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Birt: A Field Guide to Reporting (Eclipse (Addison-Wesley)) [Paperback]

Diana Peh , Alethea Hannemann , Nola Hague
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

26 Oct 2006 0321442598 978-0321442598 1

A new edition of this title is available, ISBN-10: 0321580273 ISBN-13: 9780321580276


The first in a two-book series about Business Intelligence and Reporting Technology, BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting introduces reporting to a broad base of users. Built on the Eclipse platform, this exciting technology makes it possible for programmers and non-programmers to build and deploy complex reports with minimal effort.

BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting presents information about how to develop and customize reports of progressive complexity using BIRT Report Designer. This tool was designed from the ground up for Web applications and uses a Web page-oriented design metaphor in contrast to older banded report writers that were developed before the advent of the Internet. This unique approach to report creation makes BIRT an approachable and effective tool for developers of all levels.

Report designs discussed include

  • Listing reports that include sorting, grouping, and totals
  • Summary reports, such as top N reports
  • Charts, including pie, line, bar, and gauge charts
  • Master-detail reports

Other topics discussed include

  • Understanding the technology
  • Planning report designs
  • Accessing data
  • Laying out and formatting reports
  • Building charts
  • Enhancing reports with interactive viewing, shared libraries, and localized text
  • Preparing reports for international data

Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (26 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321442598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321442598
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,587,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

The authors are members of the extended BIRT development team and have backgrounds in both computer science and technical writing. Collectively, they have 165 years of technical consulting, training, writing, and publishing experience about reporting, business intelligence tools, and database technologies. They have published forty-two titles on these topics through numerous editions.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can't see the woods for the trees 25 April 2009
By Sailor
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
BIRT is an important and exciting technology but unfortunately this book doesn't do it justice. It's a classic example of why software developers are rarely the right people to write the manual. What you get here is vast detail at the "click this, then this" level which few using BIRT are likely to need, but little that allows you to survey the concepts and facilities, which is precisely what you do need. There must be a good book on BIRT waiting to be written but this isn't it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars birt - a field guide: the title speaks for itself 30 Dec 2006
By Jeanne Boyarsky - Published on
"BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting" is a great tutorial for learning how to use BIRT. BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools" is described including its relationship to Eclipse. After covering how to install BIRT, the book goes into great detail on how to use the report designer.

The target audience should be familiar with HTML, SQL and JavaScript as stated in the introduction. The book describes functions used, but you are expected to know the basic syntax.

As expected, the book covers how to use each of the features of BIRT. They are all described with step by step instructions. There are also a few tutorials walking you through the process from start to finish. I liked the "how to" style for tasks.

The book includes tips on how to plan a report and what to consider. It also includes common code snippets that you may want to use and lists available functions.

I was particularly impressed with the abundance of screenshots and the excellent glossary. If you are thinking about using BIRT, this book is a valuable addition to your library.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible power at an exceptional price... free! 28 Nov 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Every once in awhile, I get to review a book on a technology or software package I've not heard of before. That was the case with BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting by Diana Peh, Alethea Hannemann, and Nola Hague. I'm stunned at the quality and depth of this open-source Eclipse reporting tool. Oh, and the book's pretty good, too... :)


Part 1 - Installing BIRT: Prerequisites for BIRT; Installing a BIRT Report Designer; Updating a BIRT Installation

Part 2 - Getting Started: Learning the Basics; Planning Your Report

Part 3 - Connecting to a Data Source; Retrieving Data; Binding Data

Part 4 - Designing Reports: Laying Out a Report; Displaying Text; Formatting Report Content; Sorting and Grouping Data; Aggregating Data; Writing Expressions; Filtering Data; Enabling the User to Filter Data; Building a Report That Contains Subreports; Using a Chart in a Report; Displaying Data in Charts; Laying Out and Formatting a Chart

Part 5 - Enhancing Reports: Designing a Multipage Report; Adding Interactive Viewing Features; Building a Shared Report Development Framework; Localizing Text; Glossary; Index

BIRT stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools, and it runs on the Eclipse platform. Running as a plug-in or using the Rich Client Platform, BIRT will allow the user to create reports from various data sources like JDBC-enabled databases, text files, and XML files. The authors start out with the basics on how to download and install the software (it's dead simple). Then using a few tutorial exercises and plenty of screen prints, they walk you through the basics of connecting to a data source and building a report. The features available in BIRT seem endless, and I was completely amazed at the quality and depth that the software offers for both simple and complex report generation. Throughout the entire read, I kept thinking about a number of applications I wanted to try this out on. Normally to get something of this magnitude, you have to buy reporting packages that cost thousands. Peh, Hannemann, and Hague have completely twisted my world view when it comes to reporting. Great job!

The only thing that wasn't covered too much was how to roll this out to an end-user base without having to make your audience experts in Eclipse. It seems as if there must be some way to package these reports up to shield the user from the internals. There's a follow-on book that covers integration and extension of BIRT, and I'm hoping that deployment is covered more there. But that in no way takes away from the value and quality of what the authors did here...

This is subject matter that has me excited for some potentially cool applications. If things work the way I hope they will, I'll owe a debt of gratitude to this book...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birt Book review 18 Dec 2007
By F. Wilson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book arrived in a timely manner. It was just what I needed. It help me develop reports and graphs that impressed my boss right away. Birt will be very competitive to high cost vendor solutions for business intelligence reporting. Right now it is a sleeper, best kept secret.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Required 28 Nov 2006
By Brian C. Decamp - Published on
Purchasing this book is a great way to reward the authors and publishers. While this may be a noble cause, it is not necessary for you to understand BIRT. The software is so powerful and easy to install and use, that a user guide is not necessary for most developers. After installing BIRT you'll find most of the contents of this book in the Help documents under "BIRT Report Developer Guide -> Field Guide To BIRT". Here's how the TOCs line up:

Book TOC only:
Planning your Report

Book TOC and Help TOC:
Learning the Basics
Connecting to Datasource
Retrieving Data
Binding Data
Laying Out a Report
Displaying Text
Formatting Report Content
Sorting and Grouping Data
Aggregating Data
Writing Expresssions
Filtering Data
Enabling User to Filter
Reports with Subreports
Using a Chart in a Report
Displaying Data in Charts
Chart Layout / Formatting
Designing a Multipage Report
Add Interactive Features
Shared Development Framework
Localizing Text

Help TOC only:
Scripting in Report Design
JavaScript Event Handlers
Java Event Handlers
Scripting Reference

If you would rather read this information on paper than the help documents, I recommend this book. If you can install it and use a help page, don't bother.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for using BIRT 21 Oct 2012
By Steven - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you use or have an application that uses BIRT for reporting, get this book! The authors have done a great job in going through how to use BIRT and generate rich and useful reports. I was originally using BIRT to pull some reports for some applications from an administrative side that the applications couldn't provide themselves and has this book really helped me make those reports come alive. I also discovered that with one of the applications I administer, it now has BIRT built into it with the latest version. The information I obtained from this book really allowed me to make the most of those reports.
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