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BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting, 2nd Edition

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BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting, 2nd Edition

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  • Copyright 2009
  • Edition: 2nd
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-58026-5
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-58026-9

This is the eBook version of the printed book. If the print book includes a CD-ROM, this content is not included within the eBook version.

The world-wide developer community has downloaded over three million copies of BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) from the Eclipse web site. Built on the open-source Eclipse platform, BIRT is a powerful reporting 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, Second Edition: A Field Guide to Reporting is the authoritative guide to using BIRT Report Designer, the graphical tool that enables users of all levels to build reports, simple to sophisticated, without any programming.

BIRT, Second Edition: A Field Guide to Reporting is an essential resource for users who want to create presentation quality reports from day one. The extensive examples, step-by-step instructions, and abundant illustrations help new users develop their report design skills quickly. Power users can find the information they need to make the most of the product’s rich set of features to build complex and compelling reports. By the time you finish this book, you learn the following and more

  • Design effective business and corporate reports that convey information through images, charts, tables, and cross tabs
  • Build reports using data from a variety of sources, including databases, XML documents, spreadsheets, and web services
  • Enliven reports with interactive features, such as hyperlinks, Tooltips, and highlighting
  • Create consistently styled reports and collaborate with other report designers through the use of templates and libraries of reusable elements
  • Localize reports for an international audience

This second edition, revised and expanded, adds updated examples and covers all the new and improved product features, including

  • Cross tabs and OLAP cubes
  • New chart types, including Gantt, bubble, tube, and cone charts
  • Web services as a new data source
  • New report output formats, including doc, ppt, xls, and PostScript
  • The capability for reports to reference CSS
  • Localization of report parameter and data values

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword          xix
Preface            xxiii
Acknowledgments               xxix

Part I: Installing BIRT                          1
Chapter 1: Prerequisites for BIRT                       3

Downloading Eclipse BIRT components        3
BIRT Report Designer software requirements        5
About types of BIRT builds          7

Chapter 2: Installing a BIRT Report Designer          9
Installing BIRT Report Designer Full Eclipse Install        9
Installing BIRT RCP Report Designer         10
Troubleshooting installation problems          11
Installing a language pack        13
Updating a BIRT Report Designer installation        14
Updating BIRT RCP Report Designer installation        15

Part II: Getting Started                           17
Chapter 3: Learning the Basics                 19

About BIRT reports          19
Overview of the report design process             19
About the report design environment                21
Viewing sample reports                   30
Tutorial 1: Building a simple listing report               32

Chapter 4: Planning Your Report                             53
Identifying the content of the report                     54
Determining how the report will be viewed                   55
Considering international reporting requirements                   56
Deciding the layout and format of the report                    56
Drawing a mock-up                    58
Considering reuse of report components                  58
Managing report design resources                        59
Deciding how the report will be deployed                  59

Part III: Accessing and Binding Data                                   61
Chapter 5: Connecting to a Data Source                              63

About BIRT data sources                    63
Accessing data using JDBC                 64
Accessing data in a text file                   70
Accessing data in an XML file               73
Accessing a web service                        74
Creating reusable data sources                76
Setting connection properties when a report runs             81
Troubleshooting data source problems                    87

Chapter 6: Retrieving Data                                  89
About data sets             89
Selecting data                 90
Viewing and changing output columns             110
Adding a computed field to a data set              111
Joining data sets              113
Verifying the data returned by a data set           115
Specifying the data to retrieve at run time          116

Chapter 7: Binding Data                                      119
Understanding column bindings                     119
Creating column bindings                       122
Editing and deleting column bindings                 124
Copying data elements                  125
More about column-binding expressions                126

Part IV: Designing Reports                   129
Chapter 8: Laying Out a Report              131

Understanding the layout model               131
Creating the sections of a report                134
Placing report elements              142

Chapter 9: Displaying Text                     153
Types of textual elements               153
Deciding which textual element to use             155
Using a dynamic text element                       158
Using a label element                      159
Using a text element                       160

Chapter 10: Formatting Report Content                         165
Formatting data                  166
Formatting with styles                     172
Formatting data based on conditions             182
Alternating row colors in a table                     187
Specifying alignment of content in a table or grid             190
Adjusting the spacing of content in a report                     191
Specifying fixed layout for HTML output             196
Displaying content across multiple columns               199
Specifying alternate values for display                 201
Hiding elements based on conditions              203

Chapter 11: Sorting and Grouping Data                     207
Sorting data                208
Grouping data            212
Tutorial 2: Grouping report data            231
Task 8: Format the report                 246
Task 9: Preview the report in the BIRT report viewer             248
Task 10: Display credit limit ranges in the table of contents                249

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                    284
Manipulating date-and-time data        292
Using Boolean expressions                 294

Chapter 14: Filtering Data                                     297
Filtering opportunities                 297
Specifying conditions on row retrieval             298
Filtering data after row retrieval                     302

Chapter 15: Enabling the User to Filter Data                  315
About report parameters                315
Planning to use report parameters            317
Ways to enable user filtering                   317
Enabling the user to filter at query run time                317
Enabling the user to filter after running the query                   325
Designing the presentation of report parameters                  328
Testing the report parameters                349
Tutorial 3: Creating and using report parameters                350

Chapter 16: Building a Report That Contains Subreports                            367
Creating the report structure                368
Tutorial 4: Building a report containing side-by-side subreports              372

Chapter 17: Using a Chart                   409
Surveying the types of charts                 409
Tutorial 5: Creating a standalone chart                     416
Exploring the chart builder                   430
Using a chart as part of a report              433

Chapter 18: Displaying Data in Charts                        437
Linking a data set to a chart                 437
Understanding the axes of a chart                438
Grouping and sorting category data                 442
Grouping optional Y value data                   446
Using multiple y-axes                 450
Transposing the chart axes               450
Filtering data             451
Changing default report parameters             452
Creating data bindings                 452
Previewing data and chart             453
Creating a combination chart                455
Defining a meter chart              456

Chapter 19: Laying Out and Formatting a Chart                       459
Formatting specific types of charts                   460
Formatting a pie chart                     470
Laying out and formatting the chart               477
Formatting numbers, dates, and times             482
Formatting the chart legend, plot, and title           485
Formatting axis titles, markers, lines, and labels             496
Formatting a series                507

Chapter 20: Presenting Data in a Cross Tab                      515
Tutorial 6: Creating a cross tab                   516
Understanding cube terms                532
Setting up data for a cross tab              533
Building a cross tab                    543

Part V: Enhancing Reports                      557
Chapter 21: Designing a Multipage Report                    559

Planning the page layout                559
Controlling pagination                     560
Customizing the master page          566
Using multiple master pages              577

Chapter 22: Adding Interactive Viewing Features                         581
Creating hyperlinks                581
Creating a table of contents             591
Adding interactive chart features             594
Adding interactive elements to an HTML report             598
Identifying report elements for data export                  600

Chapter 23: Building a Shared Report Development Framework                    603
Comparing report designs, libraries, and templates                     604
Sharing report elements in a library                        606
Sharing a report layout as a template                       622

Chapter 24: Localizing Text                                   629
Overview of the localization process               630
Assigning a resource file to a report                  631
Assigning a resource key to a label or text element                633
Changing localized text in a label or text element to static text             634
Assigning a resource key to chart text                     635
Changing localized chart text to static text                     636
Assigning a resource key to a value in a data element                  637
Assigning a resource key to a report parameter             639
Editing a resource file               641
Previewing a report in different locales              642

Glossary                                645

Index                                      707


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