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BIRT: A Field Guide, 3rd Edition

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BIRT: A Field Guide, 3rd Edition

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  • Copyright 2011
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Edition: 3rd
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-265725-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-265725-9

More than ten million people have downloaded BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) from the Eclipse web site, and more than one million developers are estimated to be using BIRT. Built on the open source Eclipse platform, BIRT is a powerful report development system that provides an end-to-end solution–from creating and deploying reports to integrating report capabilities in enterprise applications.

The first in a two-book series about this exciting technology, BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting, Third Edition, is the authoritative guide to using BIRT Report Designer, the graphical tool that enables users of all levels to build reports, from simple to complex, without programming.

This book is an essential resource for users who want to create presentation-quality reports quickly. The extensive examples, step-by-step instructions, and abundant illustrations help new users develop report design skills. Power users can find the information they need to make the most of the product’s rich set of features to build sophisticated and compelling reports.

Readers of this book learn how to

  • Design effective corporate reports that convey complex business information using images, charts, tables, and cross tabs
  • Build reports using data from multiple sources, including databases, spreadsheets, web services, and XML documents
  • Enliven reports with interactive features, such as hyperlinks, tooltips, and highlighting
  • Create reports using a consistent style, and, drawing on templates and libraries of reusable elements, collaborate with other report designers
  • Localize reports for an international audience

The third edition, newly revised, adds updated examples, contains close to 1,000 new and replacement screenshots, and covers all the new and improved product features, including

  • Result-set sharing to create dashboard-style reports
  • Data collation conforming to local conventions
  • Using cube data in charts, new chart types, and functionality
  • Displaying bidirectional text, used in right-to-left languages
  • Numerous enhancements to cross tabs, page management, and report layout

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword      xix
Preface      xxiii
Acknowledgments     xxix

Part I: Installing BIRT      1

Chapter 1: Introducing BIRT Report Designers      3

Understanding BIRT components      3
Understanding Eclipse BIRT packages      4
About types of BIRT builds     5

Chapter 2: Installing a BIRT Report Designer      7

Installing BIRT Report Designer Full Eclipse Install       7
Installing BIRT RCP Report Designer      8
Troubleshooting installation problems     9
Installing a language pack       10
Updating a BIRT Report Designer installation     11
Updating BIRT RCP Report Designer installation     12

Part II: Getting Started      15

Chapter 3: Learning the Basics     17

About BIRT reports     17
Overview of the report design process     17
About the report design environment      19
Tutorial 1: Building a simple listing report     24
About report files and supported formats      45
Viewing sample reports     48

Chapter 4: Planning Your Report      51

Identifying the content of the report      52
Determining how the report will be viewed      53
Considering international reporting requirements     54
Deciding the layout and format of the report     54
Drawing a mock-up       56
Considering reuse of report components     56
Managing report design resources      57
Deciding how the report will be deployed     57

Part III: Accessing and Binding Data      59

Chapter 5: Connecting to a Data Source       61

About BIRT data sources      61
Connecting to a database using JDBC      62
Connecting to a text file     68
Connecting to an XML file      70
Connecting to a web service     72
Creating reusable data sources      73
Setting connection properties when a report runs     77
Troubleshooting data source problems     84

Chapter 6: Retrieving Data     85

About data sets      85
Selecting data      86
Viewing and changing output columns      107
Adding a computed field to a data set      108
Joining data sets     110
Verifying the data returned by a data set     112
Specifying the data to retrieve at run time     113

Chapter 7: Binding Data     117

Understanding column bindings     117
Creating column bindings     120
Editing and deleting column bindings     122
Copying data elements     123
More about column-binding expressions      124

Part IV: Designing Reports     125

Chapter 8: Laying Out a Report      127

Understanding the layout model      127
Creating the sections of a report      130
Placing report elements      138

Chapter 9: Displaying Text      149

Types of textual elements      149
Deciding which textual element to use      151
Using a dynamic text element     153
Using a label element     155
Using a text element       155
Displaying text from right to left      159

Chapter 10: Formatting Report Content     163

Formatting data     164
Formatting with styles     171
Formatting data based on conditions      181
Alternating row colors in a table     186
Specifying alignment of content in a table or grid      189
Adjusting the spacing of content in a report      190
Specifying auto-expand layout for HTML output      195
Displaying data values in one row     197
Displaying content across multiple columns     200
Specifying alternate values for display     202
Hiding elements based on conditions     204

Chapter 11: Sorting and Grouping Data 207

Sorting data     208
Grouping     213
Tutorial 2: Grouping report data      232

Chapter 12: Aggregating Data       253

Types of aggregate calculations     254
Placing aggregate data     257
Creating an aggregation     259
Filtering aggregate data     265
Calculating percentages     267
Creating a summary report     271

Chapter 13: Writing Expressions     277

Basic concepts      278
Using the expression builder      279
Manipulating numeric data      282
Manipulating string data     285
Manipulating date-and-time data      294
Using Boolean expressions      297

Chapter 14: Filtering Data       299

Filtering opportunities     299
Specifying conditions on row retrieval     300
Filtering data after row retrieval     304

Chapter 15: Enabling the User to Filter Data     317

About report parameters     317
Planning to use report parameters     318
User filtering options     319
Enabling user filtering at query run time      319
Enabling user filtering after data retrieval     326
Designing the presentation of report parameters     329
Testing the report parameters      351
Tutorial 3: Creating and using report parameters     352

Chapter 16: Building a Report That Contains Subreports     367

Creating the report structure      367
Tutorial 4: Building a report containing side-by-side subreports      372

Chapter 17: Using a Chart     399

Surveying the types of charts      399
Tutorial 5: Creating a stand-alone chart      406
Exploring the chart builder     419
Using a chart in a table       423

Chapter 18: Displaying Data in Charts       427

Linking data to a chart       427
Understanding the axes of a chart     430
Grouping and sorting category data     434
Grouping optional Y value data     438
Using multiple y-axes     442
Transposing chart axes       443
Filtering data      444
Changing default report parameters      444
Creating data bindings      445
Previewing data and chart      445
Creating a combination chart      447
Defining a meter chart      449

Chapter 19: Laying Out and Formatting a Chart       453

Overview of formatting     454
Formatting specific types of charts      454
Setting chart area format attributes     472
Formatting the chart legend, plot, and title       478
Formatting axis titles, markers, lines, and labels     488
Formatting a series      500

Chapter 20: Presenting Data in a Cross Tab 511

Tutorial 6: Creating a cross tab     512
Setting up data for a cross tab      527
Building a cross tab      537
Displaying empty rows and columns     550
Displaying user-defined values in row and column headings     551
Sorting cross tab data       554
Limiting the amount of data the cross tab displays      556

Chapter 21: Presenting Different Views of the Same Data     559

Ways to share data     560
Building a dashboard report     561

Part V: Enhancing Reports     575

Chapter 22: Designing a Multipage Report     577

Planning the page layout      577
Controlling pagination     578
Customizing the master page      587
Using multiple master pages     598

Chapter 23: Adding Interactive Viewing Features       601

Creating hyperlinks     601
Creating a table of contents     611
Adding interactive chart features     614
Adding interactive elements to an HTML report       618
Identifying report elements for data export     620

Chapter 24: Building a Shared Development Framework      623

Sharing report elements using a library      624
Designing libraries for a shared environment      629
Using a library      635
Sharing a report layout as a template     643

Chapter 25: Localizing Text       651

Overview of the localization process     652
Assigning a resource file to a report      653
Assigning resource keys      655
Editing a resource file      664
Previewing a report in different locales      665

Glossary     667
Index      739


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