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.

Java Groovy
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If you haven’t yet read about Groovy, here is an article on Sun’s web site about it. I like the idea, as you should probably have guessed from my complaints about Java. Just looking at some of the examples reminds me of the fun years I had developing simple things in Perl. No, this won’t replace Java development in general, but it could be used for some very simple applications, from Unix scripts to simple web sites.

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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