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Thread: jFreeReport <-> Eclipse BIRT any Relationships ?

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  1. #1

    Default jFreeReport <-> Eclipse BIRT any Relationships ?

    Hi Thomas,

    first of all, congratulations to your work on jFreeReport. Like many other developers already mentioned in this forum, its a great tool. We like it.

    1. We like clear structure in API and XML .
    Doing reporting only with Dialogs and clicks ist not what we prefer.
    jFreeReport gives us a well structured Base-API so we know
    what are the principles inside. Understanding and extending principles
    and patterns is the way we prefer when learning other java tools.

    2. A free tool supports doing first steps in reporting and printing.
    After evaluation, paying for some good documentation is a good way

    3. But there are 3 major points of doubt:
    - Lack of up to date documentation, especially about API usage
    and hierarchical structure thats supports the learning curve
    - Further development in the future ?
    - jFreeDesigner seams to be dead ?
    - will it be replaced by Eclipse BIRT in the developer comunity?

    At the moment we compare it with Eclipse BIRT and we are looking if there is some common base. Is there any relationship between developers? We would appreciate that. I saw a post in this group from an "Accenture" developer.
    (Tips and docs "Nested Report")

    What do you think about Eclipse BIRT ?


    M.Olbrich

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    8,085

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    Hi,

    its great that you like JFreeReport (and its design). I love to hear that

    You're totally right, the documentation is a weak spot at the moment. The JavaDoc is currently the only source of documentation regarding the usage of the API.

    Right now I'm working hard on 'liblayout'. That new subproject will replace the old layouter and output target code currently found in JFreeReport. At the end, JFreeReport will have a clear spearation between the report processor and underlying layouting engine and output generation. LibLayout will be based on the Cascading StyleSheet specifications, which is the logical successor or the current Element/Band/ElementStyleSheet construct used in JFreeReport.

    With the layouting engine in place, subreports and crosstab reports are in reach and will be implemented as quickly as possible. The final goal is to make JFreeReport *the* commercial grade Open-Source reporting engine.

    JFreeDesigner is indeed dead. I really doubt it will be continued in a near future. We are currently in negotiation with a sponsor, who might be going to implement a modern and usable report designer for JFreeReport.

    In the current state, JFreeReport and Birt are not really comparable. Birt uses an Document Model for the generated content, while JFreeReport precomputes some values and then generates the content directly. Even with LibLayout in place, our CSS implementation will limit the document model to a minimum. Performance is the key for JFreeReport - the small and swift rat-like mammals survived where the old dinosaurs died

    Except for looking at it curriously, I have not used Birt in any real projects. From what I've seen, they use FOP for their output processing. Creating a large (and large means 100 to 200 pages here) would be a performance desaster. (They acknowledge that fact in their FAQ)

    Generally, Birt seems to be aimed on servers, where plenty of CPU power and memory is available. The Birt-Runtime has a download size of 37mb!

    JFreeReport is positioned differently. Performance, ease of use and a small footprint (disk space, memory and CPU time) are the main goals of this project. For an embedded reporting engine it is important to be conservative with the host resources. The ease of use starts with the system requirements: JFreeReport runs on any Java2 compatible JDK and requires no configuration or special tools. A report definition, a tablemodel and about 20 lines of code are enought to get a report up and running.

    I have no plans to use Birt right now or to join the Birt development. I love everything small and simple and easy to understand

    Accenture itself is a large company - so this posting does not mean we will join forces. There is no relationship between Birt and JFreeReport at all.

    Regards,
    Thomas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    4,947

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    Hi Thomas,

    thanks for your immediate and complete answer.
    I'm totally up with you in all that points.

    Spending one day or two on the evaluation of BIRT
    and one or two days on the evaluation of jFreeReport
    my hart beats for jFreeReport, because you can look inside
    and see whats going on there. Searching in Menues and clicking around,
    getting some awesome but unattended results (may be or may be not working) on the screen is not our goal and is not at all sattisfying.

    But first you need to know what existing tools are about in order to
    be able to decide for one of them.

    On the other hand, the eclipse community is a big and widely spread
    forum of users with a well supported development so one might imagine
    that those Eclipse tools quickly grow up to a standard or nearby.

    Ok, i would like to have an Eclipse-Plugin jFreeDesigner for jFreeReport and jFreeCharts, but only if it does not disturb the API clearness
    and the advantages you just mentioned. That must be protected.

    In case of two choices:
    a complex tool with GUI designer, just clicking around and
    a clear understandable tool without GUI designer
    i would prefer the second one, because with every day you spend on
    it you get closer inside and your knowlegde base grows.

    While clicking around in a GUI designer, try and error principle will not be
    sattisfying.


    Regards
    Markus

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