View Full Version : Different Report Types

06-20-2006, 01:31 PM

I'm new to open-source reporting, and I was wondering what are some of the advantages/disadvantages of the three options (Jasper, BIRT, JFree). I would want something that is flexible and customizable. The only output requirements are PDF.


06-20-2006, 01:58 PM
uhmm well I have been looking at all 3 for some time now. and it seems that the easiest to work with inside pentaho is the jfree.

The advantages to all three are that they are open source so you can make changes to them is you want was well as have a community for support. They all produce PDFs easily and all have similiar features.

I beleive that jasper 1.2.3 and birt 2.0.1 are supported in the next release though the Jfree seems to be the most flexiable when trying to do things outside the scope of it's current ablities b/c it can utilize the other aspects of pentaho and pentaho can improve it's implementation as suggestions come from the community. Jfree 0.9 should be out in the next couple of months.

As far as advantages go. Birt and Jasper all have nice gui interfaces and now Jfree has one in the works.
Jfree is part of pentaho
Jasper has IMO the best stand alone gui

they are all slightly different and and each have a learning curve as does anything "new" to do does.
Birt and jasper are not part of pentaho though they are supported
Birt has a gui but I haven't been able to get it up and running it kills my eclipse everytime.
Birt and Jasper have different communities and pentaho can only change so much before they can't do anymore.

I would say in about 2 to 3 months the Jfree will be much better and the clear choose than the other two once the GUI gets developed some more and 0.9 comes out and is intergrated.

But I would probably go with which ever one you are able to get up and going with sooner. From experience trying to get some neat cross tab action going on Jasper appears to be a good choose but it's probably the most complicated as well.

Just some thoughts.


P.S. there are a lot of reviews on the internet that you can find via google

06-21-2006, 05:06 AM
Hi Sam,

Glad to see you're getting some good tech feedback from the community, and as Nic points out there's a lot more info. out there. At the very highest level, if you want an embeddable java-based reporting library that outputs to PDF, BIRT, Jasper, or Pentaho Reporting / JFreeReport can address the requirement.

I'm going to slightly over-simplify, but hopefully give you a perspective that's important that people sometimes don't consider when looking for open source reporting.

What I would suggest is that while the "first step" with these alternatives looks roughly the same, the "next step" may look very different, and is worth considering. First, what other functional capabilities might you need in the medium-term? If you might need analysis capabilities/OLAP, dashboards, or data integration/ETL, only Pentaho (of these 3) provides them. It certainly wouldn’t be terribly hard, for example, to make Pentaho's data integration work with another reporting tool, but Pentaho and the Pentaho Community are delivering and enhancing integration, offer one place for support, and an integrated long-term vision and roadmap.

The other question is "what happens when/if you want to scale your reporting capabilities?" Pentaho provides a full BI platform in open source. The upgrade path from BIRT is to Actuate's closed-source, proprietary iServer product (and technically I'm not sure if this is an upgrade, or a rewrite of your existing BIRT reports), and the upgrade from jasper reports is to the jasper server for a reporting web application, and then to the jasper decisions closed-source, proprietary platform (formerly Panscopic). There are of course functional differences, and I wouldn't know whether or if those platforms would meet your future needs. My point is just that "step 2" is very different depending on what you choose for step 1.

Hope that helps.