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Little-Known But Useful BIRT Extension Points

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Jason Weathersby and Tom Bondur, two of the authors of Integrating and Extending BIRT, Second Edition, show how to work with some extension points that you might not yet have discovered, in order to create and deploy BIRT designs.
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The Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project is an open source IDE for building and deploying reports in a Java/J2EE environment. BIRT offers the following downloadable packages:

  • BIRT Designer. IDE for creating a report design.
  • Web Viewer. Sample J2EE application that delivers a generated document for viewing
  • JSP tag library. Simplifies integration with an existing web application
  • BIRT Charting package. Enables the developer to build sophisticated interactive charts.

BIRT is an architected tool that uses the Eclipse plug-in framework. This framework allows a developer to customize the tool by using predefined extension points. While most BIRT developers are aware of the major extension points, many little-known extension points can be useful when creating and deploying BIRT designs. In this article, we describe several use cases and show how to implement some of these minor extension points.

Many BIRT articles and books discuss customizing the major extension points for report items, Open Data Access (ODA) drivers, emitters, and charts. Less information is available on the minor extension points. These interfaces generally require very little code to implement. The following table describes the minor extension points covered in this article.

Little-Known BIRT Extension Points


Extension Point


Script function service


Extends the Expression Builder function list



Extends the list of BIRT aggregate functions

Driver bridge


Intercepts data-source driver calls

Encryption helper


Changes the BIRT encryption algorithm

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