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First Exploration of Jaspersoft BI Suite

By rwu
Mar. 19, 2014

Here are some tips for novices to ramp up in Jaspersoft BI Suite quickly:

1. Jaspersoft and its BI suite

Jaspersoft BI Suite is Jaspersoft's main product.

The core of the suite is JasperReports, originally devised to be embedded into Java-based applications to yield a variety of eye-catching electronic reports.

Additionally, Jaspersoft builds other functionalities like data analysis, dashboard, and data integration around JasperReports, rounding out it's usefulness as a complete business intelligence tool.

2. JasperReports: library and server

'JasperReports' refers to JasperReports library and/or JasperReports server (or Jasperserver); the library is similar to other Java-based libraries in that the developer may embed it into an integrated development environment (IDE), like Eclipse. By using the library, the developer can produce static reports only. To make the reports dynamic, we need to import them into the JasperReports server where we can capitalize on functionalities, like the dashboard.

3. Two versions

Jaspersoft BI has two versions, dependent on if the user has paid for the software (enterprise) or has not (community). Anyone can use the community version, while the enterprise version is for commercial use. Functionally speaking, the difference between two versions is big.

The community version doesn’t allow the user to create a report through web-interface, instead the user has to edit the report in an IDE called Jaspersoft Studio, and then deploy it on the server.

Additionally, these two different versions have a slight - but crucial - difference if customized installation is needed. Jaspersoft provides an installer that bundles Jasperserver with Tomcat and PostgreSQL. The user has to download WAR file, if he or she wants to install a different application and/or database server, like JBOSS or MySQL. For some unknown reason, Jaspersoft doesn’t provide WAR file for the enterprise version, meaning the user has to contact Jaspersoft to ask for a copy.

4. Terminology: Report; Ad Hoc View; Template; Dashboard;

A report consists of the ad hoc view and the template. The ad hoc view is a definition of data retrieved from the database, in other words, what the user wants to present (the data of the dates, names, measurements, and so on). The template defines the size and layout of the page. The ad hoc view can be defined through the web-interface directly in the enterprise version, and in the community version can only be defined in Jaspersoft Studio. For the template, no matter which version you choose, it has to be design in the studio.

The dashboard is a dynamic report console for the report audiences to yield the data they want in their desired way. For example, an audience wants to see the sales curve for quarter four of 2013, he or she may do so by simply changing the range of months.

5. Integration with other systems

By using a cross-database visit on the same database server, we can implement the integration of Drupal, Alfresco, and Jaspersoft BI very easily. With a bit of extra work, we may also embed the JasperReports library or server into Alfresco to unify the user interfaces.

 

References:

http://www.jaspersoft.com/meet-the-new-jaspersoft-5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JasperReports

https://www.jaspersoft.com/blog-entry/jasperreports-library-vs-jasperreports-server-making-the-right-choice-for-you

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