08 November, 2007
Filed under CiviReport, CiviCRM

The Conservation Fund is the nation's foremost environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting America's most important landscapes and waterways for future generations. My company, Phase2 Technology, architected a robust online fundraising solution for the Fund that included Drupal and CiviCRM.  Special attention was made to implementing the Drupal CMS from a unified perspective, incorporating the needs of all of the regional separate program sites into the overall spectrum of website feature offerings.  CiviCRM was used to implement the donation engine for the site.  The Conservation Fund collects donations for various programs, so CiviCRM search and exporting capabilities are critical to the success of the organization.

Some highlights of the...

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20 August, 2007
Okay, so 1.8 stable has been released - and the roadmap indicates that it includes CiviReport Phase 1. You may be wondering... How does it work? What does it do? How can I try it out? etc.... First, CiviReport isn't really a new component in CiviCRM. Rather, it's a set of sample reports which we've built on an open-sourced reporting engine called BIRT (Business Information Reporting Tool). The reports use SQL queries to interact with your CiviCRM database. There is (as of yet) no application or code-level integration between BIRT and CiviCRM. The report files are BIRT-formatted XML files which are developed using BIRT's Report Designer and "run" using BIRT's runtime engine. I've been spending free cycles the past month exploring BIRT. I don't expect to become an expert in this tool anytime soon - but my goal has been to learn enough to be a bit dangerous. More importantly, in collaboration... Read more
04 March, 2007
By lobo
Filed under CiviReport, v1.8, CiviCRM

I've been spending the past few days with Eclipse and BIRT. Their examples and screencasts are quite valuable to understanding a fairly complex application. I suspect this model of documentation is quite applicable to CiviCRM also.

I'm making pretty good progress with CiviReport and currently have a BIRT library with various reports that can be distributed. I'm focusing on CiviContribute for the initial set of reports, but it is quite easy to adapt the reports to CiviMember and CiviEvent. BIRT allows you to have drill down reports (i.e. from a high level report, you can get more detailed reports on various aspects by drilling down a level or two). Thus a top level contribution report could give you breakdown by year, state and your top 5 donors. You can then drill down into details for each year, or state or a more detailed...

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24 February, 2007
By kurund
Filed under CiviReport

It's been a while, i was trying to get Eclipse-BIRT working on my machine (Ubuntu Edgy). Finally got success few days back.

Here are the steps for installation:

1) Get the Eclipse using Ubuntu update manager.

sudo aptitude install eclipse

2) BIRT package is not installed by default in Eclipse. So use Eclipse update manager and select package BIRT Reporting Tool.

You might get few errors:
- Could not write in /usr/lib .....

chmod -R 777 /usr/lib/eclipse

- I also got following errors:
Requested operation cannot be performed because it would invalidate the current configuration. See details for more information.
Graphical Modeling Framework Runtime (1.0.1.v20060926-1100-gW3quUwGl-1CEqp) requires feature "org.apache.batik (1.6.0)", or compatible.
BIRT Reporting for TPTP Feature (4.2.0.v200606131519--1G955G5G7A7E7M) requires plug-in "org.eclipse.birt.core".
TPTP Charting Service (4....

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27 November, 2006
Filed under CiviReport, v1.7, CiviCRM

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 continued my adventures with BIRT and read the IBM tutorial (registration required) and learnt a fair bit more. The BIRT ...

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25 November, 2006
Filed under CiviReport, v1.7, CiviCRM

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...

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22 November, 2006
Filed under CiviReport, v1.7, CiviCRM

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...

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