Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jaspersoft 4: The New Foundation

Today Jaspersoft makes available the fourth major generation of its business intelligence platform and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m proud because we’ve taken the time, with this major new release, to make significant architectural improvements that a software company rarely (if ever) takes the time to do. In fact, we’ve re-written the upper third of the overall platform architecture, creating a new and remarkably powerful, consistent, extensible layer that adheres purely to web standards. We refer to this new layer as the Jaspersoft UI Framework and the flexibility and sophistication it will provide to BI Builders is unparalleled.

We’re big fans of the BI Builder as the key new hero in the BI solution equation. I’ve written about this important role separately. This technical professional goes by many titles (software engineer, product manager, report developer, DW/BI Manager, Data Architect, and so on) and is responsible for developing, integrating and / or customizing a BI solution for an end-user audience. The BI Builder applies critical domain knowledge and BI expertise to turn data into information and insight, enabling a broader (and arguably less-skilled) group of users to benefit from business intelligence – making BI genuinely more pervasive along the way.

So, what does Jaspersoft 4’s UI Framework provide for the BI Builder? Lots. Here’s the summary:
  • Consumer Web Application-Style UI – the new UI Framework within Jaspersoft 4 delivers improved interactivity and usability typically found in consumer web applications. Its modern look and feel enhances web applications and gives end users access to intuitive, self-service BI.
  • 100% Web Application Architecture – Jaspersoft 4 is the only BI environment that is 100% web application ready. The new UI Framework completes Jaspersoft’s architecture as a web application stack, from the back-end server to the front-end UI. Built on flexible, open web standards, Jaspersoft 4 can be deployed out-of-the-box on-premises, in a multi-tenant SaaS environment, or in the cloud.
  • Easy BI Web Application Customization and Integration – the Jaspersoft UI architecture separates the content and presentation layers allowing quick and easy UI customization through simple markup changes in cascading style sheets (CSS), without impacting the underlying functionality. Customizations are automatically carried forward as new Jaspersoft versions are deployed. The UI framework enables fast creation of alternative UI themes for different users, different SaaS tenants and different devices. This capability also facilitates the integration of the Jaspersoft BI server within existing web applications.
All by itself, I expect the concept of UI themes will set the new standard in customized BI applications, similar to what WordPress has done for the blogging platform market. Here are two screen shots of two Jaspersoft 4 themes.

The first screen (above) shows the out-of-the-box look-n-feel we’re delivering with Jaspersoft 4 and the second (below) provides a visual sample of some of the many elements that can be easily and radically changed. Previously, such substantial changes would need to be performed by expert personnel with technical familiarity with the complete platform. Now, these customizations can be done by any web designer or a savvy IT person. Customizing the UI of a BI application has traditionally been out-of-reach for most organizations – but now, with Jaspersoft 4, it won’t be.

Now that we’ve taken the time to create an even more flexible and sophisticated architecture, you can expect an impressive array of innovation coming on top of this. That’s because Jaspersoft 4 provides our customers and community with the foundation for the future. Stay tuned.

Jaspersoft 4 is available now and there is much more information available here. Take a look - I’ll be thrilled to get your feedback and comments.

P.S. I invite you to a complete and behind-the-scenes review of Jaspersoft 4 during JasperWorld 2011 (February 7-9 in San Francisco).

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

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