Feeds

Eclipse approves BIRT

But will it only be good for Actuate?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Eclipse Foundation has approved the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools project, which goes by the rather prosaic (with apologies to all Alberts out there) acronym of BIRT. This was proposed by Actuate just a month ago and, after a positive response from the open source community to which the Eclipse Foundation caters, the project has just been approved.

As its name suggests, BIRT is about providing tools for building business intelligence and reporting applications that fit within the Eclipse framework. This raises a number of questions, of which the main two are: is this a good idea? And is this a good idea for Actuate? As we shall see, these are not the same thing.

Starting with Actuate, I should make it clear that this is not about plugging any part of the existing Actuate product set into the Eclipse framework or, alternatively, making its software into an open source product. Instead, Actuate will, in effect, be mentoring the development of appropriate development tools.

This should certainly provide some traction for Actuate within the open source community and those involved with Eclipse-based development tools in particular. It will also be good for the company's visibility in general. Whether the effort required will be commensurate with increased recognition of Actuate is only for the company to know, but overall this is a "good thing" for Actuate.

However, I am less convinced about the likely success of BIRT in more general terms. Certainly, it makes sense in so far as the Eclipse Foundation is concerned, since it rounds out its product set. However, I am not persuaded that there is a market for business intelligence development tools in the same way that there is for more general-purpose development tools.

Why do I say this? Because there have been lots of business intelligence tools and they have all, more or less, disappeared, in favour of more packaged approaches. For example, Holos was arguably one of the most advanced BI development tools, but it never really made much impact on the market. Arguably this is because Crystal didn't know what to do with it after they bought it, but the same is also true of other such products. WebFOCUS from Information Builders is arguably an exception but even that product is much more packaged now that it used to be.

The bottom line is that most people simply don't want to develop business intelligence applications. The reason for this is that some transactional applications (the most important ones) represent real competitive advantage in that they encapsulate the unique characteristics of the user organisation. This is not true when it comes to the analysis of information. The way that you analyse data may involve differentiation but how you do it, which is what BI applications provide you with, is a packaged function.

So, BIRT looks like a good idea, and it may be useful for developers who need to add some standard reporting tweaks to their applications; but I don't think there is a significant market for people that want to build their own version of Business Objects or Hyperion or, for that matter, Actuate.

Copyright © 2004, IT-Analysis.com

Related stories

Microsoft spruces up Navision
JBoss moves up to business processes
Busy month for JBoss

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.