Pentaho Reporting 3.6 Milestone 1

Finally we compiled all recent changes together to ship the milestone release of the next release of the Pentaho Reporting System. The release, as usual, contains the Pentaho Reporting Engine, the Pentaho Report Designer and the Pentaho Reporting Plugin for the BI-Server.

This release centres around making the XAction-less mode more viable. The heart of the changes is made up by the new formula-parameter system. Formula parameters provide the ability to

  • compute display-values for list-parameters
  • post-process user-input
  • derive new parameters out of the existing input
  • validate the user-input against business logic rules

Parameter can now be hidden, so that they do not show up in the user-interface. Hidden parameters in combination with the post-processing formula provide the derived parameter ability.

The other major shortcoming of the 3.5 release circled around the ability to define the various security settings for SQL and Mondrian/MDX datasources. All data-sources now can define values for the username/password and Mondrian/OLAP4J role properties. These settings can be either given as static values, hardcoded by the report-author, or can be read from a field or parameter at runtime, and thus can originate from a hidden/computed parameter.

To read values from the server-side session, the ENV-formula has been extended to look for session-attributes. A formula like =ENV("session:my-attribute") will look at the session of the server and search for a attribute named “my-attribute”. If the attribute is a string, it will be returned and can be used in the report.

ENV can now also be used to retrieve Mondrian-roles from the platform. Roles can be returned as String (ENV(“roles”)) or as array (ENV(“roles-array”)).

And last bug not least, to reduce the manual work when setting up data-sources, all well-known environment properties are now automatically imported into the data-row. Environment-Properties like “roles” therefore available as a report-field called “env::roles”. Which environment properties are considered “well-known” is controlled via the global report-configuration, so it should be easy to adapt this schema to your organization’s defaults.

To see these changes in your BI-Server installation, you will have to update the reporting-plugin and the various reporting-jar files. The download for the reporting-plugin contains detailed instructions on how this is done.

We will stop with the development work on this release somewhere within the next 2 to 3 weeks. The final GA release should come shortly afterwards.

Pentaho Reporting 3.6 will be part of the 3.5.2 bug-fix release of the BI-Server.

The purpose of this milestone release is to gather as much feedback on the real-world viability of both the formula-parameters and the security setting enhancements as possible. When test-driving this release, please give us feedback on how well we hit the requirements of your organization and how easy it is to get reports up and running in your environment. Don’t hesitate to tell us all about any repetitive steps you have to take to get reports up and running, so that we can take steps to eliminate or at least minimize those.

And now grab your copy from Sourceforge at

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About Thomas

After working as all-hands guy and lead developer on Pentaho Reporting for over an decade, I have learned a thing or two about report generation, layouting and general BI practices. I have witnessed the remarkable growth of Pentaho Reporting from a small niche product to a enterprise class Business Intelligence product. This blog documents my own perspective on Pentaho Reporting's development process and our our steps towards upcoming releases.