive home points such
as percentages, or when used with other charts to build dashboards.
BIRThas an exceptional charting engine. BIRTcan create a number of different Chart
types, including the tried and tested pie chart, bar chart, and line charts. In addition,
there are several other chart types that were extras to BIRT’s commercial counterpart
such as the Meter Chart and Gantt chart.
In the following sections, we are going to look at building a few different charts
centered around employee sales performance. First, we will build a pie chart that
will illustrate the top employees based on sales. We will then create a gauge chart
that will show the progress an employee has made to meet a quota. Finally, we
will create a bar chart that will show sales performance for employees across a
In the following exercise, we are going to look at how to build a pie chart. A pie
chart is a very common report type used in business to display percentages. In
this example, we will create a pie chart to show what percentage an employee
contributed to the total amount of sales. This will give us a visual representation of
who the top employees are in terms of sales.
- Create a new report titled Employee_Sales_Percentage.rptDesign.
- From the ClassicCarsLibrary.rptDesign library, add the dsClassicCars
data source to the report.
- Create a new dataset called totalSales using the following query:
- Create two report parameters called startDate and endDate as date
types and link them to the two report parameters. Use 2005-01-01 as the
startDate’s default value, and 2005-05-01 as the endDate’s default value.
- Drag a chart component from the Palette to the Report Designer.
- In the Chart dialog, select Pie chart. Change the Output format from SVG
to PNG. Typically, iuse either PNG or JPEG, as SVG is not a universally
supported format. However, SVG does have a distinct advantage over
both PNG and JPEG in that SVG images are smaller in size due to the
format’s vector nature.
- Open the Select Data tab. Under the Select Data section, select Use Data Set
and choose the totalSales dataset.
- We can drag the column headers from the dataset to the slice definitions.
Drag the SALES column to the Slice Size Definition and the NAME column
to the Category Definition. To make selecting the correct header easier, we
can use the Show data preview checkbox to see what data is in each column.
Without it, the preview box will show only the column names.
- Select the Format Chart tab. Under the Title section, enter Employee Sales
Percentages as the chart title. In this editor, we change how the chart looks
- Click Finish.
- Resize the chart to take up report page. This can be done by dragging
the corner of the chart or by entering the height and width values in
the property editor.
- The chart will look something like the following screenshot when previewed:
CLASSICMODELS.EMPLOYEES.LASTNAME || ‘, ‘ || CLASSICMODELS.
and CLASSICMODELS.ORDERS.CUSTOMERNUMBER = CLASSICMODELS.
and CLASSICMODELS.ORDERDETAILS.ORDERNUMBER = CLASSICMODELS.
and CLASSICMODELS.ORDERS.ORDERDATE between ? and ?
So, we have built a fairly simple report so far. This report is a pie chart with a legend
that shows us the employee’s color code, with an excerpt that shows us the value of
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