The open source Eclipse Foundation has just released an update to its Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT). The project has traditionally been pitched at Java developers but has been extended to include a reuse library with multi-user reporting and analysis tools. The latter features will be of interest to those working with reporting systems, thanks to Eclipse's partnership with Actuate Corp, a San Fransisco-based software developer.
One of the big changes between versions 1.0 and 2.0 is the way reports are written. While the first release took a hands-on, code-centric approach, the follow-up version has moved to a drag-and-drop model, designed to reduce the time needed to generate reports. A report component library can be used to hold frequently-used components, and it's possible to drag-and-drop from the library to a report.
BIRT 2.0 is available as a free download from the Eclipse website. Installation demands Eclipse 3.0 or above, along with a Java Runtime Environment (JRE), the Graphics Editor Framework (GEF) runtime 3.1, and Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) runtime 2.1.