[Phpwm] Reporting Systems

Ian Munday ian.munday at illumen.co.uk
Thu Feb 22 12:11:12 GMT 2007

On 21 Feb 2007, at 06:47, Jake Stride wrote:

> On 21 Feb 2007, at 00:21, Ian Munday wrote:
>> I am wondering what experience people have of integrating a  
>> reporting system into a PHP web application...?
>> The two options I'm considering are BIRT (http://www.eclipse.org/ 
>> birt/) and JasperReports (http://jasperforge.org/sf/projects/ 
>> jasperreports).  I *must* be able to use it from PHP (something I  
>> see documentation on on the BIRT website).
>> Has anyone any experience of these (or others)?  Any  
>> recommendations / tips / pitfalls welcomed.
> I am currently looking into the same thing myself. I have looked at  
> both of those but in no detail, and also have the following on my  
> list if it is of any help:
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/repgen - php based report generator
> http://datavision.sourceforge.net/ - java based, nice front end,  
> can be
> used as a web app
> http://rlib.sicompos.com/ - c library with php bindings

I spent much of yesterday investigating BIRT (http://www.eclipse.org/ 
birt/).  It's something I'd taken a look at once or twice about 12-18  
months back, but found the GUI report builder plugin for Eclipse  
rather buggy and frustrating so abandoned it.

Anyway, revisiting it yesterday, I followed the instructions as laid  
out on the site and had the examples working very quickly (I'm  
running it on Tomcat).  The plugin for Eclipse is now much better and  
I haven't come across any issues as yet.

One of the big appeals of BIRT is the ease of generating new reports  
using the Eclipse plugin.  One of our applications currently has  
about 20 active reports, and the new application(s) we are putting  
together is/are likely to have a greater number.  When you have this  
sort of volume or more, easy creation and maintenance of reports  
becomes either the big pro or con of any solution.

So far BIRT offers all positives, but now I need to sort out  
authentication - clearly any report request must authenticate the  
user (just as the web app does).  I've followed the suggestions on  
http://www.eclipse.org/birt/phoenix/deploy/usingPHP.php whereby BIRT  
is hosted on its own app server (Tomcat) and reports are called using  
the BIRT Viewer URLs.  To add authentication it appears to me I'd do  
something like:

     1)  Pass an authentication token as a parameter to BIRT.
     2)  Use the token to reference my database containing session  

I'd like to keep any Java coding I have to do to a minimum purely  
because I'm not very fluent in it after not touching it for years.

With regards the other options you've highlighted, my initial  
(possibly inaccurate) impressions are:

     *  PHP Report Generator - not very mature, too basic for my needs

     *  DataVision - active community but less mature than BIRT(?)  
though at first glance appears to offer similar functionality

     *  RLIB - looks like it has the functionality I would require,  
and looks easier to integrate directly with PHP, but I can't see any  
GUI available - maintenance a chore?

I'd be interested to hear how you get on with whatever route you go  



Ian Munday
Illumen Ltd.

Tel:  0121 703 3111  /  0845 00 999 00
Email:  ian.munday at illumen.co.uk
Skype:  ian.munday

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