September 30, 2009

More on Third Party Reporting with PostgreSQL - Pentaho Reporting

Helix ALM
One of our loyal readers read my post on third-party reporting with PostgreSQL, in which I referenced Pentaho’s reporting solution. I received an email pointing me to a new book that is all about Pentaho reporting. The reason I started to look at Pentaho was my quest to find an open source reporting tool that was compatible with any of the database systems we support.  Since PostgreSQL was the only common denominator that is also open source, PostgreSQL support was critical. A tool like this one can be leveraged for reporting across all of our server-based applications. The book that the reader pointed me to is 'Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers', and it is written by Will Gorman. It also includes a foreword by Thomas Morgner, who is the Chief Architect for Pentaho Reporting. Morgner’s foreword gives a nice overview of Pentaho Reporting. The book is meant for Java developers and Information Technology professionals, but you do not have to be an expert in either field to read this book. It includes several screenshots, which I alwasy find very useful and makes it easier to read. After reading Chapter 4, which focuses on the report designer, I realized that there were a lot of things I didn’t know before reading the book. While Gorman does outline the report designer in detail, it is not overkill. This will serve me well as a reference guide next time I need to create a report. Chapter 6 will also come in handy as it covers in detail how to include charts in your report. Again, enough detail to get the job done without overloading you with information. Another chapter I found interesting is Chapter 10 which is about API-based report generation. As a member of the services group, I am usually working on custom solutions for our clients. Being able to generate reports programmatically is very helpful, and the examples in the book allowed to me to generate a report in no time. This may be something that could be used to create a dashboard that gives you up to date information on TestTrack Pro, TestTrack TCM, TestTrack RM and Surround SCM. If you are new to Pentaho Reporting and are looking for a reference guide, or a book that can help you get started, 'Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers' is as good as any. I know I will keep this close by as I intend to explore this reporting tool and hopefully post examples.