Welcome!

Java Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: Java, Eclipse

Java: Article

Java Feature — Developing an Eclipse BIRT Report Item Extension

Architecture and framework

The Eclipse platform is an Open Source, integrated system of application development tools that you implement and extend using a plug-in interface. Eclipse provides a set of core plug-ins that configures the basic services for the platform's framework. A platform developer can build and integrate new tools in this application development system.

Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (BIRT) is a set of plug-in extensions that lets a developer add reporting functionality to an application. The APIs in BIRT define extension points that let the developer add custom functionality to the BIRT framework.

This article describes how to create a BIRT extension using the Eclipse Plug-in Development Environment (PDE). The example adds a custom report item, RotatedLabel, to the BIRT Report Designer Palette that a report developer can drag-and-drop into a report design, as shown in Figure 1.

The sample code for the plug-in creates a label in the runtime report that renders text at a specified angle. Figure 2 shows the display text rotated at an angle of 45 degrees.

A developer uses the Eclipse PDE to create, develop, test, debug, and deploy a plug-in. The Eclipse PDE supports host and runtime instances of the workbench project. The host instance provides the development environment. The runtime instance lets you launch a plug-in to test it.

To implement the report item extension, the plug-in developer does the following tasks:

  • Configures the plug-in project in the Eclipse PDE
  • Adds the report item to the Report Designer Palette using the report item UI extension point.
  • Adds the report item definition to the Report Object Model (ROM) using the report item model extension point.
  • Adds rendering behavior to the report item using the report item presentation extension point.
  • Deploys the report item extension to the Eclipse plug-in environment
An Eclipse plug-in implements the following components:
  • Plug-in manifest - An XML document that describes the plug-in's activation framework to the Eclipse runtime environment
  • Plug-in runtime class - A Java class that defines the methods for starting, managing, and stopping a plug-in instance
  • Extension-point schema definition - An XML document that specifies a grammar that you must follow when defining the elements of a plug-in extension in the Eclipse PDE
In the Eclipse PDE Workbench, the developer can create the framework for a plug-in extension by using the Manifest Editor to generate the plug-in manifest and class templates based on the definitions in the extension-point schemas.

In the Eclipse PDE, create a new project for the rotated label report item extension by choosing File->New->Project and selecting the Plug-in Project wizard. In Plug-in Project, modify the settings, as shown in Table 1.

In Plug-in Content, modify the settings, as shown in Table 2.

Figure 3 shows the host instance of the Eclipse PDE with the rotated label report item extension project open in the Manifest Editor.

After defining the plug-in project, specify the list of plug-ins that must be available on the classpath of the rotated label report item extension to compile and run. On PDE Manifest Editor, choose Dependencies. In Required Plug-ins, remove the following plug-ins:

  • org.eclipse.ui
  • org.eclipse.core.runtime
    Choose Add. Plug-in Selection appears. In Plug-in Selection, select the following plug-ins:
  • org.eclipse.emf.ecore
  • org.eclipse.birt.report.designer.ui
  • org.eclipse.birt.report.model
  • org.eclipse.draw2d
  • org.eclipse.birt.report.engine
  • org.eclipse.jface.text
  • org.eclipse.core.runtime
  • org.eclipse.birt.core
  • org.eclipse.ui
  • org.eclipse.birt.core.ui
The order of the list determines the sequence in which a plug-in loads at runtime. Use Up and Down to change the loading order as necessary. The rotated label report item extension doesn't need any changes to the loading order if you select the required plug-ins in the order listed in the previous step.

On PDE Manifest Editor, choose Extensions. On Extensions, declare the extension points required to implement the rotated label report item plug-in and add the extension element details. The Eclipse PDE uses the XML schema defined for each extension point to provide the list of valid attributes and values specified for the extension elements.

To add an extension point, choose Add. New Extension appears. In Available extension points, select the plug-in that contains the extension point.

The rotated label report item extension implements the following extension points:

  • org.eclipse.birt.report.designer.ui.reportitemUI registers the graphical user interface (GUI) to use for the report item extension
  • org.eclipse.birt.report.model.reportItemModel specifies how to represent and persist the report item extension in the Report Object Model (ROM)
  • org.eclipse.birt.report.engine.reportitemPresentation specifies how to instantiate, process, and render the report item extension
To add an extension point element right-click on an extension point such as org.eclipse.birt.report.designer.ui.reportItemLabelUI. Choose New <extension point element> to add the extension element to the project. Figure 4 shows how to select the extension point element, report-ItemLabelUI, specified by the extension point, org.eclipse.birt.report.designer.ui.reportitemUI.

An XML schema specifies the following properties that identify each extension point in the runtime environment:

  • ID - Optional identifier of the extension instance
  • Name - Optional name of the extension instance
  • Point - Fully qualified identifier of the extension point
On Extensions, these settings appear in Extension Details when an extension point is selected as shown in Figure 4.

The extension point, org.eclipse.birt.report.designer.ui.reportitemUI, specifies the following extension elements:

  • reportItemLabelUI - The fully qualified name of the Java class that gets the display text for the report item component in the BIRT Report Designer
  • model - ROM report item extension name that maps to this UI component
  • palette - Icon to show and the category in which the icon appears in the Palette
  • editor - Flags indicating whether the editor shows in the MasterPage and Designer UI and is resizable in the Editor
  • outline - Icon to show in the Outline View
  • propertyPage - Optional Property Edit Page to use for the report item extension in the Property Edit View
The extension point org.eclipse.birt.report.model.reportItemModel specifies reportItem and the following extension element properties:
  • extensionName - Internal unique name of the report item extension
  • class - Fully qualified name of the Java class that implements the org.eclipse.birt.report.model.api.extension.IReportItemFactory interface
  • defaultStyle - Predefined style to use for the report item extension
  • isNameRequired - Field indicating whether the report item instance name is required
  • displayNameID - Resource key for the display name
    reportItem also specifies the following property extension elements:
  • rotationAngle
  • displayText

    rotationAngle and displayText each specify the following properties:

  • name - Internal unique name of the property extension element
  • type - Data type, such as integer or string
  • displayNameID - Resource key for the display name
  • canInherit - Flag indicating whether the property extension element can inherit properties
  • detailType - Detail data type such as Boolean or string
  • defaultValue - Default value of the property extension element
  • isEncryptable - Flag indicating whether the property is encrypted
  • defaultDisplayName - Display name to use if no localized I18N display name exists

    The extension point org.eclipse.birt.report.engine.reportitemPresentation specifies the following report Item extension elements:

  • name - Unique name of the report item extension.
  • class - Fully qualified name of the Java class that implements the org.eclipse.birt.report.engine.extension.IReportItemPresentation interface.
  • supportedFormats - Supported rendering formats for this extended item. The value for this attribute is a comma-separated string, such as "HTML, PDF." The string is case-insensitive.

More Stories By Jason Weathersby

Jason Weathersby is a member of the extended BIRT development team at Actuate Corporation and has backgrounds in both computer science and technical writing. He has many years experience in technical consulting, training, writing, and publishing about reporting, business intelligence tools, and database technologies.

More Stories By Iana Chatalbasheva

Iana Chatalbasheva is a member of the extended BIRT development team at Actuate Corporation and has backgrounds in both computer science and technical writing. She has many years experience in technical consulting, training, writing, and publishing about reporting, business intelligence tools, and database technologies.

More Stories By Tom Bondur

Tom Bondur is a member of the extended BIRT development team at Actuate Corporation and has backgrounds in both computer science and technical writing. He has many years experience in technical consulting, training, writing, and publishing about reporting, business intelligence tools, and database technologies.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
JDJ News Desk 10/23/06 05:29:14 PM EDT

The Eclipse platform is an Open Source, integrated system of application development tools that you implement and extend using a plug-in interface. Eclipse provides a set of core plug-ins that configures the basic services for the platform's framework. A platform developer can build and integrate new tools in this application development system.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.