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Eclipse Offers Open-Source Business Intelligence Tools

Birt 1.0 makes it easier for Java developers to build reporting and analysis capabilities into enterprise applications.

The Eclipse Foundation open-source organization Monday released Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools 1.0, an open-source specification developers can use to build reporting capabilities into enterprise Java applications.

At the same time, reporting-software vendor Actuate Corp., which spearheaded the Eclipse Birt project, announced Actuate Birt, a package of services for developers who adopt the development standard. The services, priced starting at $95 per user for an annual subscription, include live support, indemnification, professional services, and maintenance.

Eclipse launched the Birt project last September: 9,000 copies of the specifications already have been downloaded from Eclipse's Web site since February when a preview version was made available. It's estimated that of the 4.5 million Java developers around the world, about 65% use Eclipse technology and practices.

"This reiterates the value of Eclipse in terms of fusing together the idea of open, collaborative code development with commercial applications," says Forrester Research analyst Keith Gile in an E-mail interview. He also said that Actuate, by initiating the BIRT effort and providing support services, has "opened the door for themselves to a huge audience of Java application developers looking for a robust, open-source reporting option."

Birt will save time for developers who now have to hand-code reporting and analysis capabilities into applications. With Birt, which provides reports in either PDF or HTML formats, developers also can easily make changes to those capabilities as user requirements change.

Birt 1.0 includes Eclipse Report Designer, an Eclipse-based desktop-authoring environment; Eclipse Report Engine that generates reports using the report object model designs created by Eclipse Report Designer; and a set of APIs for integrating and extending Birt. More details are available at this Eclipse Birt overview site.

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