Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jaspersoft 3.7: Audit Logs, Search and Help!

Just last week, we made available Jaspersoft – the version that delivers all the functionality of our latest release, now running on an even wider range of the most popular software platforms such as WebSphere 7, WebLogic 11g, SpringSource tc Server 6.0, Firefox 3.6, and Windows 7. So, to conclude my feature series on Jaspersoft 3.7 and our new Enterprise Edition, I will summarize just a few of the remaining core advancements, highlighting how customer and community feedback helped us drive these in the right direction. In previous posts, I’ve covered Jaspersoft 3.7’s more advanced in-memory analysis and its enhanced visualization (via Flash). Now I’ll briefly describe our new Audit Log, Repository Search and on-line, context-sensitive Help System.

The Audit Log was conceived for and with some of our most active customers, specifically to help them monitor, report, and analyze all events occurring in JasperServer such as running reports and analyses, and adding and updating users. Technically, we added an extensible audit-logging framework into the server along with a pre-populated set of audit objects including an audit log data source, Domain, and set of pre-built reports. Using these, any variety of reports and dashboards can be constructed (drag-and-drop) to create a customized view of what is happening within JasperServer, for usage monitoring, performance tuning, and compliance. Here’s a sample screen of that domain and some pre-built reports.

Next, the Repository Search feature adds much-needed functionality especially for our enterprise customers. Greater data volumes and more varied data types usually yield a repository full of folders, reports and myriad data objects. Navigating only a hierarchical folder system becomes unwieldy and a Search function is required. Our new integrated Search capability allows for free-form searching of any metadata maintained in the JasperServer repository. This means you can find a report by date, name, type and so on . . . very useful and time-saving. Here’s a screen shot showing the search box and a sample result.

Lastly, Jaspersoft 3.7 includes an on-line, context-sensitive Help System that takes users directly to the most relevant documentation. We store this Help content in a centralized location, re-purposing in HTML content taken directly from the wildly popular “Ultimate Guides” series of print documentation. This makes for not only a fast but efficient Help solution. Our customers will appreciate the always up-to-date information and examples. Below, I’ve provided an example of the Help provided when viewing a dashboard.

Beyond these three capabilities, we’ve certified Jaspersoft 3.7 against some of the most popular analytic data stores, including Infobright, Vertica and GreenPlum – as well as JBoss Data Services (formerly MetaMatrix). There are so many new features and capabilities in Jaspersoft 3.7 that I could just keep on writing. But, I won’t. Instead, I’ll suggest that you check it out yourself by viewing a brief demo and downloading our latest release highlights. Your comments and questions are encouraged.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jaspersoft 3.7: Visualize This

[This post returns us to my Jaspersoft 3.7 Enterprise Edition features series, after two short posts on important, timely Community matters. To catch you up, my earlier posts on this topic provided an overview of Jaspersoft 3.7 and a dive into its new integrated, in-memory analysis features.]

Many of the most important industry prognosticators cited advanced visualization as a “Top Ten BI Trend in 2010”. Two of my favorite Top Ten lists came from Lyndsay Wise and Nenshad Bardoliwalla. Coincidentally, both ranked advanced visualization seventh on their lists. No surprise, really, as huge growth in data volume, variety and veracity (truthfulness) creates an even more compelling need to discern the critical nuggets from the mountains of seemingly important morsels. What better way to mine information than through rich, interactive visualization techniques?

Jaspersoft 3.7 includes hundreds of Flash-based charts, maps and widgets, many of which are available in 3-D and can be animated. The goal is to provide the report and dashboard developer with richer tools to display information so that increasingly-sophisticated users can interact with and explore information to gain insight more rapidly and accurately.

It’s exciting stuff. Animated 3-D gauges and charts can drive powerful new insights. But the biggest “Aha’ reaction occurs when customers consider using interactive maps that bring the geographic dimension of data to life. So much enterprise data exploration could begin with a geographic component, which enables greater understanding and faster insight, but the data is not placed in the context of an actual map because this type of visualization has traditionally been difficult or unavailable. IT systems management information, consumer packaged goods distribution flow, retail location performance, and financial services customer profitability analysis are all customer conversations I’ve had in the past few months – and which will be improved through the more advanced, interactive visualization capabilities available in Jaspersoft 3.7.

Here’s a screen shot of a Jaspersoft Dashboard displaying Flash-based charts (3-D pie and column) and an interactive map. Note that all of these receive commands from a common input control. Note also the mashed-up web content below the graphs, which delivers relevant contextual information for the dashboard user (and which can also receive common input control).

How could you use interactive, animated 3-D charts, maps and widgets to make your data much more useful? To learn more about this and other features of Jaspersoft 3.7, check out our brief demo. I look forward to your comments.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer