Eclipse BIRT 2.0: Java and J2EE based reporting
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I haven’t tried this yet, as on my current project we are deeply emmersed in Jasper Reports, but this will be interesting to take a look at.

Eclipse BIRT 2.0 Release

Andreessen: PHP succeeding where Java isn't
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While I’ve been working in Java for the past 7 – 8 years, I definitely do not label myself as a Java -loyalist. I’m an Internet Application loyalist, and I want to do whatever it takes to get the apps done right and done fast. I agree with Andreessen’s statement that Java’s complexity has grown by leaps and bounds. The learning curve has become too steep, and many IT departments are finding it difficult to train an employee in all the technologies needed to go in and make a simple change to a module on their web site. When you have to know Spring, Hibernate, Struts, Tiles, SQL/RDBMS, and make edits within all these technologies in order to add one field per the client, it becomes utterly ridiculous.

It may be fun for us developers, and we love all the separation of the various layers of the application, but it’s no good for the client, and that’s who pays us. So we as Architects, Analysts, Designers, and Developers better come up with something that provides for much faster turnaround time.

Row Count within a Group
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The report I’m working on now requires a running count for each line item within a group. Fortunately, Jasper has an easy way of doing this, by simply using $V{groupname_COUNT}, where groupname is the name of your group.

Java and Web GUIs
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I still believe that Java is ideal for the back end portion of a web site or Internet application. When I say “back end”, I am referring to the data manipulation including the use of business rules and data persistence.

Its the use of Java on the front end, the web gui, that I’m not so sure I’m convinced of at this point. When JSP first came out, it seemed so simple, but then we began to get so concerned over separating roles and markup, content, and logic. Now creating a web site is just too much work. Lately, I’ve been using Word Press to do my blogs, and using Open Reports to create a reporting web site. Both of these are great examples of the simplicity in creating web sites. Open Reports creates forms to fill out with a simple web gui interface. Both of them require no “coding” in order to add further pages, change the look and feel, etc. They aren’t as custom as would be needed for most of the web applications I’ve worked on, but, I think we should be able to get to a point where the web front end is as simple as using Word Press, Open Reports, or any of the other CMS type web tools.

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CMS/Portals: Java vs PHP
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You’ll probably notice an emerging theme over the next few weeks of comparing PHP to Java. Please understand, that I know very little PHP. I am a Java Architect and Developer. But that said, there are a lot of problems in the Java industry right now, and I’m finding it very interesting to compare it to PHP. Perhaps, at the very least the Java community can learn some valuable lessons from PHP.

The Server Side has an article about comparing CMS/Portals in Java and PHP. They found what I have found in comparing many other apps, and that is that PHP generally offers more choices and more functionality. You can read more here.

One of the replies to the article was by Dave C, and I just have to put the text of his comment here. Its has some truth in it. Java can of course, be as simple as he is describing PHP, but as he says, “Java programmers tend to overengineer everything”. I have a gut feeling that he is right, and that in the past, I may well have done that myself.

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