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Pentaho reports questions

 
Raf Szczypiorski
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Hi Will.

I have the following questions for Pentaho:
  • MS Office support - to what extent are the MS prioprietary formats supported? Can you write DOC files? This has been a headache for us for quite some time.
  • pre-formatted text support - sometimes we have to be able to take a pre-formatted text, like an HTML fragment, or RTF, put it into a "field" on the report sheet, and have it rendered correctly for example have some of the text output in bold, some in italic. Can Pentaho do this for us?
  • all supported output formats - can you provide a list of all supported formats that you can export to? For example, is drawing to a Graphic2D or printing available?
  • output - when the reporting engine finishes its work, in what way does it make the result available? Is it a byte[], a stream, or a file in some preconfigured location? Or maybe something else?
  • template manipulation in code - we have a requirement that a user be able to edit some templates (sigh...) - change some fields, the layout and so on, so the library should provide some developer API for doing that
  • does the product contain a standalone reporting server?
  • an ad-hoc reporting interface would also be great - by this I mean that users can drag drop report elements and get a really custom report


  • Can you provide a link where we could find some source code which uses the embedded version (this is the way we use another library right now) - how to read the templates, fill the report with data and then export to some format?

    Went to the web site and saw the output examples - must say they look really nice, very readable, fantastic stuff.

    Best regards,
    Raf
     
    Will Gorman
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    Hi Raf,

    These are great questions. The book covers most of these topics.
    # MS Office support - to what extent are the MS prioprietary formats supported? Can you write DOC files? This has been a headache for us for quite some time.
    # all supported output formats - can you provide a list of all supported formats that you can export to? For example, is drawing to a Graphic2D or printing available?

    Regarding MS Office support, Pentaho Reporting supports Excel and RTF, it does not yet support DOC format. The other formats that it supports includes HTML, PDF, XML, CSV, and Text. In the last chapter of the book I write a simple output handler so you could write your own if you wanted to.
    pre-formatted text support - sometimes we have to be able to take a pre-formatted text, like an HTML fragment, or RTF, put it into a "field" on the report sheet, and have it rendered correctly for example have some of the text output in bold, some in italic. Can Pentaho do this for us?

    We do support pre-formatted text. On your report element, you would have to set "rich-text-type" to text/html or text/rtf, and then provide the markup. At the moment the Report Designer does not have a WYSIWYG GUI for modifying the rich text, but it is possible.
    # output - when the reporting engine finishes its work, in what way does it make the result available? Is it a byte[], a stream, or a file in some preconfigured location? Or maybe something else?

    In the book I cover a few different ways to get at the output. The most common is via streams, although it gets more complicated with HTML outputs, because multiple resources are generated as part of the report.
    # template manipulation in code - we have a requirement that a user be able to edit some templates (sigh...) - change some fields, the layout and so on, so the library should provide some developer API for doing that

    Although not covered in the book, the reporting engine has a wizard API that makes it very easy to manipulate templates. Also, any existing report may be opened and can be manipulated via the Java API documented in the book.
    # does the product contain a standalone reporting server?
    # an ad-hoc reporting interface would also be great - by this I mean that users can drag drop report elements and get a really custom report

    In the last chapter of the book I cover Pentaho's BI Server, which is a stand alone reporting server and more. It supports authentication and authorization, as well as adhoc reporting.

    Can you provide a link where we could find some source code which uses the embedded version (this is the way we use another library right now) - how to read the templates, fill the report with data and then export to some format?

    Pentaho offers an SDK available on SourceForge with source code examples for embedding:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/pentaho/files/Report%20Designer/3.5.0-RC2/pre-ce-sdk-3.5.0-RC2.zip/download

     
    Raf Szczypiorski
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    Hi Will,

    thank you for your answers.
    We are at an early stage of evaluating various technologies for our new product, and a reporting engine is one of them. We have already checked a couple, now we will definitely check out Pentaho. It's good to have alternatives.

    Regards,
    Raf
     
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