Monthly Archives: November 2007

Americans food is the ultimate test

For the last two years I stood in awe how the common American people manage to survive the daily meal. There are countries in the world, where serving a typical American burger or barbecued something is considered a serious crime (if not a violation of the Geneva Conventions). Rumors even say, that the first representative of McDonalds coming to France was shot on sight.

And everyone who ever stayed in one of the many Hotels (for instance in the Orlando Airport area), knows that every word said about the food (no matter how bad) is true.

Well, until recently I also believed that truth.

Gretchen and Doug, two fellow colleagues from Pentaho, introduced me to the other side of the All-American food chain. Their invitation to a charity community meal on Merrit-Island showed me, that there is hope for America. There was a wide variety of foods and flavors, an amazing mix of Italian, German and other european influences composed to a bazaar of eatable things. The world’s cuisines at your fingertips.

Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure that I now know, why they make the Hotel food so bad. Its an test. Only those who survive the horrible food there are worthy enough to even be considered to become citizens. Its the ultimate test: Eat our “food” and risk a horrible death or go back from where you came.

(Which makes me wonder, why still so many Mexicans try to cross the border to the north. But then again: They probably only get spanish style food, like the stuff I encountered in Barcelona. In that case, even the things they serve in the Hotels is an improvement over that.)

So if you’re traveling into the U.S. and dont want to choose between starving to death or risking to eat the tourist-food, then strive away from the main roads and explore what the real country has to offer. You will be astonished!

We finally made it! Classic Engine 0.8.9 has gone GA

After nearly one year of hard work, we finally completed the huge task to write the next big version of the Pentaho Reporting Classic Engine.

This release contains a lot of great new enhancements, which make the life easier for everyone:

  • Sub-Reports
  • Style-Expressions
  • Value-Expressions
  • Formula Support
  • Enhanced Layout-System with borders, background-colors and paddings, page-break control and unique page-spanning capabilities.

In times where memory is cheap and diskspace is even cheaper, we stem against the trend. Version 0.8.9 is only 400kb larger than our last stable version, 0.8.7-10. Although it is now roughly 10% slower on long running reports, its advanced caching make it a lot faster for repeated smaller report-runs.

Finishing up this release would not have been possible without the great grumbling of Klausb, who patiently went trough and tested every single aspect of the pagebreaking code. Without his effort, I’m dead sure these bugs would have hit us in the back the day after we went GA. And whenever you use the formula-support and think: How did we survive without that? then send a Thank-You-note to Cedric Pronzato for building the great LibFormula library.

But we wont stop here. Now we are working on the roadmap for the next version, making the Classic-Engine feature-complete by adding real charting and OLAP support. At the same time, the Report-Designer will undergo some major changes to be the Number One Choice for all the reporting needs. But for now, we are still throwing ideas on each other. Expect the final road-map at the end of this month.

Getting close to closing Release 0.8.9

After more than 6 month of development and one year after the release of our last stable version 0.8.7-10, we are now approaching the next stable release.

This release contains more changes than any other release before. The diff between 0.8.7-10 and the current SVN-version is about 10 MB, and it does not even contain the sources and changes for the new libraries (which sums up to another 3MB).

What did we achieve?

  • We have Sub-Reports and parametrizable DataSources now.
  • We have a new layouter*, which gives us paddings, borders, backgrounds, better text-processing capabilities and most important: A layouter that allows to have page-breaks inside elements.
  • We have support for OpenFormula-Compatible formulas, which simplifies the computation of values in the report.
  • We have style-expressions, which simplify the dynamic formatting.� In most cases, no one needs to write extra functions in Java now – just add a formula to a style-property and you are done.

There are a lot more things in this release, way to many to be listed here. Download the Pentaho Reporting Classic engine and see it by yourself.

So whats next?

We will continue on the classic track for a while. The most important change for the next release will be an organizational one: The Report-Designer now moves closer to the Report-Engine. Treating it as a separate Sub-Project at Pentaho yielded horrible results – the Web-Centric heavy-weight Pentaho-Platform is not a good guiding light for a Swing-based Java-Application aimed to create reports for a lightweight embeddable report-engine. So Martin Schmid and I teamed up to bring the Classic Engine and the Report-Designer closer together. Our users see the Report-Engine and Report-Designer as a single unit, technically our projects cant survive without working with each other – and now, we did the last logical step and joined forces.

During the next weeks, we will compile the road-map for the Version 1.0 of the Class Reporting Engine and for the Version 2.0 of the Pentaho Report Designer.

But to create the best report-designer and the greatest report engine we need your help. JFreeReport – and now Pentaho Reporting Classic – would not have been where it is today without the constant input and feedback from our community. If we dont know what *you* need, we cannot provide you the things you need. Or in the words of the wise man: “If we don’t know, we don’t know!”

* The first time since a very long time, our Layouter passes the Wine-Based Complexity Test (WBCT). The WBCT is simple: Drink a whole bottle of wine, and then try to explain how your code works. If you can explain it (and more important: your colleagues understand you and the code) , your code is simple and logical enough to be called sane.