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<title>Eclipse BIRT - Summary Plan</title>
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<p class="head">BIRT Project Plan Summary</p>
<p class="subhead">Last revised February 18, 2005</p>
<h1>Executive Summary of Current Plan</h1>
<p>As a new project within the Eclipse Foundation, the BIRT project's overriding
release 1.0 theme is to extend the Eclipse platform to provide infrastructure and
tools that allow application developers to design, deploy, generate and view reports
within their applications. In this context, the BIRT project also adopts and supports
key themes within the overall Eclipse planning process:</p>
<dl class="bold-list">
<dt>Appealing to a Broader Community</dt>
<dd>BIRT will address a new problem space for Eclipse that broadens the appeal of
the Eclipse platform. By addressing this new market for Eclipse, BIRT aims to bring
a new class of developers - report developers - into the Eclipse community.
<dt>Simple to Use</dt>
<dd>From the outset, the BIRT project regards ease-of-use to be a key objective
for the project. Reporting technology is used by a broad range of users with a
wide variety of skill sets - therefore the tool needs to be approachable and
intuitive. The BIRT project team are focused on ensuring that users can quickly
become productive with the technology.
<dt>Enterprise Ready</dt>
<dd>BIRT 1.0 will leverage the surrounding Eclipse infrastructure for Enterprise
activities such as source code management and deployment of BIRT reports in the
application. In addition, the initial release of BIRT will provide for support for
key enterprise data bases such as Oracle and DB2.
<dt>Design for Extensibility: Be a Better Platform</dt>
<dd>Extensibility is a core principle behind the BIRT project. Extensibility
will be supported in a number of areas: data access (both design time and runtime);
report output formats; chart types; report components; and business logic.
<P>In addition to these goals, the BIRT PMC want to ensure that the initial release
of BIRT provides usable value to Java application developers. Even at the 1.0
release level, the BIRT PMC has targeted common report types and a very approachable
user interface design to ensure the release is immediately appealing to the Java
development community.</P>
<p>Details on the current plan(s) can be found at:</p>
<li>Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT)
<a href="">
1.0 release plan</a></li>
<h1>Forward Looking Statement</h1>
<p>Looking beyond the BIRT 1.0
release, the project PMC's goals are to increase the number of applications
and users that can successfully adopt the Eclipse platform and BIRT technology.
This can be categorized into three initiatives -- increasing the types of
reports that BIRT supports; adding more features and capabilities to the
initial BIRT projects that target the typical report developer (rather than
the Java developer); and developing additional business intelligence
capabilities as part of the BIRT top-level project. These initiatives align
well with the broader goals of the Eclipse platform and details on the first
two are presented in the context of those themes:</p>
<dl class="bold-list">
<dt>Appealing to the Broader Community</dt>
<dd>This is the most significant overall theme for the BIRT project since, as
discussed above, BIRT does introduce the Eclipse platform to a new class of
users and applications -- the report developers in the broader Business
Intelligence market. Due to it's significance, this continues to be a theme
that the BIRT PMC will push beyond the initial 1.0 release. In fact, it's
significance cuts across other themes as will be seen below. Items that the
PMC will specifically be looking at in addition to those mentioned below
relate to the types of reports that BIRT can support. BIRT 1.0 will support a
set of commonly used listing and grouping type reports, with future releases
needing to add support for report styles such as cross-tab or matrix style
reports, as well as free-form reports. By supporting a large range of report
types, BIRT will appeal to a broad number of applications that have a
reporting need.
<dt>Scaling Up</dt>
<dd>BIRT 1.0 targets the smaller 1 to 10 page reports, with relatively simple
data sources, that are found in many web applications. In these cases, the
processing of the data and reports can be handled in-memory and the desire to
persistently store the output documents is often not a requirement. However, as
BIRT is adopted by more and more applications, we anticipate community feedback
that the complex processing of large datasets, the generation of large report
documents (1000s of pages) and the persistent storage of those report documents
will become a frequent request. Future versions of BIRT will need to provide
support for these larger report types.
<dt>Design for Extensibility</dt>
<dd>Beyond BIRT 1.0, the PMC aim to further exercise the extension points in the
BIRT framework by implementing additional extensions on the framework. A clear
example at this stage is for additional data sources -- although we expect
community feedback and participation will highlight demand, and provide
implementations, in other areas. This will bring two benefits to the project
and community as a whole: a) proof points that the extension interfaces
work (or don't) and solid data on what needs to be improved (which will allow
us to move rapidly towards a stable API set). And b) through those extension
implementations to be able to support additional application scenarios and
increase the adoption of Eclipse and BIRT (for example, by supporting XML as a
data source).
<dt>Simple to Use</dt>
<dd>In BIRT 1.0, the tool will be simple to use for the Java developer.
While we anticipate that the tool will also be very approachable for the
typical report developer, we expect that there will be areas where we can
improve ease of use for this audience in subsequent releases. This non-Java
developer audience is largely new for the Eclipse platform and we expect some
of the feedback we receive in this area will also drive requirements into other
parts of the platform. At this stage, it is hard to predict exactly what
enhancements will requested by the community but this will be watched closely
going forward.
<dt>Enterprise Ready</dt>
<dd>As mentioned above, BIRT 1.0 will leverage many Enterprise features of
the Eclipse platform with regards to code management etc. As the platform
continues to enhance the Enterprise deployment capabilities, the BIRT PMC
will need to adopt these in the BIRT Report Designer environment. For example,
as outlined in the overall Eclipse Themes, making it easier to configure
workspaces in an Enterprise deployment. Capabilities in this area will also
support the BIRT PMC's goal of having BIRT appeal to a wider range of users
since it will enable deployments of Eclipse BIRT to, for example, hide more
complex code-development features from a report developer -- therefore making
the tool more approachable.</dd>
<p>For the 3rd initiative over time the BIRT PMC aims to add additional projects
in the business intelligence space. Projects that are anticipated and
encouraged would address
other aspects of business intelligence, such as Ad Hoc Query &amp; Reporting;
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP); Business Intelligence dashboards;
Executive Information
Systems (EIS); and statistical analysis. These also fit within the theme of
Appealing to the Broader Community by addressing additional segments of the
business intelligence market.</p>
<p>As BIRT 1.0 becomes available and the community is able to use the project,
we expect further themes and needs will emerge. The BIRT PMC encourages feedback,
comments and participation from the community on the
<a href="news://">BIRT newsgroup</a>.</p>