pure::variants Connector for BIRT

To enable dissemination of the results of variant and variability management, it is often helpful to have printable reports in a common text format generated from several data sources including pure::variants models.

pure::variants Connector for BIRT makes it possible to integrate any data from pure::variants into BIRT reports. Because pure::variants and BIRT are both Eclipse-based applications, there is no need to switch tools in order to define, manipulate or run a report from pure::variants.

BIRT Overview

BIRT is an Eclipse-based open source reporting system for web applications, especially those based on Java and J2EE. BIRT has two main components: a report designer based on Eclipse, and a runtime component that you can add to your application server. BIRT also offers a charting engine that lets you add charts to your own application.

With BIRT, you can add a rich variety of reports to your application:

  • Lists - The simplest reports are lists of data. As lists get longer, you can add grouping to organize related data together (e.g. artefacts grouped by type, features grouped by creator). If your data is numeric, you can easily add totals, averages and other summaries.
  • Charts - Numeric data is much easier to understand when presented as a chart. BIRT provides pie charts, line & bar charts and many more formats. BIRT charts can be rendered in SVG and also support events to allow user interaction.
  • Crosstabs - Crosstabs (also called a cross-tabulation or matrix) show data in two dimensions: e.g. elements per user.
  • Letters & Documents - Notices, form letters, and other textual documents are easy to create with BIRT. Documents can include text, formatting, lists, charts and more.
  • Compound Reports - Many reports need to combine the above into a single document. For example, a customer statement may list the information for the customer, provide text about current promotions, and provide side-by-side lists of payments and charges. A financial report may include disclaimers, charts, tables etc. all these could have extensive formatting that matches corporate color schemes.

The Anatomy of a Report

BIRT reports consist of four main parts: data, data transforms, business logic and presentation.

  • Data - Databases, web services and Java objects can all supply data to your BIRT report. BIRT provides JDBC, XML, Web Services, and Flat File support, as well as support for using code to get at other sources of data. BIRT's use of the Open Data Access (ODA) framework allows anyone to build new UI and runtime support for any kind of tabular data. Furthermore, a single report can include data from any number of data sources. BIRT also supplies a feature that allows disparate data sources to be combined using inner and outer joins.
  • Data Transforms - Reports present data sorted, summarized, filtered and grouped to fit the user's needs. While databases can do some of this work, BIRT must do it for "simple" data sources such as flat files or Java objects. BIRT allows sophisticated operations such as grouping on sums, percentages of overall totals and more.
  • Business Logic - Real-world data is seldom structured exactly as you'd like for a report. Many reports require business-specific logic to convert raw data into information useful for the user. If the logic is just for the report, you can script it using BIRT's JavaScript support. If your application already contains the logic, you can call into your existing Java code.
  • Presentation - Once the data is ready, you have a wide range of options for presenting it to the user. Tables, charts, text and more. A single data set can appear in multiple ways, and a single report can present data from multiple data sets.

How pure::variants Connector for BIRT works

To access up-to-date pure::variants model data, the Connector acts as a BIRT Data Source. This is able to access all pure::variants models using the integrated pure::variants API. No file-based data transfer is involved, thus data is the same as pure::variants displays on-screen.

Since reports can have multiple data sources, it is also possible to combine pure::variants data with data from other sources such as SQL databases in a single report.

Benefits of pure::variants Connector for BIRT

  • Uses a high quality open-source reporting engine - no additional cost if reporting is required for other data sources.
  • Supports mixed data sources - makes it easy to create reports from virtually any kind of data source such as SQL, XML, JDBC.
  • Open API - integrating of your own data sources is possible
  • One Report - can be presented in multiple Formats (HTML, MS Word, PDF, MS Excel etc.)
  • Real-time Data Update - Report contains same data as a user sees in an open pure::variants editor. No need to save a model before creating a report

Technical Data

  • Same as pure::variants Professional/Enterprise