It was a pretty productive thanksgiving weekend :) Learnt way more about reporting, how complex an issue it is and the number of companies that are built on reporting (or to use a more trendy phrase, Business Intelligence). So here are some conclusions:
- PHP does not have a decent open (or closed) source reporting tool.
- Reporting is too complex an application and fairly well addressed by other open source projects. We should use one of those applications rather than doing it ourselves
- All the reporting open source projects use Java / Tomcat. CiviCRM users will need both java and php tools if we adopt this route
- I dont think we really have a choice with regard to this.
I did a fair amount of research on the web regarding the state of various open source reporting packages. BIRT received quite a few excellent reviews and they also have an upcoming integration with the Zend platform/framework that I had to give it another go.
So back to the drawing board, and did an install of Eclipse and the automated install / update of BIRT. I suspected there was an issue with the latest version of BIRT (2.1.1) and decided to install the older version (2.1.0). This proved to be a smart move and I was up and running with BIRT. Their website is quite nice and has lots of detailed informtion (which did not really help me in my first installation attempt). I started off with the Basic Tutorial, though i modified it to use the CiviCRM...Read more
This week i've spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what we could potentially do to make reporting part of CiviCRM. A few joomla folks on the list have successfully used a Joomla component DBQ and were fairly happy with it. I did read a fair amount of it and took the next step of actually installing and playing around with it.
DBQ is quite nice, easy to install and works as expected. However, as Dan Robinson pointed out on the email list, it is not a reporting tool, but more a simpler way to execute queries and format them in some manner. A lot of "reporting" functionality is missing (in all fairness to DBQ, it does not claim to be a reporting tool either).
The next stop in my reporting journey was agata. Unfortunately agata does not seem to have kept up to the current software versions. It only works on php 4.3.x and php-gtk1. Its a brazilian OSS project, the information was a bit hard to...Read more