Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally . . . Reporting for Eclipse!

We’ve been thinking and talking about this since 2006, fundamentally driven by the belief that the Eclipse community deserves best-in-class reporting and unfettered access to a complete BI suite that doesn’t necessarily require a commercial license. To do this right, we always knew that our flagship report design tool (iReport) would need to be re-built using the Eclipse IDE and made available as both an Eclipse plug-in and a stand-alone tool. So, that’s what we’ve done.

Yesterday, we announced Jaspersoft Studio – our new name for the Eclipse-based version of iReport. I hope you’ll want to learn more about it and visit the new project page. This is a complete re-write of iReport using Eclipse. Jaspersoft Studio v1.0 (available now) contains about 90% of the features available in the latest NetBeans version of iReport (v4.0) – and our intention is to (as quickly as possible) make the Eclipse version our primary product, with more advanced features than we’ve been able to deliver before. We’ll continue to advance and support iReport for NetBeans for some time, because this community deserves great reporting and a healthy, vibrant BI suite as well.

Why Eclipse? There are an estimated 9 million Java developers in the world today (according to Oracle) and more than half of them use Eclipse as their IDE most of the time. Although these are just estimates, there is little question about the important role Eclipse plays in Java and software development. This is an area where Jaspersoft, in total, will strive to be a helpful and forceful presence. For example, there is additional value for our BI suite community who can now build their reports and data integration jobs (using Jaspersoft ETL) within the same Eclipse framework, yielding greater simplicity in their design environment.

Finally . . . reporting for Eclipse! With this release, there was celebration at Jaspersoft and a collective exhale as we delivered something that the Jaspersoft community has asked about for some time. Beyond our limited resources and a highly-prioritized roadmap, we have a requirement to maintain high standards that we never want to compromise. So, getting to v1.0 wasn’t easy, but it was important to take the time and to get it right.

My deep thanks and gratitude are extended to the lead Jaspersoft engineers who made this happen: Giulio Toffoli, father of iReport and on-going architect of so much of what we do at Jaspersoft; Teodor Danciu, father of JasperReports our other technical founder/architect and constant collaborator with Giulio on this project; Slavic (Chicu Veaceslav), primary engineer and apprentice working with Giulio; and Yura Bablyukh, lead tester and reviewer. Soon, I’m sure, they’ll have the thanks and gratitude of the Eclipse community as well.

My message to the Eclipse Community: Try Jaspersoft Studio! It’s free, easy and powerful. With it you can do far more with your data than you can with other tools. And tell all your friends. Because we have more planned for you in the future, destined to make you an even more successful BI Builder.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Future of BI Is Now

I’ve spent a meaningful number of days so far this year traveling the globe. Following on from our JasperWorld conference (February, San Francisco) and other events in the United States, I’ve met with customers and spoke at conferences in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Germany, Holland, Austria, London and Paris. In all my conversations, what I’m struck by is just how quickly third-generation business intelligence architectures are being embraced and deployed within organizations of all sizes. I find it heartening, even encouraging.

As backdrop and for further reference, I’ve written relatively extensively about the “Future of BI” and related concepts in my TDWI column, called “The BI Revolution.” You can review four specifically-related articles:

1. The BI Revolution: Data Deluge or Opportunity?

2. The BI Revolution: A New Generation of Analytic Applications

3. The BI Revolution: Business Intelligence's Future

4. The BI Revolution: The Rise of the BI Builder

To summarize . . .

These articles describe how the growing volume of data represents real opportunity for those organizations that strategically understand how to exploit it, and that more commonly, many of these organizations are choosing to create their own analytic applications to deliver keen insight affordably to a wide business user audience.

Additionally, the new BI platforms best designed to enable these modern, scalable, and lower-cost uses are built fundamentally differently than their predecessors . . . but one thing that’s common regardless of platform generation is the rise of the real hero in the BI solution equation: the BI Builder. The BI Builder is the technical steward who manages to unite business requirements and data with BI technology, enabling greater success (and more pervasive) use of BI than what’s been typically possible in the past.

My conversations with customers and community members in each of the cities I visited provided welcome testimony that the concepts and practices described in my previous articles are, indeed, being realized. From small government and not-for-profit organizations to global 2000 corporations (and everything in between), I met with BI Builders who are uniting internal and external data and delivering new views of this data to business users who are able to make better, faster, fact-based decisions than ever before. In all these cases, the implementation costs were a small fraction of what they would have been just 5-7 years ago – while the number of users reached in many cases was large and growing, uninhibited by per-seat charges complex user interfaces, and hard-to-maintain installations that commonly stall sizable BI deployments.

The new examples I uncovered make me proud that Jaspersoft is playing an important part in this BI revolution. And they reminded me that the future of BI really is now.

I will be describing several of these customer examples in future posts. In the meantime, I’d be interested in your feedback on my TDWI articles or any of my points here.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer