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Project Plan For Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT), version 2.5

Introduction

This document lays out the feature and API set for the next feature release of the Eclipse BIRT project after 2.3, designated release 2.5.

Plans do not materialize out of nowhere, nor are they entirely static. To ensure the planning process is transparent and open to the entire Eclipse community, plans are posted in an embryonic form and then revised from time to time throughout the release cycle.

The first part of the plan deals with the important matters of release deliverables, release milestones, target operating environments, and release-to-release compatibility. These are all things that need to be clear for any release, even if no features were to change.

The remainder of the plan consists of plan items for the projects under the Eclipse BIRT project. Each plan item covers a feature or API that is to be added, or some aspect that is to be improved. Each plan item has its own entry in the Eclipse bugzilla database, with a title and a concise summary(usually a single paragraph) that explains the work item at a suitably high enough level so that everyone can readily understand what the work item is without having to understand the nitty-gritty detail.

Please send comments about this draft plan to the BIRT Developer mailing list.

Release Deliverables

This release of BIRT will focus on providing the same downloads as BIRT 2.3.

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Release Milestones

  • The BIRT 2.5 Release will follow the Galileo simultaneous release milestones

Our target is to complete and release BIRT 2.5 with the Galileo Coordinated release.

For information about new features assigned to each milestone please refer to the bugzilla database. The bugzilla database will be updated on an ongoing basis as the plan progresses.

M311/19/2008
2.5 M3
M401/12/2009
2.5 M4
M502/16/2009
2.5 M5
M603/23/2009
2.5 M6
M705/11/2009
2.5 M7
RC105/25/2009
2.5 RC1
RC206/01/2009
2.5M RC2
RC306/08/2009
2.5M RC3
RC406/15/2009
2.5M RC4
RC506/26/2009
2.5 Galileo

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Target Environments

In order to remain current, each release of an Eclipse project targets reasonably current versions of underlying operating environments and other Eclipse projects on which it depends.

Most of Eclipse, and all of BIRT, is "pure" Java code and has no direct dependence on the underlying operating system. For BIRT, the chief dependence is on the Eclipse Platform, Graphical Editor Framework (GEF), Modeling Framework (EMF), and on the Java 2 Platform that runs it.

The Eclipse BIRT 2.5 release depends on the following compatibility stacks:

BIRT 2.5 Reference Stack for JDK 1.5

  • Java 2 platform Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.5
  • Eclipse Platform Runtime Binary 3.4
  • Graphical Editor Framework (GEF) Runtime 3.2
  • Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) 2.3
  • Data Tools Platform Project 1.6 (DTP)
  • Web Tools Project (WTP) 3.4

BIRT 2.5 Reference Stack for JDK 1.6 (This is only a proposal and depends on whether various projects provide support for JDK 1.6)

  • Java 2 platform Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.6
  • Eclipse Platform Runtime Binary <TBD>
  • Graphical Editor Framework (GEF) Runtime <TBD>
  • Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) <TBD>
  • Data Tools Platform Project (DTP) <TBD>
  • Web Tools Project (WTP) <TBD>

The Eclipse Platform and BIRT run in a variety of operating environments. Testing is focused on a handful of popular combinations of operating system and Java 2 Platform; these are our reference platforms. Eclipse BIRT undoubtedly runs fine in many operating environments beyond the reference platforms we test. However, since we do not systematically test them we cannot vouch for them. Problems encountered when running Eclipse BIRT on non-reference platforms that cannot be recreated on any reference platform will be given lower priority than problems with running Eclipse BIRT on a reference platform.

For BIRT 2.5, the project team plans to tests and validate the following reference platforms:

Eclipse BIRT Report Framework 2.5 and Eclipse BIRT RCP Report Designer 2.5 Reference Platforms
Operating system Processor architecture Window system Java 2 Platform
Microsoft Windows XP Intel x86 Win32 Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Microsoft Windows XP Intel x86 Win32 IBM SDK 5.0
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Intel x86 Win32 Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Intel x86 Win32 IBM SDK 5.0
Microsoft Windows Vista Intel x86 Win32 Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 3.0
Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 4.0
Intel x86 GTK Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0

Eclipse BIRT Runtime 2.5 and Eclipse BIRT Charts 2.5 Reference Platforms
Operating system Processor architecture Window system Java 2 Platform
Microsoft Windows XP Intel x86 Win32* Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Microsoft Windows XP Intel x86 Win32* IBM SDK 5.0
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Intel x86 Win32* Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Intel x86 Win32* IBM SDK 5.0
Microsoft Windows Vista Intel x86 Win32* Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 3.0 Intel x86 GTK* Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 Intel x86 YaST* Sun Java 2 Standard Edition, version 5.0
*Window system only required when displaying charts within SWT or SWING windows.


BIRT Application Server Reference Platform
Apache Tomcat 5.0.x, 5.5.x
JBoss AS 5.0

BIRT JDBC Reference Platforms
MySQL Connector/J 3.x JDBC driver
Derby V10.1.2.1 JDBC driver

BIRT Browsers and Viewers Reference Platforms
Mozilla Firefox 2.0
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, 7.0
Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0, 8.0

Community Tested Operating Environments

Due to the finite resources available to the BIRT project, we would like to encourage the BIRT community to contribute to testing BIRT in operating environments other than those listed as target operating environments for the 2.5 release of BIRT and to share this information with the rest of the community. If you have been able to test BIRT in a non-targeted operating environment please take a few minutes to update this wiki page and report this information there. If you have encountered bugs during your testing, please report these in bugzilla.

Internationalization

Eclipse is designed as the basis for internationalized products. The user interface elements provided by the various Eclipse projects, including dialogs and error messages, are externalized. The English strings for BIRT are provided as the default resource bundles. Translations are provided with this release for French (fr_FR), German (de_DE), Spanish (es_ES), Japanese (ja_JP), Simplified Chinese (zh_CN), and Korean (ko_KR).

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Compatibility with Previous Releases

BIRT 2.5 will be compatible with earlier versions of BIRT to the greatest extent possible. The nature and scope of some of the key plan items for BIRT 2.5 are such that the only feasible solutions might break compatibility. In other regards, BIRT 2.5 will be compatible with 2.x and 1.x. We also aim to minimize the effort required to port an existing plug-in to the 2.5 APIs.

Compatibility of Release 2.5 with Prior Releases

BIRT 2.5 will be compatible with prior releases of BIRT unless noted otherwise. The detailed compatibility statement is listed below. In this statement, "BIRT" refers to all BIRT components: BIRT Report Framework, BIRT Runtime, and BIRT Chart SDK.

API Contract Compatibility: BIRT 2.5 will be upwards contract-compatible with BIRT prior releases to the greatest extent possible. All incompatibility exceptions will be documented.Downward contract compatibility is not supported. There is no guarantee that compliance with BIRT 2.5 APIs will ensure compliance with prior BIRT release APIs. Refer to general Eclipse document on Evolving APIs for a discussion of the kinds of API changes that maintain contract compatibility.

The BIRT Chart UI API 2.5 is compatible with the 2.x.x API's but not compatible with the v1.x APIs due to a full redesign of the Chart UI in the BIRT 2.0 release.

Binary (plug-in) Compatibility: The BIRT 2.5 plug-in framework will be upwards binary-compatible with prior BIRT release plug-ins to the greatest extent possible. Downward plug-in compatibility is not supported. Plug-ins for BIRT 2.5 will not be usable in prior BIRT releases. Extension plug-ins for prior BIRT releases will be upwards binary-compatible with BIRT 2.5.

Source Compatibility: BIRT 2.5 will be upwards source-compatible with prior BIRT releases to the greatest extent possible. This means that source files written to use prior BIRT release APIs will successfully compile and run against BIRT 2.5 APIs. Downward source compatibility is not supported. If source files use new BIRT APIs, they will not be usable with an earlier version of BIRT.

Report Design Compatibility:BIRT 2.5 will be upwards report design compatible with prior BIRT releases unless noted otherwise. This means that reports created with prior BIRT releases can be successfully opened by BIRT 2.5 and upgraded to a 2.5 format.

Non-compliant usage of API's: All non-API methods and classes, and certainly everything in a package with "internal" in its name, are considered implementation details which may vary between operating environment and are subject to change without notice. Client plug-ins that directly depend on anything other than what is specified in the BIRT API are inherently unsupportable and receive no guarantees about compatibility within a single release much less with an earlier releases.

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Themes and Priorities

Continuing on the themes for previous releases of BIRT, the BIRT project's overriding release 2.5 theme remains extending the Eclipse platform to provide infrastructure and tools that allow application developers to design, deploy, generate and view reports within their applications. In this context,the BIRT project also adopts and supports key themes within the overall Eclipse planning process.

Support size based pagination for fixed layout reports

This project aims to ensure that the layout of the report output is consistent across all report output formats. To achieve this functionality, the pagination scheme of fixed layout reports would be strictly governed by the page size and the data present in the report. This project also aims to ensure that the layout of the report output viewed by the report consumer is consistent with that seen by the report developer in the report design window. These improvements would enhance the design experience for the report developer and make BIRT the product of choice for report developers.
  • Committed

    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Incorrect image size in generated pdf [241194] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Image appears enlarged in pdf report [234432] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Charts got clipped when exporting to PDF and DOC [244882] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Enhancement: add DPI property in report design [237426] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Provide ability to scale big image ot fit a page for PDF [240805] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] high resolution images are not displaying correctly in pdf [257418] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Support diagonal line [243259] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
  • Proposed

    • [Improve Report Layout Capabilities] Allow creating reports with more than one column on each page [242504] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Add support for page aggregates

These projects aim at providing more capabilities to access and display page aggregates and summary data. This project will enable the report developers to access the report data from the auto-text elements and vice-versa so that they can setup the desired page output efficiently. This project also looks at providing more summary data capabilities like displaying page aggregates.
  • Committed

    • [Improve Page Aggregate capabilities] Add support for page aggregates / page totals [159857] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Aggregate capabilities] Allow master page header and footer to access contents in report page [212837] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)

Support Page Break Avoid and control page breaks through scripts

This project aims to enable the report developer to control the page break behavior through the user interface as well as scripts for custom logic. The features that are planned for this project include support for page break avoid and to allow report developers to use scripting to control page breaks.
  • Committed

    • [Improve Page Break Management] Widow/Orphans [150243] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Page Break Properties Ignored [168019] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] simple master page SVG background not rendered to HTML/PDF [172262] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Page break problems with Group Header [177626] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Set Page Border & Page Border Color [234598] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Ability to add conditions for page break [247842] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Border around report page [249724] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Cannot set style in onPageBreak method [148520] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Invalid pageNumber at repeated group header in PDF output [150239] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Acceptance][Improve Page Break Management] The Script onPagebreak on the list's group Pagebreak works abnormal [165399] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] pageNumber does not work properly [187859] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] ability to specify starting page number [197185] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Create a total page number per group [202438] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Visibility on Table/List Header not reevaluated on page break [231591] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] Wrong page number position started from second page [254701] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] [Automation][Regression]PageBreak avoid does not work in PDF [202106] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] [Automation][Regression]Script on page break does not work [213969] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Improve Page Break Management] One crosstab line in the bottom of the page is separated into two parts shown in the bottom of this page and in the top of the next page [1302] [246808] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
  • Proposed

    • [Improve Page Break Management] Ability to choose page break policy by export format [247839] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Add support for emitter UI extension

This theme aims at providing an extension point to the UI to register and expose custom emitters. This will enable report developers to write their own custom emitters and then be able to customize the display of its properties in the UI.

General designer usability improvements including Extension Point for custom Report Templates

This theme consists of various projects aimed at improving the usability of the various features and wizards available in BIRT to make both new as well as seasoned report developers more efficient in designing BIRT reports.
  • Committed

    • [General designer usability] Removing Formatting from the GUI [211518] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
  • Proposed

    • [General designer usability] Need to support Report Templates Extension [93996] (target milestone: 2.5.0)
    • [General designer usability] Can't set BIRT resource folder to <project>/Shared [230084] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Allow multiple default values for list-box parameters

This projects aim to provide support for multiple default values for list box parameters. This would enable report developers to select multiple data values as default values for the list box parameters.
  • Committed

    • [Scripting usability] ability to use an expression as default parameter value [124950] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Parameter usability] Support to set multiple default values when create list-box parameter[0705] [203940] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)

Enable developers to control chart output when dataset is empty

This project aims at providing a framework that would enable the report developers to design alternative chart output when no data is retrieved for the chart.
  • Committed

    • [Chart usability] Set table / chart to hide when no data [204922] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
  • Proposed

    • [Chart usability] Ability to warn when a chart is empty [218034] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Provide the ability to create a connection profile from an existing datasource

This project aims to enhance the design time experience of the report developer when using connection profiles. This will enable report developers to create connection profiles from existing data sources.
  • Committed

    • [Data Access usability] Support to create a connection profile from a existing datasource [206104] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)

Enable use of expressions as default parameter values

The focus of this project is to enable report developers to seamlessly use constants and expressions as values for properties defined in BIRT. This project also looks at enabling the use of expressions as default parameter values and also to lay the foundation to provide support for more scripting languages in addition to JavaScript.
  • Committed

    • [Scripting Usability ] BIRT Model, Designer changes to support expression in default value [264273] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
    • [Scripting usability] ability to use an expression as default parameter value [124950] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Scripting usability] Expressions in report design should use a new syntax to differentiate them from static strings [191445] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC3)
  • Proposed

    • [Scripting usability] BIRT designer UI - To support including external JS file [261292] (target milestone: 2.5.0)
    • [ Scripting usability] Improvements to Java script API - Report item level operations not easy to perform [262949] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Performance improvements in data processing and rendering of report output in various formats

This project looks at various performance improvements in the data processing and the report output rendering so that report data is processed and delivered to the consumers in the most timely and efficient manner.
  • Committed

    • [Performance improvements] Performance with Java Event Handlers [228275] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)

Support multiple drill down hyperlinks in charts

This theme aims at delivering interactivity to the report consumers through BIRT charts. These projects aim to support multiple drill-down hyperlinks in charts. This will enable report developers to design charts such that report consumers can drill-through and analyze chart data in multiple ways. This project also looks at providing the report developers the ability to define end-user interactivity for the right mouse click event.
  • Committed

    • [Charting improvements] Right mouse click trigger condition [200607] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)
    • [Charting improvements]Can we have the option to select multiple start point for drill down. [151903] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)

Support page dimension for crosstabs

The focus of these projects is to provide greater flexibility in designing and displaying crosstabs in BIRT reports. Some of the following features that are planned for this project are support for page dimension, support page-break-inside in crosstabs and allow filtering on any dimension.
  • Committed

    • [Crosstab improvements] Xtab filter should allow filtering on any cube dimension [190722] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC2)
  • Proposed

    • [Crosstab improvements] BIRT cross tab - Horizontal page break support OR section support [183056] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Support Parameters for XML data sources

This project aims to enable report developers to efficiently use XML files as a data source by adding several capabilities to the XML data source processing engine. The features that are planned for this project include support for parameters and the duration data type for XML data sources.
  • Committed

    • [XML Data Source Improvements] Addition of XML Duration Data Type [177433] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M6)

Improve Bidirectional (Bidi) Support

This set of projects aims at improving the Bidirectional (Bidi) support provided by the BIRT designer and report engine. The focus of these projects is to provide data source Bidi layout transformations and to enhance RTL support at runtime.
  • Committed

    • [Bidi] HTML_ENABLE_AGENTSTYLE_ENGINE setting doesn't fix column header problems [256167] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC2)
    • [BIDI3.5]prefix and suffix of a chart do not appear in arabic indic format for arabic numerals [274492] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC3)
    • [BIDI3.5]Localizing text does not work correctly for Arabic language in Linux [273642] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M4)
    • [BIDI3.5]setting component orientation is not supported in Birt 2.5 [274744] (target milestone: 2.5.0 RC1)
  • Proposed

    • BIDI3.2: [HCG] BiDi chars are not reordered in PDF report [129567] (target milestone: 2.5.0)
    • BIDI - Export to PDF changes sequence in word of sentences with Non Latin Chars in HTML Text Fields [259632] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

Consistent stylesheet support across all report output formats

These projects aim to ensure that style sheets are supported in a consistent manner across multiple report output formats, especially the Word and the PDF formats. This would enable the report developers to design reports that have consistent layout across the various report output formats.
  • Committed

    • [Improve support for stylesheets] nowrap not working [254933] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M5)
    • [Improve support for stylesheets] Fixed layout no wrap does not work in PDF [256307] (target milestone: 2.5.0 M4)
  • Proposed

    • [Improve support for stylesheets] how to wrap the text in pdf formate report? [240638] (target milestone: 2.5.0)

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Appendix

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from project meta-data key "projectplanurl"

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