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<p class="head">BIRT Overview</p>
<p class="subhead">Integrating BIRT into your Application</p>
<h1>BIRT in a J2EE Application</h1>
The BIRT Report Engine is packaged as a JAR file that you add to your J2EE
application. The Report Engine is a series of POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects)
that your JSP pages can call to integrate reporting into your application.
BIRT also delivers an example web application that can be deployed to an
existing application server.
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BIRT has four main integration points with your application:
<dl class="arrow-list">
<dt>Parameter UI
<dd>Most reports allow the user to specify some kind of input, called a
<i>report parameter</i>. For example, a customer report might ask for the
customer to display. Your parameter page can be static: custom designed
for each report. Or, you can use a dynamic page powered by parameter
meta-data so that a single page works for any report. BIRT also supports
the concept of dynamic and cascaded parameters. This allows parameters to be
tied to Data Sets defined within the report.
<dt>Running the Report
<dd>When the user submits the parameter form, your web application passes the
parameters to the BIRT report engine which reads the report design file,
reads the data, and produces the report output. BIRT uses the term
<i>factory</i> when the engine runs a report.
<dt>Data Access
<dd>Reports obtain data from your application as explained above. Java applications
often provide data to the BIRT factory via Java objects.
<dd>BIRT uses a Java servlet, called the viewer, to enable the user to view the output
of the report in paginated HTML. The viewer also supports exporting data to CSV, parameter
collection and table of contents functionality.
<h1>Example Viewer</h1>
The BIRT project provides a sample "viewer" to help you get get started. The
sample viewer is also used to preview reports within Eclipse: BIRT includes an
Apache Tomcat server invoked each time you preview your report. The viewer
can also be used in any JSP-compliant J2EE server.
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BIRT Release 2.0 provides web output as a single page, paginated HTML, and PDF. Additionally the
viewer allows exporting the data to CSV and Table of Contents functionality.<p>
More information about the sample viewer is available in the <a href="../deploy">
integration</a> section.</body></html>