JReport – An Intuitive Reporting Interface

JReport? what is this? how to use? what it does? Is it something related to Java? Hold your thoughts for a while. After completing this blog, all of your curiosity will be vanished and you will be ignited to know more about it. You will also be able to stifle the burning flames of same curiosity of others.

JReport is basically a data visualization tool, developed by Jinfonet Software. It is also being referred  as Reporting Tool/Business Intelligence tool. JReports provide embedded reporting solutions for an Enterprise. A Good thing about JReport, It is a Java Based Platform and can be embedded into any application and delivers enterprise reports, dashboards, analysis via web and mobile devices. JReport is accessible through mobile devices with an interactive interface and user friendly GUI. JReport’s approach to design, Build and deployment simplifies the life of both developer and users.JReport Can be deployed as an embedded reporting engine in other applications, as a stand alone system, or in any public, private or hybrid cloud environment.

For Developers; JReport provides wizard based interface similar to a software installation where you just press Next and Finish button (No Jokes). Wizard will not let you skip any step in creation of a report and you will be saved from finding a root cause for not getting desired output as compared to other conventional reporting tools. (Not saying that JReport is fool proof!). JReport has In-House Report Layouts such as Banded, Table (Group Above, Group Left, Group Left Above, Summary etc.), Croostab, chart and more which makes a developer’s life easy.

In this Blog, I will discuss more about the different Components of JReport and advantages and limits of the tool.

JReport Server Live, JDashboard, JReport Mobile and JReport Designer are key components of JReport. Let’s discuss in detail about each component.

JReport Server Live is a high performance, 100% Java report server able to seamlessly integrate with any enterprise application and scale to any workload. JSL provides complete report management, distribution and administrative functionality with highest reliability. On top of its high throughput report generation, JSL also supports on-demand, live report creation and modification, providing JReport’s powerful ad-hoc reporting solution. End users are empowered with JReport to create their own visual and interactive reports for powerful and secure data exploration in a completely self-service manner. JReport Server Live also provides a full administrator user interface to schedule reports, manage servers in a clustered environment, and provide ad-hoc capabilities such as browser-based report creation.

JDashboard delivers data visualization to end users. As an extension to JReport, JDashboard displays data in interactive visual components like maps, various forms of charts, graphs, tables and live charts. JDashboard combines them with a robust set of  on-screen interactions. JDashboard is accessible on mobile devices too with the help of JReport Mobile App for any iOS device. JDashboard enables users to analyze the business trend and helps in making decision for future targets.

JReport Mobile is a native iOS reporting application that provides data visualization through touch screen interactions. It comes equipped with sample data. Users can connect to JReport server to access their own dashboards built with JDashboard. JReport Mobile lets you choose how you want to view your data. In just one touch, you can quickly switch to different chart types. Seeing data from alternate perspectives will give you a clearer picture of your information. This app can be downloaded free from Apple app store.

JReport Designer is a report design tool which facilitates report build using precise and in-built layouts, flexible output and actionable reporting without any dependency on OS or hardware configuration. JReport is the component used very frequently and most important for report developers. Developers are able to use intuitive wizards to guide them through selecting data source, creating query and designing layouts. Additionally, Designer provides CSS style support allowing CSS style sheets to be applied at run time to provide custom report formats for users.

Designer is able to use data from different data sources in the same report and almost every data source system is supported by JReport. Designer provides a fexibilty to create reports in designer and publish them to server and use by web device. JReport Designer frees developers from the need to maintain static propmt lists for each individual report. Dynamic parameters can be passed at runtime to control the result of reports.

A Powerful utility of Designer is querying, Developers can write sql query to create reports and query will be used as a source for reports. Moreover, there are no limitations on using In-Built layouts with query featured reports as like OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence, has limitations on using direct sql query for reports).

Next, i will briefly discuss about advantages and limits of JReports:

Open source, freeware installation, Actionable reporting, Flexible Output, Visual-Rich and Interactive dashboards, Hundreds of ready to use templates, Mobile device accessibility, CSS supported, compatibility with any data source and ability to make reports with multiple data sources in single report enables JReport stands on different position in the world of BI.

But on the other hand it has some limitations supporting Java VMs from Sun and IBM only, JReport Mobile for iOS devices only, LDAP support limitations etc. There may be some more features of JReport which I couldn’t get through but will keep posted as soon as I come across any.

I will stop here till the next time. Keep reading my blogs as I will write more in coming blogs about Architecture, Best Practices, Development experiences of JReport etc.

Please give me your feedback and comments about this blog.

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