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<p class="head">BIRT Overview</p>
<p class="subhead">Extensibility</p>
The spectrum of reporting applications is enormous, and the BIRT team can never
provide every feature needed by every application. BIRT's scripting support is
one way to extend BIRT. Another is to create BIRT extensions that plug into
<h1>Data Access</h1>
BIRT provides an Open Data Access (ODA) framework for adding custom data access
methods. Data access extensions include a runtime component for getting the data.
They can also include custom design-time UI for building a custom query. For
example, a packaged application vendor can use ODA to build data access UI
that works with the vendor's own data model.
<h1>Report Items</h1>
BIRT provides a solid set of <i>report items</i> for presenting data. Applications
that have specific needs can create additional report items that work within the
designer and engine just like BIRT's own report items. For example, a performance
management application might add report items that display stop lights, gauges
and other visual indications of performance metrics.
<h1>Chart Types</h1>
The BIRT chart package provides a wide variety of chart types. However, some
industries have developed very specific chart formats. Developers can create
chart plugins that add these chart types into the BIRT charting engine.
<h1>Output Formats</h1>
BIRT Release 2.0 provides output in HTML, Paginated HTML and PDF. Many other types of output
are possible: Excel, Rich Text Format (RTF), Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG),
images, and more. While BIRT will add some of these over time, others may
have a more limited audience. Developers can use BIRT engine interfaces to
add additional converters, including those specific to a given application.