Open Source Reporting Tools Review - BIRT, Jasper, PentahoInnovent Solutions reviews the reporting functionality of three popular open source business intelligence solutions.
There are a number of open source business intelligence and reporting tools available. The three open source BI tools with the most traction seem to be BIRT, Jasper®, and Pentaho®. Two years ago we performed an analysis of the open source reporting tools included in each of the products. Since that time, each of the projects has released new product versions, including new reporting tools. In early 2012, we updated our comparative analysis of the open source report design tools from BIRT, Jasper and Pentaho.
In general, we found that the features and functionality of all the report design tools had not changed much since our last analysis in 2010. From our perspective, it appears that Pentaho, Jaspersoft, and Actuate (the company behind BIRT) have been more focused on their commercial products for the last two years. In particular, each company has been making significant improvements to their commercial product suite in three functional areas:
Within the reporting specific tools Actuate, has added significant new features that are only available through the commercial edition of BIRT. For Jasper and Pentaho it appears that the commercial and open source reporting tools contain essentially the same features.
A full analysis of the commercial product suites available from each of these companies goes beyond the scope of this evaluation. Instead, we have focused on the open source reporting, that is available from each of these projects.
In 2012 for open source reporting, the BIRT report designer has seen the fewest changes over the last two years. JasperReports has made a few more enhancements, but the basic product functionality is similar to what we found two years ago. Pentaho has made the most significant changes; Pentaho's Report Designer has added new features, and more importantly has addressed some of the issues and performance that concerned us two years ago when we reviewed the product.
The BIRT Report Designer is still our first choice for ease-of-use and functionality. Two factors tip the scales in BIRTs direction: first most of our reporting is web based, and second we like to incorporate extensive use of charting within out reports, and we found BIRT to be the most capable for those two applications. We did find circumstances that change our perspective. If we were engaged on a project that was primarily focused on simple grouped listing reports with aggregations, we now prefer the Pentaho Report Designer because of its usability. For more complex reports where nicely formatted printed output is a priority, we generally prefer the JasperReports iReport designer.
BIRT is a registered trademark of the Eclipse Foundation, Inc.
Jaspersoft is a registered trademark of Jaspersoft Corporation.
Pentaho is a registered trademark of Pentaho, Inc.