Bringing Rich Data Visualizations to Web Applications: BIRT and JBoss

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12 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Bringing Rich Data
Visualizations to
Web Applications:
BIRT and JBoss















Authors
Prakash Aradhya, Senior Product Manager, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, Red Hat, Inc.
Virgil Dodson, BIRT Evangelist, Actuate Corporation
Christine Forti, Director of Business Development, Actuate Corporation

BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
2

Notice
The information in this white paper is proprietary to Actuate Corporation ("Actuate") and Red Hat, Inc. (“Red Hat”) and
may not be used in any form without the prior consent of Actuate or Red Hat.
Copyright © 2010 by Actuate Corporation and Red Hat, Inc. All rights reserved.
Electronic edition published 2010. Version 1.0, May 29, 2010.
This document contains trademarks and registered trademarks of Actuate Corporation, Red Hat, Inc., and third party
vendors. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, JBoss, and RHCE are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc.,
registered in the U.S. and other countries. Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other
countries. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Contact Information
Actuate Corporation
Actuate Corporation Headquarters
2207 Bridgepointe Parkway
San Mateo, CA 94404
Tel: (888) 422-8828
Fax: (650) 645-3700
Email: info@actuate.com

URL: www.actuate.com

URL: www.birt-exchange.com

Actuate International
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8105 Regensdorf
Switzerland
Tel: +41 44 8706800
Fax: +41 44 8706801
Email: info@actuate.ch

Actuate UK Ltd.
1
st
Floor
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London, EC4M 9DL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207 246 4700
Fax: +44 (0) 207 246 4701
Email: ukinfo@actuate.com

URL: www.actuate.com/uk

Actuate France
A Division of Actuate International
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921000 Boulogne Billancourt
France
Tel: +33 (1) 41 22 12 44
Fax: +33 (1) 41 22 14 18
Email: fr_contact@actuate.com

URL: www.actuate.fr

Actuate GmbH
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60329 Frankfurt
Germany
Phone: +49(0) 69 66 90 25-0
Fax: +49(0)69 66 90 25-25
Email: info@actuate.de

URL: www.actuate.de

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#35-01 Suntec Tower Three
038988
Singapore
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Fax: +65 6887 5565
Email: apac_marketing@actuate.com

URL: www.actuate.com/ap

Red Hat, Inc.
Red Hat Corporate Headquarters
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Raleigh, North Carolina 27606
USA
Tel: +1-919-754-3700
Fax: +1-919-754-3701
Sales Fax: +1-919-754-3706
Email: sales@redhat.com

URL: www.redhat.com

Red Hat Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
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Singapore 068811
Tel: +65 6490 4200
Fax: +65 6490 4201
Email: apac@redhat.com

URL: www.apac.redhat.com

Red Hat EMEA Headquarters
Technopark II, Haus C
Werner-von-Siemens-Ring 11 -15
85630 Grasbrunn
Germany
Tel: +49 89 205 071 0
Fax: +49 89 205 071 111
Sales Toll Free: 0800 7334 2835
Sales Fax: +44 1252 548 117
Email: europe@redhat.com

URL: www.europe.redhat.com

Red Hat Latin America
Alicia Moreau de Justo 550
3° Piso, CP C1107AAL
Buenos Aires
Argentina
Tel: (54 11) 4329-7300
Fax: (54 11) 4342-5292
Email: info-latam@redhat.com

URL: www. latam.redhat.com

BIRT and JBoss
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Contents
Abstract ................................................................................................................................................................................. 3

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................................ 4

What Is BIRT? .......................................................................................................................................................................... 5

What is JBoss? ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6

How Do BIRT and JBoss Work Together? .................................................................................................................................. 7

Benefits of BIRT and JBoss Together ......................................................................................................................................... 7

Open Source Community Projects: BIRT and JBoss .................................................................................................................. 11

Taking Rich Information Applications to the Next Level: Value-Add BIRT and JBoss Products ..................................................... 13

How to Get Started Using JBoss and BIRT ............................................................................................................................... 19

Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................................ 22

Appendix: BIRT and JBoss Resources ...................................................................................................................................... 23

Abstract
BIRT and JBoss are complementary technologies that help organizations build and deploy Rich Information Applications,
web applications with interactive and compelling data visualizations. In combination, BIRT and JBoss offer several
important benefits for IT, the broader business and customers. IT can take advantage of high-quality, open source
offerings that are based on open standards, resulting in increased development productivity and faster time to value. The
business can profit from the low total cost of ownership for Rich Information Applications based on BIRT and JBoss.
Customers, employees, and other end users can enjoy rich, dynamic data visualizations and customized information to
match each user’s skills and role.
This white paper describes the benefits offered by BIRT and JBoss. It describes how organizations can benefit from
open source BIRT and JBoss to build and deploy Rich Information Applications. It then illustrates how organizations can
use value-add commercial products from Actuate and Red Hat to take their Rich Information Applications to the next
level of performance, mission-critical reliability, scale, interactivity, and functionality—all for a much lower total cost of
ownership than relying on traditional, purely proprietary technology.
BIRT and JBoss
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Introduction
In today’s highly competitive business environment, maximizing employee productivity and customer engagement is
increasingly important. Rich Information Applications are crucial to this effort. Rich Information Applications are web-
based applications with highly interactive and compelling data visualizations, where the information delivered is
customized and presented according to user needs. With Rich Information Applications, all users in the enterprise and
beyond can access the information they need at the right time, every time, in the format they prefer and at the level of
detail they require. Using Rich Information Applications, employees and customers can interact with the data delivered
to make better, more informed decisions more quickly and with greater confidence.
The development, presentation, and delivery of Rich Information Applications can be challenging without the right tools
and technologies. Fortunately, BIRT and JBoss make it easy to get started. BIRT and JBoss provide a comprehensive,
integrated solution based on open source that allows developers and system administrators to quickly build and deploy
Rich Information Applications.
Then, as user adoption of Rich Information Applications grows, and as business requirements evolve, the combination of
BIRT and JBoss can adapt accordingly. Enterprise-grade, value-add product offerings from Actuate and Red Hat allow
applications to scale to support hundreds of thousands of end users and provide market-leading dynamic visualizations
and user-configurable content (see Figure 1). These offerings are backed by a full set of customer support, consulting
and training services.
Figure 1 – Rich Information Applications powered by BIRT and JBoss
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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What Is BIRT?
BIRT is the acronym for the open source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools project of the Eclipse Foundation.
The Eclipse Foundation, formed in 2001, is a consortium of software industry vendors and the broader community that
uses an open source development and licensing model to deliver the world’s most widely used development tools. The
Eclipse BIRT project began in 2004 and provides a designer, an engine for running data visualizations and reports, and
APIs that enable developers to extend the technology. BIRT has rapidly become the standard in open source technology
for reporting, data visualization, and Rich Information Application development with more than 6.5 million downloads
through 2008.
BIRT differs from other data presentation technologies because it is specifically designed to support web page-like
layouts, interactive data visualizations, and the highly popular Web 2.0 experience. This new paradigm of Internet
interaction was pioneered in highly interactive web applications like Google Maps, Facebook, and Yahoo! Finance.
These applications contrast with static, printed content produced by older, banded-style reporting tools. BIRT was also
built with a greater emphasis on reuse than the traditional reporting tools, leading to Rich Information Applications that
can easily evolve as user needs mature (see Figure 2).
Actuate is the founder and core developer of BIRT—having proposed the project to the Eclipse Foundation in 2004—and
continues to co-lead it. Today Actuate offers a full set of value-add products based on BIRT, for both Rich Information
Application design and deployment. Using value-add design tools:
• End users can modify their views of data to suit their needs
• Business users can develop their own data visualizations, based on templates created by IT and/or developers
• IT and developers can create templates and data visualizations that can be used by business and end users
• BIRT content can arrive in any format, including Flash and dashboards that users can customize to meet their
own needs
Using value-add deployment options, depending on project size, requirements, and budget:
• Deployments can scale to support any number of employees, customers, or partners using a pre-built platform
• Deployments can be set up and running in less than an hour
• Current, personalized information can be delivered to a mobile workforce
Figure 2 – The range of BIRT product offerings, from open source to enterprise-class. BIRT provides a number of development and deployment
products—both open source and value-add. This flexibility allows users to combine the right set of functionality at the lowest cost.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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What is JBoss?
JBoss Enterprise Middleware is a broad portfolio of enterprise-class open source middleware products, delivered by
Red Hat. Fueled by the JBoss Community, JBoss Enterprise Middleware hardens and integrates innovative community
projects into a comprehensive portfolio of stable enterprise-class distributions that support the entire application
lifecycle. The portfolio includes:
• JBoss Enterprise Application Platform – Everything needed to deploy and host enterprise Java applications
and services.
• JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform – A flexible, standards-based platform to integrate applications, Service
Oriented Architecture (SOA) services, and business events, as well as to automate business processes.
• JBoss Enterprise BRMS – An open source business rules management system that enables easy business
policy and rules development, access, and change management.
• JBoss Developer Studio – PE (Portfolio Edition): Comprehensive tools to test and deploy rich web
applications, enterprise applications, and SOA services.
Red Hat works with open source projects including JBoss Application Server, Apache, Tomcat, and OpenJDK. These
projects are brought in house and additional engineering resources are applied, using the process illustrated in Figure 3,
to ensure that JBoss Enterprise products can be consumed and supported by IT organizations. Red Hat's engineering
efforts extend the supported lifecycle of the Enterprise products for more than five years. Available via subscriptions that
include patches, updates, support, multi-year maintenance policies, and software assurance, JBoss Enterprise
Middleware makes it possible for enterprises to confidently deploy next generation applications with greater flexibility
and control, improved performance, industry leading 24x7 support, and a significantly lower total cost of ownership.

JBoss Enterprise Middleware is a better way to improve developer productivity, reduce time-to-market, automate
business processes, and efficiently share enterprise data. The combination of Java application services from JBoss
Enterprise Middleware and data visualization capabilities from BIRT enables the deployment of Rich Information
Applications of all types and sizes. This means development organizations can refocus people and budget to attack
more projects with significantly less risk. Companies can also more readily deliver the applications and services that
differentiate their business.
Figure 3 – Red Hat follows a process of enhancing pure open source technology to form high-quality, robust, enterprise-class products.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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How Do BIRT and JBoss Work Together?
BIRT and JBoss are two parts of a complete solution for creating Rich Information Applications: BIRT provides
technology to create and present data visualizations within a web application, and JBoss provides the underlying Java
infrastructure on which BIRT and the web application runs. There is a broad range of ways to deploy BIRT and JBoss
products—both open source and value-add—together.
For example, in a purely open source deployment, developers of Rich Information Applications first create designs for
data visualizations and reports using the Eclipse BIRT Designer. Next, they use JBoss Tools and the BIRT Plug-in to
create Java-based Rich Information Applications that encapsulate the BIRT Engine. The BIRT Engine allows the Rich
Information Applications to run BIRT data visualizations and reports, rendering output in PDF, HTML, or other formats.
Then, these Rich Information Applications are staged in a BIRT deployment environment that runs on the JBoss
Application Server.
The following is an example using value-add products from Actuate and Red Hat. To create a web-based, visual
dashboard application, developers use the BIRT Plug-in with JBoss Developer Studio to create data visualizations. The
developer then deploys these visualizations to BIRT iServer Express, which provides a web-based interface that allows
end users to browse, run, view, and schedule data visualizations and reports, plus a host of services such as content
security, data integration, and content archiving. This deployment can also include BIRT Studio, a web-based ad-hoc
report designer for end users. The web interface for BIRT iServer Express is deployed with JBoss to provide enterprise-
class scalability, performance, and mission-critical reliability for very large user populations that frequently interact with
and analyze data.
Benefits of BIRT and JBoss Together
The combination of BIRT and JBoss presents a number of significant benefits for IT developers, IT managers, the overall
enterprise, customers and partners. Many of these benefits come from the open source approach used to develop both
the BIRT and JBoss products, and some are from Red Hat’s and Actuate's common philosophy of providing a full range
of standards-based integration and extensibility options. Many of the most important benefits are provided by the value-
add products that Actuate and Red Hat offer—these products take the open source technology and elevate them to an
enterprise-class, pre-built platform capable of handing the most demanding scale and workloads, while providing users
with even more dynamic, interactive, and useful experiences in working with information.
Benefits from the Open Source Approach
Organizations that use BIRT and JBoss products—whether open source or value-add products—benefit from the
underlying open source approach described below.
Greater Innovation
Open source provides increased innovation, accelerated development cycles, and a market-demanded feature set
through the participation of a community of developers. This community has given BIRT and JBoss comprehensive,
collective insight into how the technologies are being used and the types of applications they can potentially enable.
Higher Quality
Research also indicates that open source software has a higher level of quality than comparable proprietary software
due to testing by a worldwide developer community. For example:
• 100% of those surveyed in the
Forrester report “Application Server Quality: Review Your Assumptions
” said
that JBoss Application Server 4.x met or exceeded their expectations for reliability, availability, and
serviceability.
• JBoss ranked highest in customer support satisfaction for three consecutive years in the Velociti Partners report
“Differentiating with Technical Support: JBoss Customer Support Study

• 92% of respondents surveyed in the Forrester report “Open Source Paves the Way for the Next Generation of
Enterprise IT
” said that open source software has met or exceeded their expectations for improved quality.
BIRT and JBoss
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Community-Enabled Adopter Success
A wide community of users has adopted BIRT and JBoss. Not only does this community spur innovation within the BIRT
and JBoss projects, it enables organizations new to the technologies to come up to speed quickly and use BIRT and
JBoss to maximum advantage. Broad sets of developer forums are available on the BIRT Exchange (www.birt-
exchange.org
) and JBoss (www.jboss.org
) community sites to help members troubleshoot application development issues,
share tips and tricks, and discuss new feature proposals.
In addition to offering forums, BIRT Exchange includes the BIRT Exchange Marketplace (www.birt-
exchange.com/marketplace), a collection of downloadable, community-built BIRT-based applications, solutions and
components. Marketplace applications can show developers how to deliver rich interactive data visualizations that go
far beyond typical banded data displays. These applications help accelerate project development through pre-built
components and frameworks for specific business processes and technologies.
Benefits from Extensive Integration Options
In addition to their common open source approach, both JBoss and BIRT are built using standards-based technology
and designed to integrate seamlessly with the other applications and technologies within organizations. Open standards
support allows Rich Information Applications to be built and deployed more quickly, enabling an organization to achieve
faster time to value.
BIRT and JBoss both provide multiple interfaces with which to build applications of all types. JBoss supports the full
set of Java Enterprise Edition integration standards, including Java, JavaScript and JSP. BIRT provides the following
Java APIs:
• Design Engine API produces design files and templates in XML
• Report Engine API runs the XML design files, queries data, and produces output in the specified format
• Chart Engine API produces output from a variety of chart types in a variety of output formats
Further, BIRT is not just an out-of-the-box tool that supports a set of standard data visualizations and report types. BIRT
is a framework with extension points that permit the generation of an unlimited variety of business intelligence (BI),
reporting, and data visualization content. These extension points include:
• Additional output format emitters
• Open Data Access framework support for custom data source drivers
• Additional report item components on the designer palette
• Additional chart types
These extension points enable any type of data and output in a Rich Information Application, whether the developer uses
pure open source BIRT and JBoss products or value-add products from Actuate and Red Hat. All value-add deployment
products built on BIRT support the generation of content from designs that leverage this extensibility. What’s more, the
extensibility framework also supports the further contribution of reusable modules by the BIRT community. Many BIRT
Exchange Marketplace offerings have been built on the foundation of BIRT extensibility, including:
• Salesforce.com data sources
• Google Spreadsheets data sources
• BIRT Functions Library
• Flash (SWF) output emitter
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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Benefits of Value-Add Products
Both Actuate and Red Hat offer value-add products and services to enhance the experience of developing, deploying,
and using Rich Information Applications. These products and services deliver many benefits beyond what the purely
open source products provide, including lower costs; increased reliability, scale, and performance; improved developer
productivity; and higher ROI.
Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Together, BIRT and JBoss cost much less than comparable “closed-source” proprietary offerings. For example, a 32-
CPU deployment of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform with 16 CPUs added in years one, two, and three saves more
than $1 million compared with a proprietary competitor over that three-year period. In fact, the total cost of the JBoss
subscription is less than the competitor’s maintenance fees alone.
IT staffing is also a significant component of ownership cost. Findings indicate that compared to JBoss, proprietary
competitors require 18 to 23% higher staffing costs to implement and 7 to 9% higher staffing costs to maintain
applications.
Mission-Critical Strength
Value-add BIRT and JBoss products provide a solid, pre-built platform for applications with high availability
requirements. BIRT and JBoss offerings provide clustering, failover and other capabilities that enable 24x7 operation.
This dependability makes it possible for organizations to provide higher-value applications with stringent SLAs to
employees and customers.
Scalability to All Deployment Sizes
Traditional proprietary BI vendors do not have the tools needed for developers starting out on smaller projects or
workgroup deployments. At the other end of the scale, other open source BI technologies fall short when applications
developed using their platform need to be securely deployed to a wider audience inside or outside the firewall.
Rich Information Applications built and deployed with BIRT and JBoss can scale from workgroup deployments to
virtually unlimited numbers of users. Value-add products based on BIRT and JBoss provide intelligent load balancing
and distributed deployment capabilities. Commodity processing and storage hardware can be added seamlessly to the
system as the application becomes more widely adopted. This requires no change to the underlying application design.
Increased Developer Productivity
IT development organizations are under ever-greater pressure to do more with less. The combination of BIRT and JBoss
provides a highly efficient, integrated platform for developing Rich Information Applications. BIRT promotes component
and design template reuse within the organization and across the wider Eclipse community. This approach separates the
presentation, business logic, and data access parts of BIRT designs, so that one part can be changed without affecting
the others—making designs easier to maintain or enhance. Additionally, BIRT designs created with the open source
Eclipse BIRT Designer can be used with Actuate's value-add BIRT products, which supports an iterative development
and design process through its "Collaborative Reporting Architecture" (See Figure 4).
JBoss provides built-in integration between BIRT, the Seam framework for building rich Internet applications in Java,
and the Hibernate object/relational persistence service, through use of JBoss Developer Studio and the BIRT Plug-in
packaged in JBoss Tools. These capabilities allow applications to be built more quickly, with less risk and with higher
quality.
Developer productivity can be measured not only by how efficiently developers perform their work, but also in terms of
how much time they are able to spend adding maximum value to projects. Value-add BIRT and JBoss products allow
users to answer their own business questions without the intervention of IT. Rather than creating a new BIRT design for
every query or change of format, developers can concentrate on the work that adds the most value to the organization.

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BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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High Total ROI from BIRT and JBoss
Together, with value-add products from Actuate and Red Hat, BIRT and JBoss enable:
• High developer productivity
• Increased end user productivity and engagement
• Low total cost of ownership
These benefits in combination yield a demonstrably high return on investment. In a recent study
, Forrester found
“… improved IT and business-unit efficiency leading to overall cost reductions when business users
leveraged BIRT to meet their ad-hoc needs for information versus traditional IT-only approaches to creating
designs.”
Forrester projected an ROI of 105% with a payback period of 1.8 years for an organization adopting BIRT-based
products for ad-hoc reporting over a traditional IT-only reporting solution. In another study
, Forrester found that by
adopting the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, an organization:
“… reduced its operating costs by cutting spending on annual maintenance and support for its Java
platform and improved its IT productivity, resulting in shorter product-introduction times and increased
revenue.”
Forrester projected an ROI of 63% with a payback period of 19 months for an organization adopting JBoss over another
Java EE platform.
BIRT and JBoss include a large set of capabilities that deliver the benefits described above. These capabilities make it
easy for IT to develop and deploy Rich Information Applications to meet the needs of a wide variety of internal and
external users. The remainder of this white paper describes these capabilities and how to start using them to build Rich
Information Applications.
Open Source Community Projects: BIRT and JBoss
BIRT and JBoss development tools eliminate the complexity of developing Rich Information Applications that power
critical business processes. Using open source BIRT and JBoss tools, it is easy to start developing Internet applications
that contain sophisticated data visualization content. Then, as business needs evolve and a wider variety of usage
scenarios need to be addressed, value-add commercial offerings from Actuate and Red Hat have the necessary power
to meet enterprise requirements. Organizations can deploy the combination of open source and supported value-add
products that meet their needs.
For many organizations, the Rich Information Application journey begins with three key open source BIRT and JBoss
technologies. (See Figure 6):
Eclipse BIRT Designer
A data visualization and report designer based on Eclipse. Developers use it to create XML-based designs. Developers
can use it to create a variety of different styles of data visualizations including:
• Lists of data
• Visual charts, including pie, line, and many more chart types
• Crosstabs (also called a cross-tabulation or matrix)
• Letters and documents
• Compound reports, combining any of the above elements in a single document
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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Eclipse BIRT Engine & Sample Viewer
The BIRT Engine is a runtime component that runs designs created by the BIRT Designer, pulling in data from diverse
data sources and producing output in a variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. The
BIRT Engine is a set of Java APIs that can be integrated into a Java application. The BIRT Engine comes with a Sample
Viewer application, a demonstration of the BIRT Engine incorporated within a simple web application. The Sample
Viewer example retrieves HTML content, displays it page by page in a web-based viewer, and exports it to PDF
and CSV.
JBoss Application Server (JBoss AS)
An open source Java Enterprise Edition application server, JBoss AS provides the Java infrastructure required by the
BIRT Engine. It is the most widely used open source Java application server on the market, with hundreds of
professional developers contributing and millions of users downloading the project over the years.
Figure 6 – BIRT and JBoss Architecture

With this combination of open source BIRT and JBoss technology, developers can create Rich Information Applications
in any or all of the following ways:
• Use the open source Eclipse BIRT Designer to easily design data visualizations and reports of all types
• Use the open source Eclipse IDE and BIRT APIs to write a Java application that uses the BIRT Engine to run the
visualizations and reports
• Deploy the Java application, along with the BIRT Engine, to the open source JBoss AS server
With open source BIRT and JBoss software, it is possible to easily create robust Rich Information Applications and
quickly deploy them. However, to provide richer experiences to end users, more sophisticated tools to developers, and
enterprise-class infrastructure to administrators, Actuate and Red Hat provide value-add products that extend BIRT
and JBoss.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
13

Taking Rich Information Applications to the Next Level:
Value-Add BIRT and JBoss Products
Open source BIRT and JBoss products are just the beginning. Red Hat and Actuate offer an array of value-add products
and services to speed the creation, development, and deployment of Rich Information Applications, beyond what is
possible with purely open source, unsupported software.
Value-add design tools for developers make it easier to create these intensely rich applications. Value-add BIRT
deployment platforms and JBoss’s underlying Java Application Infrastructure give IT system administrators a high-
performance, reliable foundation for Rich Information Applications that fits into the enterprise infrastructure. And, finally,
value-add BIRT content viewers allow end users to interact with data and individually tailor reports and visualizations
(see Figure 7).
Figure 7 – Actuate's value-add products enhance the development, deployment and richness of BIRT content in applications.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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Designing Reports and Rich Information Applications
With value-add Designer products from Actuate and Red Hat, developers can create Rich Information Applications with
the highest level of interactivity and user engagement. This section explains three value-add design tools for creating
data visualizations and Java applications. Note that each of these designers has a different purpose and audience,
therefore a successful deployment might use all three.
Actuate BIRT Designer
To gain access to Web 2.0-style dynamic visualizations and developer productivity features—beyond what is in the open
source BIRT Designer—organizations can license the Actuate BIRT Designer. This product is built on the foundation of
open source BIRT and includes:
• Support for Flash with a library of hundreds of pre-defined Flash charts, gadgets and maps; developers can
deliver dashboards and applications containing Flash objects with BIRT
• The ability to add HTML buttons to BIRT content that—together with associated event handlers—can be used
to provide additional interactivity to visualizations using client-side JavaScript that taps into data
• Auto-suggest parameter support that enables users to quickly look up input-parameter values without having to
navigate through the entire list
• A metadata layer of Actuate Information Objects that provides views of data consolidated from multiple data
sources, described in plain business language
• Built-in databases drivers for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Informix and MySQL, as well as the
ability to use a BIRT report as a data source to another report
• Easy installation, additional documentation and quick publishing to BIRT iServer Express and BIRT iServer
Enterprise
Actuate BIRT Designer Pro
BIRT Designer Professional provides all the functionality of the Actuate BIRT Designer and also includes a built-in BIRT
Information Designer perspective and complete Java and JavaScript development environments, creating a versatile
information application toolkit for Java developers.
JBoss Developer Studio and BIRT
JBoss Developer Studio (JBDS) is a certified development environment from Red Hat that includes and integrates
everything developers need to build rich web applications, enterprise applications, and SOA services. Based on the
open source JBoss Tools project and the Eclipse IDE, JBoss Developer Studio includes development frameworks such
as Hibernate, Seam, and RichFaces. JBoss Developer Studio also includes a complete set of middleware platforms for
testing applications, including JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and JBoss Portal Platform.
BIRT’s designer and runtime components can be integrated into JBoss Developer Studio using the BIRT Plug-in
packaged in the JBoss Tools project. Seam is a powerful, consistent framework for building rich Internet applications in
Java. BIRT report designs can be created directly within Seam, allowing the same development platform to be used both
for BIRT and other parts of the application. (See Figure 8)
Hibernate is a high performance object/relational persistence and query service. Developers can leverage the power of
Hibernate in BIRT by accessing Hibernate persistent objects via queries in HQL (Hibernate’s portable SQL extension)
(see Figure 8).
RichFaces is a component library for JSF (Java Server Faces) and an advanced framework for easily integrating highly
interactive AJAX capabilities into business applications. The RichFaces CDK (Component Development Kit) enables
developers to easily add rich data visualizations based on BIRT into RichFaces and JSF applications.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
15

Figure 8 – BIRT and JBoss Developer Studio: Creating a BIRT report in a Seam web project; using a Hibernate data source in a BIRT
report design.

BIRT Studio
Actuate’s BIRT Studio allows business users to perform ad-hoc queries and reporting by creating and maintaining their
own data visualizations and reports. Users access BIRT Studio via their web browsers and base their data visualizations
on pre-existing templates and data sources provided by their IT departments. BIRT Studio offers the following benefits:
• Saves time with re-usable templates and themes can be set up and passed between BIRT designers
• Conserves IT resources by facilitating self-service report creation
• Reduces reporting bottlenecks in IT and improves requirements understanding between IT and end users
• Lowers costs by eliminating training expenditures
• Increases ROI

BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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Viewing Rich Information Content
A Rich Information Application powered by BIRT and JBoss contains components that allow end users to view BIRT
content generated by the design tools described in the previous section. As with the design tools, organizations can
begin with open source BIRT and seamlessly migrate to value-add commercial offerings to display richer content with
greater interactive viewing capabilities.
BIRT Viewer
The fully supported, production-ready BIRT Viewer from Actuate is an implementation of the BIRT Engine within a robust
web application. It enables users to:
• Retrieves HTML report content
• Displays that content page by page in a web-based viewer
• Generates a table of contents
• Exports to PDF or CSV
• Print output
Note that while the BIRT Engine includes sample code for implementing a simple Sample Viewer application, the BIRT
Viewer is a robust application with specific performance and usability improvements for more demanding BIRT content.
Beyond the capabilities of the Eclipse BIRT Sample Viewer, the BIRT Viewer can perform the following tasks:
• Display Flash-based data visualizations
1

• Display BIRT content more quickly with progressive report viewing and temporary file management
• Easily integrate with pre-existing security models for single sign-on and authorization
• Support AJAX libraries that enhance interactivity when BIRT content is deployed through the BIRT Deployment
Kit or BIRT iServer Express or Enterprise
BIRT Interactive Viewer
The BIRT Interactive Viewer from Actuate is a web-based end user tool for interactive analysis and modification of BIRT
output. It has an AJAX-based web UI through which end users can:
• Change BIRT report formatting (appearance, style, number formatting, and label values)
• Hide, add, or move data columns and other visual elements
• Modify charts, including orientation and size, and specify that charts stack, overlay, or display side by side
• Sort, group, and filter data
• Apply functions to data (sum, average, etc.) and new aggregations for summarizing grouped data
• Save modified output format for future use or to share with others
The BIRT Interactive Viewer supports Flash objects with client-side JavaScript for interactivity.
Rich Information Application Deployment
Simple Rich Information Applications can be deployed with a combination of open source BIRT and JBoss components.
For Rich Information Applications that include more sophisticated functionality and serve larger numbers of users,
Actuate and Red Hat offer value-add products with deployment architectures and predictable performance for
applications of all types and sizes. In addition to generating report content, many projects have additional requirements
for reporting services that must either be built into the application or licensed from a vendor. These services include:
• Publication of BIRT output to end users
• User management
• Document management
• Security
• Branding of the user interface


1
The value-add Actuate BIRT Designer is required to create reports with Flash objects.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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The following BIRT products from Actuate provide these services in pre-built packaged offerings.
BIRT Deployment Kit
The BIRT Deployment Kit is a lightweight Java EE application with a document repository and a web front-end that
allows users to browse, select, and run BIRT output. It is ideal for Java development teams and report development
teams who want to generate and share on demand reports with multiple users over the web quickly, easily, and at a low
cost. The BIRT Deployment Kit can be installed in JBoss Application Server to allow users to start accessing their
reports immediately.
BIRT iServer Express
BIRT iServer Express embeds the BIRT Engine in a report server that deploys, manages, schedules, secures, runs and
distributes BIRT output. It is designed for software development teams that want to automate document delivery and
can be deployed as a stand-alone report server or a behind-the-scenes reporting service for other applications. It helps
eliminate the burden of manually fulfilling user requests for reports, which is beneficial because users can subscribe to a
document distribution list without having to rely on IT to fulfill their report requests. Services provided by BIRT iServer
Express include:
• Persistent storage of report output
• Report versioning
• Scheduled report generation based on events, business rules and calendars
• Email notification and delivery
• User-based and role-based security
• Information Objects metadata layer
• Data Integration (EII) to provide real-time access to multiple data sources
• Localization and i18n for advanced internationalization capabilities
BIRT iServer Express offers integration options to adapt the look and feel of BIRT output, provide services to other
applications, and leverage existing infrastructure via editable JSPs, URL-based APIs, and Web Service APIs. JavaScript
APIs enable server-based reports to be delivered to be integrated into web applications, dashboards and mash-ups.
BIRT iServer Enterprise
BIRT iServer Enterprise shares all the functionality of BIRT iServer Express and delivers it on an enterprise-class scale.
It can run in clustered environments to provide high availability and scalability, support hundreds of thousands of users,
and concurrently provide multiple applications with scheduling, security and other key reporting services. It is particularly
successful at securely delivering BIRT output in applications and portals that extend outside the firewall to customers,
partners, and consumers, while also providing high performance. BIRT iServer Enterprise features automatic clustering,
job control and load balancing, multiple project support and automatic failover.
BIRT onDemand
BIRT onDemand is a Platform as a Service (PAAS) offering from Actuate that enables users to host BIRT-based data
visualization applications on a hosted, cloud-based platform. With BIRT onDemand, organizations don’t need to install,
configure or maintain a separate BIRT Deployment environment. BIRT onDemand offers the following features:
• PAAS for hosting BIRT-based applications on BIRT iServer based architecture
• Mobile access from iPhones to user-defined applications hosted on BIRT onDemand
• One-click installation of selected BIRT Marketplace applications into a BIRT onDemand account
• Complete web front end for accessing applications and administering documents, data and users
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
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Java Application Infrastructure
Just as Actuate provides a set of deployment options for data visualization services that are built on the foundation of
open source Eclipse BIRT, Red Hat offers a range of JBoss Enterprise Middleware platforms that are built on the
foundation of the open source JBoss Application Server. These products provide Rich Information Applications with a
solid, scalable underlying Java infrastructure. (See Figure 9)
Figure 9 – JBoss Enterprise Middleware Platforms
JBoss Enterprise Web Server
JBoss Enterprise Web Server is an integrated enterprise solution for deploying large-scale websites and lightweight Java
web applications. JBoss Enterprise Web Server integrates Apache Tomcat, Apache Web Server and all of the common
connectors used among them under a single subscription. Organizations use JBoss Enterprise Web Server for
applications that include Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSP) and require a stable Tomcat distribution.
JBoss Enterprise Web Platform
JBoss Enterprise Web Platform is a lighter, slimmer version of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for lightweight Java
applications that are based on the Java EE Web Profile and do not require full Java EE support. Enterprise Web Platform
supports all the capabilities of Enterprise Web Server, plus load balancing, session replication, failover, Hibernate and
Seam. Enterprise Web Platform can be used for a large variety of web-based applications that require database access.
JBoss Enterprise Application Platform
JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is used for applications that require the full set of Java EE capabilities. Enterprise
Application Platform includes everything in Enterprise Web Platform, as well as messaging, CORBA support and full
transaction coordination.
JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform
JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform is deployed on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and delivers web-based
composite portal applications. Enterprise Portal Platform supports all current enterprise portlet standards, including
JSR-168, the standard adopted for BIRT content. Enterprise Portal Platform has a light footprint and is easy to install
and features scalable clustering to support high transaction volumes.
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BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
22

Deploying BIRT to JBoss
Once a design has been created, the BIRT Sample Viewer can be deployed to the JBoss Application Server by following
these simple steps:
1
Download the Eclipse BIRT Engine and Sample Viewer from www.birt-exchange.com/downloads
.
2
Download JBoss Application Server from www.jboss.org/jbossas
and install according to documentation.
3
Unzip the BIRT Engine download and rename the WebViewerExample directory to birtweb.war.
4
Copy the entire birtweb.war directory to the JBoss directory: \server\default\deploy
5
Test the viewer by typing the following URL in the web browser: http://localhost:8080/birtweb
. A confirmation
screen will be displayed.
6
To generate and display reports located outside the BIRT Sample Viewer .war file, set the
BIRT_VIEWER_DOCUMENT_FOLDER property in the web.xml file.
7
Copy the BIRT design files that were created with the BIRT Report Designer to the location specified in
web.xml.
8
(optional) Configure a connection pool in JBoss to share database connections for the reports. For details, see
the article “Using the BIRT Viewer with JBoss” listed on the BIRT Exchange page for BIRT and JBoss:
www.birt-exchange.com/jboss
.
From this point, running and displaying the BIRT content via JBoss becomes a simple matter of specifying the
appropriate URL syntax, either manually or in the design of the application.
For example, to generate and display the sales report complete with toolbar, navigation bar, and table of contents, use
the following URL: http://localhost:8080/birtweb/frameset?__report=sales.rptdesign

To view the same output in PDF, use the following URL:
http://localhost:8080/birtweb/run?__report=sales.rptdesign&__format=pdf

Conclusion
Rich Information Applications are crucial to business success. The combination of BIRT and JBoss enables the creation
of Rich Information Applications that meet the needs of all classes of users, are scalable to virtually any size of
deployment and have a low total cost of ownership.
It is easy to get started building and deploying Rich Information Applications with open source BIRT and JBoss
technology. As user adoption grows and business requirements become more sophisticated, value-add offerings from
Actuate and Red Hat allow applications to evolve to meet those needs. BIRT and JBoss is a winning combination for
Rich Information Applications of all types and sizes.
BIRT and JBoss
ACTUATE CORPORATION and RED HAT, INC. PAGE
23

Appendix: BIRT and JBoss Resources
Community and Downloads
BIRT Exchange Community
Sponsored by Actuate and staffed by its BIRT experts, BIRT Exchange (http://www.birt-exchange.com
) is the most active
community site on the Internet for BIRT developers and users. Since BIRT Exchange was started in 2007, there have
been more than 30,000 registrants. Together, this large and expert community has shared hundreds of documents,
examples, articles, and code samples—all of which are stored and readily searchable on the site. BIRT Exchange also
provides the most comprehensive forum for BIRT reporting questions, including those specific to using BIRT with JBoss.
BIRT Exchange includes a dedicated page for using BIRT with JBoss at www.birt-exchange.com/jboss
. Resources include:
• BIRT Plug-in Reference Guide – a guide to installing the BIRT plug-in packaged in JBoss Tools 3.0, which can
also be used with JBoss Developer Studio
• Using BIRT with JBoss – a presentation describing the BIRT project, using BIRT with JBoss app server and
integrating BIRT with JBoss Tools 3.0
• Using the BIRT Viewer with JBoss – an article regarding how to use the open source BIRT Sample Viewer with
the JBoss Application Server
• JBoss Tools Downloads – a JBoss Tools 3.0 download page containing the BIRT plug-in
• Using JBoss and BIRT to Develop and Deploy Rich Internet Applications – a webinar on how organizations can
deploy Rich Information Applications with the performance, scalability and reliability provided by the JBoss
Enterprise Application Platform
• Example JBoss Seam project using Actuate's JSAPI - This example Seam project includes Actuate's JavaScript
API to run and view BIRT content. The parameter for a BIRT report is retrieved from a Seam component and
Seam Remoting is used to swap the report being rendered.
JBoss Community
The JBoss Community site is located at www.jboss.org
. The site is the main source of information for the open source
JBoss Application Server and related projects. In addition to the latest versions of JBoss technologies for download,
users can access forums, community event information, blogs, articles, and information about books.
The JBoss Community site also provides free downloads of the BIRT Plug-in for use with JBoss Developer Studio or
JBoss Tools at repository.jboss.org/eclipse/birt/2.3.2

The Eclipse BIRT Project
The Eclipse Foundation hosts the open source BIRT project. While the BIRT Exchange community focuses on the
immediate needs of report users, report creators and administrators, the Eclipse BIRT Project is primarily for those who
contribute to developing BIRT. To contribute code to BIRT, report or fix bugs, and influence the direction of the open
source BIRT project, visit the Eclipse BIRT project at www.eclipse.org/birt
.
BIRT and JBoss
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Where to Get BIRT Products
The most current versions of BIRT Products are available on the BIRT Exchange website at www.birt-
exchange.com/downloads
. The table below lists the products available for download:

Open Source BIRT Products
Value-Add BIRT Products

Eclipse BIRT Designer RCP – standalone application, does not
include or need the Eclipse IDE

Eclipse BIRT Designer Framework – install into an existing
Eclipse IDE

Eclipse BIRT Designer All-In-One – includes the Eclipse IDE.

Eclipse BIRT Engine & Sample Viewer

Actuate BIRT Designer Professional

BIRT Studio

BIRT Interactive Viewer

BIRT iServer Express

BIRT iServer Enterprise

BIRT Deployment Kit
Training
BIRT Training
BIRT training classes from Actuate are available in instructor-led classroom training and instructor-led online distance
learning. Private on-site training at a company location can also be arranged by contacting Actuate.
Course titles include:
• Working with BIRT Report Designer (classroom and distance learning)
• Integrating and Deploying BIRT (distance learning)
• Developing a Customized BIRT Studio Environment (classroom and distance learning)
• Beyond Open Source: Using Actuate BIRT (classroom)
• Using the BIRT Integration APIs (classroom)
• Managing the BIRT iServer System (classroom and distance learning)
Public classroom training is available in 10 cities in North America as well as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Singapore,
Sydney, and Tokyo. To view the schedule of public classroom and distance learning classes, visit:
• www.birt-exchange.com/be/services/training

• www.actuate.com/services/education

JBoss Training
JBoss training classes from Red Hat are available in instructor-led classroom training; instructor-led online virtual
training; and self-paced Red Hat eLearning courses.
Course titles include:
• JBoss: SEAM Essentials (classroom)
• JBoss Enterprise Application Development (classroom)
• JBoss Hibernate Technology (classroom)
• Advanced JBoss Enterprise Development (classroom)
• JBoss Application Administration (classroom and eLearning)
For more information about training and a complete list of courses, visit http://www.jboss.com/services/training/
.
BIRT and JBoss
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Customer Support
Customer Support for BIRT
Actuate Support Engineers have identified and assisted more BIRT users than any other support team. Actuate provides
a variety of support plans to assist developers and users of BIRT content, whether they use open source Eclipse BIRT or
Actuate’s BIRT-based products. To learn more, visit the following web pages:
• www.birt-exchange.com/be/services/support/
• www.actuate.com/services/support/service-plans/
JBoss Enterprise Middleware Subscriptions
Get industry leading SLA-based developer and production support, guaranteed patches, updates and bug fixes, multi-
year maintenance policies, and software assurance on JBoss Enterprise Middleware via a subscription from Red Hat.
Red Hat offers a range of Production and Developer Support Subscriptions. For more information, visit
www.jboss.com/services/subscriptions
.
Implementation Assistance
Actuate Professional Services
Actuate consultants can help kick start an Rich Information Application project and accelerate time to production, while
bringing organizations up to speed on BIRT best practices to support long-term success. They are ready to assist across
a wide range of activities from BIRT adoption strategies and report and data visualization development to fine tuning
server deployments.
With five pre-defined Professional Services packages to choose among and the ability to define a custom engagement,
Actuate BIRT-certified consultants can offer strategy recommendations, guide the implementation and roll-out of best-
practice Rich Information Applications, or implement them turnkey. They can also develop data visualizations and
reports cost-effectively.
Register for one of the five following packages on BIRT Exchange, or contact Actuate to discuss a custom engagement.
• BIRT Strategy Workshop – a one-day engagement that reviews options and makes best-practice
recommendations
• BIRT Deployment Strategy Package – a five-day engagement that creates design documents and a
project plan
• Best Practice BIRT Report Design Package – a combination of two days of classroom training and three
days of mentoring
• BIRT Fast Start Package – development of a reusable data visualization framework
• BIRT Report Factory – a pay-as-you-go service for designing BIRT content
To learn more, visit the following web pages:
www.birt-exchange.com/be/services/professional-services

www.actuate.com/services/professional-services

JBoss Enterprise Consulting Services
Red Hat Consulting delivers a full range of JBoss Enterprise Middleware consulting services, from assessment to
migration and implementation, to optimization and management. Red Hat architects and engineers are open source
experts with deep experience integrating JBoss products with other open source and closed source software. They help
organizations make the right architectural decisions from the start, reduce risk and accelerate time to project completion.
For information, visit www.jboss.com/services/consulting
.
BIRT and JBoss
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Books
The following books are helpful in learning to use BIRT. The first two references in this list were written by Actuate
employees and are available on Amazon.com. Additional books, including one written in German, offer evidence of
strong user adoption worldwide:
• BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting by Diana Peh, Nola Hague, and Jane Tatchell
• Integrating and Extending BIRT by Jason Weathersby, Don French, Tom Bonder, Jane Tatchell, and Iana
Chatalbasheva
• Practical Data Analysis and Reporting with BIRT by John Ward
• Eclipse BIRT: Business Intelligence und Reporting Tool (German Edition) by Ulrich Obst, Dennis
Schladebeck
You can also find many PDF and HTML documents on important BIRT topics at the BIRT Exchange at
www.birtexchange.org/modules/documentation
.
For information on books about JBoss Application Server, Seam, Hibernate, and other JBoss technologies, visit the
developer-authored books page at www.jboss.org/books
.
Blogs
The following blogs discuss BIRT and are aimed at BIRT developers:
• BIRT World, by Jason Weathersby of Actuate and Scott Rosenbaum of Innovent Solutions:
birtworld.blogspot.com
• BIRT-ing Out Loud, by Virgil Dodson of Actuate for BIRT-Exchange: www.birt-exchange.org/blog
Blogs covering JBoss Application Server, Seam, Hibernate and other JBoss technologies can be found at
http://www.jboss.org/feeds
.