Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review: BIRT 2.6 Data Analysis and Reporting

If you find yourself writing code that handles big loads of data, you are most likely bound to code reports from that data. Feeling gloomy? fear not!

HTML, Text files, PDF and whatever other format it's out there means another hurdle for your project and more trial and error added to your work flow. Want to jump out of the window? not yet!

"Life is pain Anyone that says differently is trying to sell you something". So, there is no hope right? Well, let me talk to you about BIRT: Eclipse's Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool. From it's site: "BIRT is an open source Eclipse-based reporting system that integrates with your Java/J2EE application to produce compelling reports".

If you need to add to add more pizazz to those flat characters you program spews, you need to give BIRT a try, so fire up your Eclipse IDE and install BIRT. Then you have two options to get your reporting programming skills to the next level: you go online and follow the tutorials or get yourself a copy of BIRT 2.6 Data Analysis and Reporting, on sale September 21.

BIRT 2.6 Data Analysis and Reporting it's the new book from Packt publishing, written by John Ward. This book has everything you need to successfully create appealing reports with charts, tables, links and drill downs from data you can pull from multiple data sources. All you need to deliver data in a way that is easy to understand and analyze by your clients is explained on this book step by step with easy to follow instructions, and nice to read code snippets and figures.

Some explanations might be a little long and you may find yourself flipping through pages to get to the meaty parts but you cannot blame the author for being so thorough. Being thorough is the quality we'd like to find from other programmers when we read their comments or documentation, so is all good.

This book covers lots of subjects on BIRT and the Eclipse interface. However if you need to create dynamic reports with dynamic templates programmatically you might find yourself doing a little googling. Don't get me wrong, we are programmers and we need to be efficient at what we do, hence we use Eclipse. I just want to address the hacking part of the brain inside all of us.

The data analysis on this book is only related to the part of collecting and "assembling" data sets, so take it with a grain of salt. There is more to data analysis to what is portrayed on this book. Nevertheless you can complement what you learn from this book with other resources and books on this matter. If you need help figuring out what to buy I can give you a hand, so feel free to drop me a line.

Surely there are lots of products that do "Intelligence reporting" (or whatever buzz phrase they will come up with next) but all of them lack of something or do things in overcomplicated ways. That's where you can step in and make a killing. And that's when you need a book like BIRT 2.6 Data Analysis and Reporting to come up to the plate and knock it out of the park.

"You can't shine if you don't glow"...