JasperSoft Corp continues to flesh out the individual software components of its new JasperIntelligence open source business intelligence architecture, this time including a new OLAP tool.
After initially focusing on reporting software with its JasperReports software, San Francisco-based JasperSoft announced its JasperIntelligence in April this year as an architectural blueprint for an integrated BI suite that also combines analytics and data integration components.
JasperIntelligence 1.0 now bundles in upgraded versions of its existing line of iReports, JasperReports, JasperServer products and adds a second new component called JasperAnalysis – a web-based tool provides staple OLAP data manipulation and analysis capabilities like drill down, slice and dice, dynamic filtering and charting. It also provides an ability to map onto existing relational data sources without requiring data movement.
The tool, which supports MDX and XML/A standards, is built on the Mondrian open source project. Earlier this year JasperSoft hired one the main contributors to the project.
JasperAnalytics has got all the bases covered in terms of classic OLAP functionality, said Barry Klawans, chief technology officer of JasperSoft.
Like the rest of JasperSoft’s products, JasperAnalytics is aimed at small and mid-sized firms.
JasperIntelligence 1.0 also strengthens the JasperReports and iReport engine (a thin client engine for JasperReports) with improved usability, and wizard-based features.
Reports created in JasperIntelligence can be viewed in HTML, PDF, Microsoft Excel and Word, or other output formats.
Both of the upgraded versions of JasperReports and iReports now also includes a plug-in for the JasperServer runtime repository, which has also been updated to provide more granular, object-level security and access controls, improved scripting and report scheduling, and a more rounded-out Web services API.
JasperServer was launched in April this year as a way to wrap production-grade reporting and enterprise deployment capabilities around the core JasperReports open source Java library and execution engine. It basically provides a server-capability on top of the JasperReports code; adding things like integration to data sources, report storage and distribution and administration functions.
JasperSoft’s development roadmap is to evolve its products towards building a more complete end-to-end BI suite.
The next step, according to Klawans, is to add a back-end data integration, or ETL, component.
JasperSoft had always regarded reporting as part of a broader BI suite that we’re underpinning with our JasperIntelligence architecture, he said. We see three major pillars to our BI suite – reporting, analysis and ETL.
We’ve now announced two of them. ETL is the next logical step, because if you put OLAP capabilities beyond simple application you need to be able to create a data mart of sorts.
Klawans however is keeping tight-lipped about whether or not the company will go out and buy one of several open source ETL projects currently underway.
Last year rival open source BI provider Pentaho Corp snapped up the Kettle ETL project and has now absorbed that into its own evolving BI stack.
Other open source ETL projects up for grabs include Enhydra Octopus, CloverETL and BEE. While these are still immature projects led by amateurish development, their functionality and scalability is starting to ramp up.
We’re not planning to build [the ETL capability] ourselves, but we’ll be looking to partner with one of the open source ETL projects out there.
Klawans expects to make an announcement at the end of this year.
He also said the company would be tightening up integration between the reporting and analysis components.
Right now users can jump from a report in JasperSoft to an OLAP view of that data in JasperAnalysis, he said. We’ll be working to allow JasperAnalysis users to take their OLAP analysis and directly create interactive reports from it that can be pushed out to more users.
Klawans said that JasperIntelligence was different to similar BI stacks being assembled by other open source vendors because its functionality is aimed a much broader business user audience.
The goal of JasperIntelligence family is similar to what we’ve done with JasperReports — to support operational BI.
That also makes us unique from other open source plays like Actuate BIRT, who are aiming their software at Eclipse developers.
Providing a simple user interface and an easy way to embed BI into business applications is key.
With over one million downloads to date, 10,000 deployments and 3,000 paying customers on its books, JasperReports’ software has already established a beachhead among the Java community.
JasperSoft’s software is available as open source (under GPO) and under commercial license, complete with documentation, support, and services.
Separately, JasperSoft also formally launched its JasperReports for SugarCRM offering, which is billed as the first open source reporting engine for SugarCRM Inc’s open source customer management suite.
Downloadable from the SugarExchange web site, the software delivers a library of pre-set, transactional customer-interaction reports.
The software was originally announced in May and there have been over 15,000 reported downloads since.
The integration and adoption uptick doesn’t come as any surprise according to Klawans.
We’ve been talking with Sugar guys for a long time, ever since they began. They do a great job of looking at the task and pipeline data. But they don’t do stuff like trend analysis.
Klawans also said it is a good way to raise the visibility of JasperIntelligenec by tapping into the SugarCRM sales community.