BIRT Integration with Nuxeo EP: Welcome to ECM Business Intelligence

At Nuxeo, we released last week on our Marketplace an integration between BIRT and Nuxeo Enterprise Platform (EP). For those who don’t know about it, here is, in short, what BIRT is and can do for your business.

BIRT is a reporting tool provided by Actuate, a US based software company dedicated to this sector of Business Intelligence. It enables report designers to prepare reports on the data sources of their choice with all the advanced features a report designer might need … BIRT also comes (of course) with a rendering engine — the software that takes care of report generation and enables BIRT to not only to design reports but to make them available in different formats (HTML, PDF, image, etc.) to end users.

Of course, this is a very short summary, and I am not a specialist, so if you want to know more, you should check out this introduction or Google it a little — you will find a lot of resources.

So, the way we integrated BIRT with the Nuxeo platform is very straightforward for the end user and I think it can provide a lot of value. BIRT report designers, as power users, will use BIRT to define report models in the usual BIRT way: in BIRT itself as a standalone desktop application. What the integration brings to them is the capability to query the Nuxeo system directly when making reports. This was not as simple as it might seem to achieve technically, and represent a good share of the work that has been provided in developping this integration. In a typical use case, this will however be very useful as the report designer will be able to work on a test environment and not on a production environment.

From that point, when report models are designed, Nuxeo administrators can upload them (a specific document type has been developed for that) into the Nuxeo platform and make them available so that other users might generate reports from them (another document type has been developed for that). This solution is very flexible as it relies on the permissions and rights managed by Nuxeo EP. A typical use case is to give access to a Report Models to a workspace administrator, who will create reports and made them available in the workspace(s) he is administering. Reports are then rendered directly on the Nuxeo platform at the right location, where the BIRT engine has been integrated on the server side.

So that is one aspect which is cool about the BIRT integration, but I only touched the functional part of it.

The other thing which is cool is about being Open, and we are fond of this at Nuxeo.

Like Nuxeo EP, BIRT is open source software, developed under the umbrella of the Eclipse Foundation, an organization where Nuxeo is also active (you might have heard about our project proposal Enterprise Content Repository). So this integration provides a totally Open Source approach to ECM analytics!

Of course, organizations can also explore a bit further and consider Actuate commercial products and services that can be used on top of BIRT, but having a software stack for serious ECM Analytics that is fully Open Source offers great value in my opinion!

Nuxeo Connect users can get this integration ready to roll after a couple of clicks on the Nuxeo Marketplace.

Others, you might want to get the source code from the source code repository or simply sign up for a 30-day free trial of Nuxeo Connect to give it a test drive. It is as simple as download Nuxeo DM, our Open Source Document Management system, signing-up for the trial in the configuration Wizard and and downloading and installing the BIRT Integration package from the Update Center of your installation of Nuxeo Document Management. And if you want a deep dive into the way this has been done, you can also just jump in the source code, available as ever at Nuxeo!

If you want to see this integration “live” with no effort, just follow the screencast published for that purpose, a nice introduction to it:

More resources:

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