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Monday, May 05, 2008

Practical Data Analysis and Reporting with BIRT

Although BIRT is not well known, it is worth getting acquainted with. BIRT is a collection of open-source tools for developing tools and technologies for business applications. Perhaps most helpful for Java and J2EE programmers, the book provides shortcuts for finding elegant solutions for developing reports for business.

Practical Data Analysis and Reporting with BIRT
by John Ward provides information in the following topic areas:

*Install the tools
*Create the report structures
*Add format / uniform
*Using data filters to narrow data
*Share new templates and applications in libraries
*Styles sheets / themes, unique, customized report styles
*Charts / presentation

The book has very helpful screenshots and good step-by-step instructions. Although the instructions are helpful, the applications are pretty unimaginative. In reality, there are in fact, massive possibilities with respect to generating business reports applicable to LEAN production, inventories, sales, transportation, warehousing, marketing reports, and event scheduling. Further applications could be used in the area of maintenance scheduling, etc.

The book does, however, provide an overview of BIRT and the potential. A follow-up book that includes a wider index of types of reports as well as templates that can be used for the most common applications would be ideal.

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