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Extract information from databases using BIRT and Eclipse


Level: Intermediate

Tyler Anderson (, Consultant, Stexar Corp.

24 Jan 2006

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Business reporting and analysis is a complex process that is difficult to get perfect when you want to produce a professional-looking report. Even more difficult is regularly repeating the exercise with new or updated data. The Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) is a suite of plug-ins for Eclipse that allows you to extract information from your databases, analyze that information, then generate summaries, charts, and analysis for your reports. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use BIRT in your J2EE applications by creating and developing reports with BIRT using the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) technology.

In this tutorial

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use BIRT in your J2EE applications by creating and developing reports using BIRT and Eclipse's Rich Client Platform (RCP) technology. You will install BIRT and create your first report that will interface with and source its data from a Derby database, and build subsequent reports that analyze data from the same data set at a different angle. An example application will be created that collects data from bank transactions. Tellers and bank managers will enter a transaction using a Web browser. A transaction includes the bank employee's title, deposit or withdrawal amount, and date. The end result will be that the data can be analyzed online, anytime, at several angles. Thus, throughout this tutorial, you will be the "bank manager," and you will use BIRT to view and analyze the transactions performed at your bank.


This tutorial assumes basic knowledge of Eclipse and Apache Derby.

System requirements

The following tools are needed to follow along. Note that this was written using a Microsoft Windows machine. However, the differences in details for following along on another machine should be minor.

  • Eclipse and BIRT -- This tutorial uses the BIRT RCP Report Designer V1.0.1. This version uses RCP. The BIRT RCP build provides everything you need to use BIRT, including BIRT V1.0.1, Java 2 JDK V1.4.2, Eclipse Platform Runtime Binary V3.1, GEF Runtime V3.1, and EMF V2.1.0. You just unzip the download and away you go. Download the BIRT RCP Report Designer from the BIRT Release Build page.
  • BIRT Report Engine -- You need the BIRT Report Engine to be able to view BIRT reports.
  • Geronimo -- This tutorial uses Geronimo M5 to deploy the sample application, along with the embedded BIRT report objects to view the reports.
  • Java -- Both BIRT, Geronimo, and the example application require Java technology. Plus, the example application requires J2EE for the servlet you'll create. This tutorial uses Java V1.4.2_09 and J2EE V1.4. However, any version higher than these should suffice. Download the all-in-one Java technology bundle.
  • Derby -- Download Derby and be sure that the .jars you receive are added to your CLASSPATH.
  • DB2 Drivers -- This tutorial uses the IBM DB2 universal drivers for connecting to Derby.
  • Ant -- You need Ant to build the example application because it simplifies the build process of WAR files for Geronimo.


Under two hours


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