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BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting

Book Description

A new edition of this title is available, ISBN-10: 0321580273 ISBN-13: 9780321580276

The first in a two-book series about Business Intelligence and Reporting Technology, BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting introduces reporting to a broad base of users. Built on the Eclipse platform, this exciting technology makes it possible for programmers and non-programmers to build and deploy complex reports with minimal effort.

BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting presents information about how to develop and customize reports of progressive complexity using BIRT Report Designer. This tool was designed from the ground up for Web applications and uses a Web page-oriented design metaphor in contrast to older banded report writers that were developed before the advent of the Internet. This unique approach to report creation makes BIRT an approachable and effective tool for developers of all levels.

Report designs discussed include

  • Listing reports that include sorting, grouping, and totals

  • Summary reports, such as top N reports

  • Charts, including pie, line, bar, and gauge charts

  • Master-detail reports

  • Other topics discussed include

  • Understanding the technology

  • Planning report designs

  • Accessing data

  • Laying out and formatting reports

  • Building charts

  • Enhancing reports with interactive viewing, shared libraries, and localized text

  • Preparing reports for international data

  • Table of Contents

    1. Copyright
    2. Foreword
      1. JSP = COBOL and Banded Report Writers = Report Design Pads
      2. Enter BIRT
    3. Preface
      1. About this book
      2. Who should read this book
      3. Contents of this book
        1. Part I, Installing BIRT
        2. Part II, Getting Started
        3. Part III, Accessing and Binding Data
        4. Part IV, Designing Reports
        5. Part V, Enhancing Reports
      4. Typographical Conventions
    4. Acknowledgments
    5. I. Installing BIRT
      1. 1. Prerequisites for BIRT
        1. Requirements for the BIRT report designers
          1. About installing required software
          2. BIRT RCP Report Designer software requirements
          3. BIRT Report Designer Full Eclipse Install software requirements
          4. BIRT Report Designer software requirements
        2. About types of BIRT builds
      2. 2. Installing a BIRT Report Designer
        1. Installing BIRT Report Designer
          1. Downloading and installing BIRT Report Designer
          2. Installing the auxiliary file for BIRT Report Designer
          3. Testing the BIRT Report Designer installation
        2. Installing BIRT Report Designer Full Eclipse Install
          1. Downloading and installing BIRT Report Designer Full Eclipse Install
          2. Installing the auxiliary file for BIRT Report Designer
        3. Installing BIRT RCP Report Designer
          1. Downloading and installing BIRT RCP Report Designer
          2. Installing the auxiliary file for BIRT Report Designer
          3. Testing the BIRT RCP Report Designer installation
        4. Troubleshooting installation problems
          1. Avoiding cache conflicts after you install a BIRT report designer
          2. Specifying which Java Virtual Machine to use when you start a BIRT report designer
        5. Installing a language pack
      3. 3. Updating a BIRT Installation
        1. Using the Eclipse Update Manager to update BIRT Report Designer installation
        2. Updating BIRT RCP Report Designer installation
    6. II. Getting Started
      1. 4. Learning the Basics
        1. About BIRT reports
        2. Overview of the report design process
          1. Planning the report
          2. Starting a new report design
          3. Specifying the data to use
          4. Laying out the report
          5. Formatting the report content
          6. Designing a master page
          7. Previewing and testing the report
        3. About the report design environment
          1. Starting BIRT Report Designer
          2. Report design views
            1. Report editor
            2. Palette
            3. Data Explorer
            4. Library Explorer
            5. Property Editor
            6. Navigator
            7. Outline
            8. Problems
          3. Report design files
          4. Report output formats
          5. Previewing a report
        4. Tutorial 1: Building a simple listing report
          1. Task 1: Create a new project
          2. Task 2: Create a new report
          3. Task 3: Build a data source
          4. Task 4: Build a data set
          5. Task 5: Lay out the report
          6. Task 6: Sort the data
          7. Task 7: Format the report
            1. Edit the column headings
            2. Format the column headings
            3. Display first and last names on the same line
            4. Increase the space between rows
          8. Task 8: Create a report title
          9. Next steps
      2. 5. Planning Your Report
        1. Identifying the content of the report
        2. Determining how the report will be viewed
        3. Considering international reporting requirements
        4. Deciding the layout and format of the report
        5. Drawing a mock-up
        6. Considering reuse of report components
        7. Managing report design resources
        8. Deciding how the report will be deployed
    7. III. Accessing and Binding Data
      1. 6. Connecting to a Data Source
        1. Working with data sources
        2. Accessing data using JDBC
          1. Preparing to access a database
          2. Creating a JDBC data source
          3. Managing JDBC drivers
            1. Adding a JDBC driver
            2. Deleting a JDBC driver
          4. Restoring JDBC drivers
        3. Accessing data in text files
          1. Preparing to access your text file
            1. Text file rules
            2. Text file data types
          2. Creating a flat file data source
        4. Accessing XML data
          1. Preparing to access XML data
          2. Creating an XML data source
        5. Setting connection properties when a report runs
        6. Troubleshooting data source problems
      2. 7. Retrieving Data
        1. Creating a BIRT data set
          1. Changing the data source for a data set
          2. Deleting a data set
        2. Selecting data
          1. Using a SQL query to retrieve data
            1. Creating a SQL query using SELECT
            2. Combining data from multiple tables
          2. Using a stored procedure to retrieve data
          3. Specifying what data to retrieve from a text file
          4. Specifying what data to retrieve from an XML data source
        3. Viewing and changing output columns
        4. Previewing a data set
        5. Adding a computed field to a data set
        6. Joining data sets
        7. Using additional data set options
          1. Creating a dynamic query
          2. Setting data set cache preferences
      3. 8. Binding Data
        1. Understanding column bindings
          1. Descriptive names
          2. Dynamic updates of calculated data
        2. Creating column bindings
        3. Editing and deleting column bindings
        4. More about column-binding expressions
    8. IV. Designing Reports
      1. 9. Laying Out a Report
        1. Understanding the layout model
          1. About the report layout elements
          2. Overview of the layout process
        2. Creating the sections of a report
          1. Organizing elements in a grid
            1. Adding rows and columns
            2. Deleting rows and columns
          2. Organizing elements in a table
            1. Deciding where to place elements in a table
            2. Binding a table to a data set
            3. Adjusting table rows and columns
          3. Organizing elements in a list
            1. Deciding where to place elements in a list
            2. Binding a list to a data set
        3. Placing report elements
          1. Placing report elements side by side
          2. Inserting data set fields
          3. Inserting computed fields
          4. Inserting images
      2. 10. Displaying Text
        1. Types of textual elements
        2. Deciding which textual element to use
          1. Formatting words differently in a static string
          2. Combining static text with dynamic data
          3. Displaying dynamic data that contains HTML tags
          4. Displaying dynamic data that a JavaScript expression returns
        3. Using a dynamic text element
        4. Using a label element
        5. Using a text element
          1. Applying multiple style formats in a text element
          2. Combining a JavaScript expression with static text in a text element
          3. Combining a value from a data set field with static text in a text element
          4. Formatting dynamic values in a text element
          5. Displaying data set field values that are stored as HTML text
      3. 11. Formatting Report Content
        1. Formatting data
          1. Formatting numeric data
            1. Formatting numeric data in a data element
            2. Formatting numeric data in a text element
          2. Formatting date-and-time data
            1. Formatting date-and-time data in a data element
            2. Formatting date-and-time data in a text element
          3. Formatting string data
            1. Formatting text in a data element
            2. Formatting text data in a text element
        2. Formatting with styles
          1. Creating styles
          2. Importing styles
          3. Applying a style
          4. Modifying a style
          5. Deleting a style
        3. Formatting data based on conditions
          1. Creating a formatting rule
          2. Modifying a formatting rule
          3. Creating multiple formatting rules
          4. Deleting a formatting rule
        4. Alternating row colors in a table
        5. Specifying alignment of content in a table or grid
          1. Aligning text horizontally
          2. Aligning content vertically
        6. Adjusting the spacing of content in a report
          1. Resizing rows and columns
          2. Resizing margins, borders, and padding of elements
        7. Displaying content across multiple columns
        8. Specifying alternate values for display
        9. Hiding elements based on conditions
      4. 12. Sorting and Grouping Data
        1. Sorting data
          1. Ways to sort data
          2. Sorting string data case-insensitively
        2. Grouping data
          1. Grouping data by intervals
            1. Grouping string data by intervals
            2. Grouping numeric data by intervals
            3. Grouping date-and-time data by intervals
          2. Sorting data at the group level
          3. Creating multiple groups
          4. Changing the order of groups
          5. Adding group headings
            1. Displaying group headings in the detail row
            2. Specifying expressions for group headings
        3. Tutorial 2: Grouping report data
          1. Task 1: Open the report design
          2. Task 2: Save the report as a new file
          3. Task 3: Add the credit limit field to the data set
          4. Task 4: Add credit limit data to the report
          5. Task 5: Group customer data by credit limit
          6. Task 6: Display credit limit ranges in the group header
          7. Task 7: Display aggregate information
          8. Task 8: Format the report
            1. Remove credit limit data from the detail rows
            2. Display group headings on the first row of each group
            3. Separate each group with a line
          9. Task 9: Preview the report in the BIRT report viewer
          10. Task 10: Display credit limit ranges in the table of contents
      5. 13. Aggregating Data
        1. Types of aggregate calculations
        2. Placing aggregate data
        3. Writing aggregate expressions
        4. Accessing aggregate functions in the expression builder
        5. Filtering aggregate data
          1. Excluding null values from an aggregate calculation
          2. Counting rows that contain unique values
        6. Getting an aggregate value from another group
        7. Calculating percentages
          1. Calculating the product’s total sales as a percentage of a state’s total sales
          2. Calculating the state’s total sales as a percentage of the overall sales
          3. Displaying the percentage values in the correct format
        8. Creating a summary report
      6. 14. Writing Expressions
        1. Basic concepts
          1. Data types
          2. Case sensitivity
          3. Multiline expressions
        2. Using Expression Builder
        3. Manipulating numeric data
          1. Computing values from multiple numeric fields
            1. Order of precedence
            2. Division by zero
          2. Converting a number to a string
        4. Manipulating string data
          1. Substituting string values
          2. Combining values from multiple fields
          3. Removing null values from combined fields
          4. Getting parts of a string
          5. Matching string patterns
            1. Using pattern-matching in filter conditions
            2. Using pattern-matching to search for and replace string values
          6. Converting a string to a number
        5. Manipulating date-and-time data
          1. Displaying the current date
          2. Getting parts of a date or time as a number
          3. Calculating the time between two dates
          4. Calculating a date
        6. Using Boolean expressions
      7. 15. Filtering Data
        1. Filtering opportunities
        2. Specifying conditions on row retrieval
          1. Filtering database data
          2. Types of SQL filter conditions
          3. Filtering XML data
        3. Filtering data after row retrieval
          1. Deciding where to filter in BIRT
          2. Types of BIRT filter conditions
          3. Creating a filter condition
          4. Creating multiple filter conditions
      8. 16. Enabling the User to Filter Data
        1. About report parameters
        2. Planning to use report parameters
        3. Ways to enable user filtering
        4. Enabling the user to filter at query run time
          1. Task 1: Creating a report parameter
          2. Task 2: Inserting a parameter marker in the SQL query
          3. Task 3: Creating a data set parameter and binding it to the report parameter
        5. Enabling the user to filter after running the query
          1. Task 1: Creating a report parameter
          2. Task 2: Updating a filter condition when the report runs
        6. Designing the presentation of report parameters
          1. Providing a default value
          2. Providing the user with a list of values
            1. Creating a static list of values
            2. Creating a dynamic list of values
          3. Formatting report parameter values
          4. Enabling the user to specify null or blank values
          5. Organizing report parameters in groups
          6. Creating cascading report parameters
          7. Changing the order in which report parameters appear
        7. Testing the report parameters
      9. 17. Building a Report That Contains Subreports
        1. Creating the report structure
          1. Building a report with independent subreports
          2. Building a report with linked subreports
            1. Creating the structure of a report with linked subreports
            2. Linking master and detail reports
        2. Tutorial 3: Building a report with side-by-side subreports
          1. Task 1: Create a new report
          2. Task 2: Build a data source
          3. Task 3: Build a data set for the customer report
          4. Task 4: Build a data set for the orders subreport
          5. Task 5: Build a data set for the payments subreport
          6. Task 6: Create the customer master report
          7. Task 7: Create the orders subreport
          8. Task 8: Link the orders subreport to the customers master report
          9. Task 9: Create the payments subreport
          10. Task 10: Link the payments subreport to the customers master report
          11. Task 11: Display only customers that have orders or payments
          12. Task 12: Display the subreports next to one another
          13. Task 13: Format the report
            1. Highlight the customer names
            2. Edit the column headings
            3. Change the date formats
            4. Change the number formats
            5. Increase the vertical space between elements
            6. Increase the horizontal space between the orders and payments tables
            7. Add borders around the tables
            8. Increase the space between the table borders and contents
      10. 18. Using a Chart in a Report
        1. Tutorial 4: Creating a chart
          1. Task 1: Set up the report design file
          2. Task 2: Add the chart to the report
          3. Task 3: Providing data for a chart
          4. Task 4: View the chart
          5. Task 5: Updating the chart title
          6. Task 6: Refine the chart appearance
          7. Next steps
        2. Exploring the chart builder
          1. Select Chart Type
          2. Select Data
          3. Format Chart
            1. Series section
            2. Chart area section
            3. Axis section
            4. Plot section
            5. Legend section
        3. Positioning a chart
        4. Understanding types of charts
          1. About area charts
          2. About bar charts
          3. About line charts
          4. About meter charts
          5. About pie charts
          6. About scatter charts
          7. About stock charts
        5. Understanding chart output formats
      11. 19. Displaying Data in Charts
        1. Understanding chart data concepts
        2. Using expressions to set up chart series
          1. Selecting a chart data set
          2. Aggregating information for a chart
          3. Setting up an expression in the chart builder
          4. Formatting the data that an expression returns
        3. Defining series expressions in different chart types
          1. Defining series in an area, bar, or line chart
          2. Defining series in a meter chart
          3. Defining series in a pie chart
          4. Defining series in a scatter chart
          5. Defining series in a stock chart
          6. Defining series in a combination chart
        4. Sorting category series or base series data
        5. Grouping category data
        6. Working with data on a chart axis
          1. Understanding value and category axes
          2. Defining the axis data type and number format
          3. Defining where one axis intersects the other
          4. Defining the scale of an axis
          5. Using multiple y-axes
          6. Transposing the chart axes
        7. Setting chart data preview preferences
      12. 20. Laying Out and Formatting a Chart
        1. Laying out and formatting the chart area
          1. Setting the background color for a chart
          2. Outlining a chart
          3. Setting the wall or floor color of a chart
          4. Adding padding around the chart
        2. Formatting the chart plot, title, and legend areas
          1. Working with the plot area
            1. Setting the color, outline, or shadow for the plot
            2. Placing and adding space around the plot
            3. Specifying the plot size
          2. Working with the chart title
            1. Formatting title text
            2. Setting a background color, outline, or shadow for the title
            3. Placing or adding padding around a chart title
          3. Working with the legend
            1. Setting the color, outline, or shadow for the legend
            2. Hiding a legend
            3. Placing and adding space around a legend
            4. Showing series item values in a legend
            5. Formatting the text that appears in the legend
            6. Adding a legend title
        3. Formatting an axis
          1. Working with an axis title
          2. Working with axis markers
            1. Adding an axis marker
            2. Formatting axis markers
          3. Working with an axis line
          4. Working with axis labels
        4. Formatting a series
          1. Setting the series type
          2. Hiding a series
          3. Making a series translucent
          4. Setting the color palette for a series
          5. Adding and formatting a curve-fitting line
          6. Stacking series
          7. Working with different series types
            1. Setting the series depth of a chart with depth or a three-dimensional chart
            2. Formatting a three-dimensional chart
              1. Working with chart rotation
              2. Working with the space between elements in a three-dimensional series
            3. Formatting an area-chart series
            4. Formatting a bar-chart series
            5. Formatting a line or a scatter-chart series
            6. Formatting a meter-chart series
              1. Working with dial size
              2. Working with dial scale and markings
              3. Working with needle settings
              4. Arranging multiple meters
              5. Working with meter-chart labels
              6. Working with dial regions
            7. Formatting a pie chart series
              1. Changing the shape of a pie
              2. Working with pie sectors
              3. Working with explosion settings for a pie chart
              4. Working with leader lines
              5. Arranging multiple pies in a pie chart
            8. Formatting a stock-chart series
          8. Working with data points and data point labels
        5. Using styles to format a chart
    9. V. Enhancing Reports
      1. 21. Designing a Multipage Report
        1. Planning the page layout
        2. Controlling pagination
          1. Inserting page breaks
            1. Inserting page breaks in a report with multiple sections and groups
            2. Inserting page breaks in a master-detail report
          2. Specifying the number of rows per page
        3. Customizing the master page
          1. Viewing the master page
          2. Designing the page header and footer
            1. Displaying page numbers, the current date, and other text
            2. Displaying an image
            3. Specifying a header size
            4. Specifying a footer size
            5. Excluding header content from the first page
          3. Displaying an image in the background
            1. Designing the appearance of the background image
            2. Positioning the background image
          4. Displaying different content in a PDF and HTML report
          5. Specifying page size, orientation, and margins
        4. Using multiple master pages
      2. 22. Adding Interactive Viewing Features
        1. Creating hyperlinks
          1. Linking two sections in a report
          2. Linking to a section in a different report
          3. Linking to external content using a URI
        2. Creating a table of contents
        3. Adding interactive chart features
          1. Adding interactivity events and actions
          2. Linking a chart to a report
        4. Exporting report data
      3. 23. Building a Shared Report Development Framework
        1. Comparing report designs, libraries, and templates
          1. About the report design file type
          2. About the library file type
          3. About the template file type
        2. Sharing report elements in a library
          1. Dynamic library behavior
          2. Sharing styles
          3. Understanding library name space
          4. Designing libraries for a shared environment
            1. Defining a general library
            2. Defining a structures library
            3. Defining a project library
            4. Understanding the resource folder
          5. Using a library
            1. Creating a library
            2. Accessing report items from a library in a report design
            3. Making local changes to a library element in a report design
            4. Using themes and styles from a library
        3. Sharing a report layout as a template
          1. Developing a custom template
            1. Designing template report items
            2. Publishing a template
          2. Using a custom template
      4. 24. Localizing Text
        1. Overview of the localization process
        2. Assigning a resource file to a report
        3. Assigning a resource key to a label or text element
        4. Changing localized text in a label or text element to static text
        5. Assigning a resource key to chart text
        6. Changing localized chart text to static text
        7. Assigning a resource key to a report parameter
        8. Editing a resource file
        9. Previewing a report in different locales
    10. Glossary