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Business Objects to Join Eclipse Foundation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the getting-to-be-a-big-bandwagon dept.

Businesses 78

daria42 writes "Business intelligence specialist Business Objects is the latest software maker to join the Eclipse Foundation, and says it will move several products onto the open source platform -- but it's not yet saying which. 'We won't fight it, we'll embrace it,' said one of the company's executives in Sydney last week, talking about the open source software model. 'One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform, rather than any of the other open source types,' she said, 'is that [Eclipse] actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components.'"

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That Title (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13972894)

Deserves an award for most loaded titles ever.

So, enlighten me. (2, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972897)

It looks to me like They're joining an initiative for opensource objects that offer a bit of open source but allow the real meat of thier offerings to be pay? So, adobe has been doing this for as long as i can remember with thier pdf reader, why didn't business objects join adobe :)

Re:So, enlighten me. (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972990)

You should first enlighten us. How can you plug modules into a pdf reader? And how does pdf reader provide module management, reporting, OSGi, ...?

Re:So, enlighten me. (1)

Senes (928228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973005)

Adobe is not the same as what Business Objects is going for. If that were the case, it wouldn't take so long to open a PDF.

This is just another instance of the business world slowly catching up with the trends and executives finally realizing that allowing people to read source code isn't going to bankrupt their companies.

Business Objects? (4, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972898)

Which business? And why are they objecting? Seriously, there should be at least SOME details in the synopsis.

Re:Business Objects? (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973019)

LOL. "Business Objects" is the name of the company. One of the most succesfull french software companies, BTW.

Re:Business Objects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13973316)

LOL. That's not saying a whole lot is it?

Re:Business Objects? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973022)

Which business? And why are they objecting?

It's "Business Objects" (company name) that is joining, not 'Business that objects'. But I'm pretty sure you're not the only one who misreads that headline, I had to look twice too to be sure what it said.

And mods: parent isn't 'flamebait', it's just a somewhat confusing headline.

Re:Business Objects? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973069)

Actually, I didn't misread it. I even RTFA. My mistake wasn't appending :) LOL! ROFL! HAHA! for the humor impaired.

Re:Business Objects? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973728)

I guess you arent in the IT field, or live under a digital rock.

If you dont know who BO is, or how to find out its not worth explaining it to you.

( hint: they are perhaps the largest provider of business analysis software )

Re:Business Objects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977136)

BO is a backdoor software...
At least this side of the digital bridge.

Re:Business Objects? (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13974333)

Business Objects is a company. They make absolutly horrid software.

I am forced to use their flagship product (Business Objects) at work. It is the worst software package I've ever encountered.

A typical 30 minutes session involves 5 minutes for it to load on my reasonably fast pc (3Ghz), opening up my recent files, restarting it several times after I get "CS, Unexpected behavior" errors and shutting it down after a waiting 10 minutes for my file to run.

They also provide a web interface for the software I'm using which also requires several restarts to get anywhere.

For any IT people out there whos companies are considering this software, RUN!

DO NOT GET IT.

They may or may not tell you about the months of work you will need to spend working with an outside consultant to map all your various databases to each other. And that's not included in the cost. Also the need for one of your employees to spend all day being an administrator.

Re:Business Objects? (1)

NateE (247273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976027)

I'm wondering what version of BO your using that has such terrible performance?

Your last statement is kinda funny. Your company purchased BO but thought that was the only cost involved?

Re:Business Objects? (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976553)

I was thinking the same thing. How could one implement a Data Warehouse and not know what the costs will be. I don't have a working instance of BO but I was impressed by the demos (granted that is not saying all that much).

Re:Business Objects? (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977851)

Business Objects isn't a data warehouse. It's a data reporting tool.

You use it to link databases together and give objects in the databases normal names. It doesn't store any data itself other than the mappings.

Let me reiterate that I wasn't involved in the purchase so I don't know what was promised or expected. I just use it, and I know of the constant delays in setting it up. Far longer that was expected.

Re:Business Objects? (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977801)

Not at all, but it was far more time to get the product up and running than we were lead to believe.

I have to say that I wasn't involved in the decision to purchase, I'm just stuck using it.

As to the version number: 6.5.1

Re:Business Objects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13976528)

i like your website, it looks really good (http://www.databyss.com/ [databyss.com])

Re:Business Objects? (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977811)

Ha, yeah. Maybe I'll have time to tinker with it some day.

Or did you assume that my personal website was the company I work for that is using Business Objects?

Re:Business Objects? (1)

gfim (452121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14079271)

That reminds me of a Yes Prime Minister sketch. The PM writes a response to a suggestion on a piece of paper "Balls!" (as in "Bullshit!"). Sir Humphrey suggests that it's a bit strong, so he changes it to "Round objects!". The reply comes back "Who is Round, and to what does he object?"

I hear words but I still dont understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13972912)

Eclipse actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components.

WTF does that mean. You can look but cant touch?

Interesting, considering... (3, Interesting)

kat11v (848737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972915)

Interesting considering that right now they are currently hiring/hired three new patent agents (my friend in Vancouver being one of them).

Then again maybe it's just my slightly paranoid conscience jumping to silly conclusions.

Re:Interesting, considering... (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972968)

I hope it's just to counsel the company on ways to secure their open-source offerings (if any). Of course, it's a tad tough to make money that way, save for an occasional lawsuit, so I doubt that...

Re:Interesting, considering... (1)

Kelvie (822725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975057)

They are a company that is always hiring; they seem to have a more public hiring method than the hire-by-referral that is most of Vancouver. They also look toward universities for internships/co-op work terms a LOT, and you always see them as one of the booths at career fairs.

There's a new "Linux Worm" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13972923)

Symantec and others are reporting the existence of an in-the-wild "linux worm". Symantec calls it Linu.Plupii [symantec.com]. Naturally I submitted the story to Slashdot several hours ago and they rejected it! It's not really a Linux worm but a worm that exploits a PHP language library called XML-RPC for PHP. Many bulletin board/forum boards are affected.

There is now a story on the Register [theregister.com] about it as well. Patch your XML-RPC for PHP!!

Repeat after me... (1, Redundant)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972947)

Open Source is Not a Platform.

Open Source is Not a Platform.

Open Source is Not a Platform.

Re:Repeat after me... (2, Informative)

ponds (728911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973024)

I think by the "platform" they mean eclipse, and the submitter is just making sure that we know that it's open source. Consider the quote right after it that says "the Eclipse platform."

Re:Repeat after me... (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973143)

I stand corrected. It looks like this wasn't a mistake, just an unclear wording. It probably makes more sense to people closer to the subject than I am.

Re:Repeat after me... (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973051)

They bring their offer to Eclipse.
Eclipse is an open-source platform.
They bring their offer to an open-source platform.
Understood?

Re:Repeat after me... (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973190)

This does appear to be a tad misleading. Business Objects is not open sourcing anything, but instead are supporting thier products on Eclipse.

Bloated Apps Attract Each Other (0, Flamebait)

TreeHugger04 (739276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972974)

We know how bloated and heavy Eclipse is. So its no surprise that Business Objects is also overweight [newratings.com]!

Re:Bloated Apps Attract Each Other (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976720)

Lol, still clamoring for Netbeans are you? Too bad. And the kicker is all this Eclipse publicity is not focusing any light on Java because Sun refuses to embrace it because they didn't do it.

I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13972992)

...but I was overshadowed by a brighter Java developer.

Re:I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973369)

And the entire Eclipse project is eclipsed by the weight of all of these businesses signing on. Eclipse is a great tool. As more and more corporate entities become involved things will become more committee driven. This will ensure that nothing useful gets done very quickly. Design by committee tends to make things slower, more cumbersome, and less innovative. Just look at Java ;-) (Ok.. that was a low blow). You don't get the vision of the creators of Java from Java. You get the vision the creators had based on Sun's need to scoop up all of the commercial developers languishing in C++ (yet another language designed by committee). It is all so much fun!

Jeremy

Re:I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (1)

john_o_jerk (840264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973780)

As a committer on Eclipse for a bunch of years, I can say that we've been able to do fairly well as the number of projects and companies on board increase. Of course, I believe that the end user has the last say about how well we are doing, and whether or not all subprojects are as successful as the platform/Java IDE.

Re:I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975183)

Well.. I hope you can keep it up. When relatively big amounts of money get mixed into something and you have developers from these companies mixed in it can really fubar things. Maybe only for a short period of time, maybe forever. Keep your eyes open and do what you do for the users.. not for some business!

Jeremy

Re:I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (1)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973890)

Totally agree. The businesses signing on seem to be doing so to try to dump their pet marketecture into Eclipse. Look at the projects page: Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) Project? Let's be sure they are at worst plug-ins and never part of the core.

Re:I tried to join the Eclipse Foundation... (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978350)

AFAIK simply working with Eclipse or donating money or plug-ins or whatever doesn't make you part of the steering comittees. Lots of folks use Eclipse for their products (including my company, QNX [qnx.com]).

This is probably BO trying to generate some positive press, since Cognos has a much better product (ReportNet). I worked on the developer docs for that, too. ;-)

I wish someone would make a studly cross-platform DTD/XSD/XSLT editor plug-in for Eclipse.

Totally off topic old joke (4, Funny)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973010)

The story reminds me of the old Naval urban legend of the file being passed around a shore establishment and getting fatter and fatter without getting closer to completion until somebody scrawls on the front page "Round objects". Eventually the file returns but now on the front page a senior officer has written "Please will Mr. Round state his rank and clarify his objection".

So I have to ask: What is it about business that it objects to Eclipse?

Re:Totally off topic old joke (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978743)

To the best of my knowledge, that joke was original in "Yes Minister" circa, ooh, 1982?

J.

Going out on a limb... (2, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973014)

But much like most other corporate entities that do this, while we don't know which products they will release open soruce, I'm guessing it won't be the one that they typically charge six figures for in license fees.

I do like Business Objects though, it's a decent platform.

these announcements are usually vague (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973829)



I understand your confusion on this matter. Business Objects is not saying it will open up the source code for any of their products. Instead, they're announcing planned integrations between their products and Eclipse. In the article is also a reference to Macromedia currently working on an Eclipse integration called Zorn. It's completely acceptable for Business Objects to sell closed-source products that are extensions to Eclipse. That's sort of the business model that Eclipse fosters.

Seth

Licensing (1)

r4bb1t (663244) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973033)

"One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform, rather than any of the other open source types," she said, "is that [Eclipse] actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components."

Isn't this as much about the license of Eclipse (which is generally similar to the Apache license) than it is about the platform? The subtext I read was this:

"One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform ... is that [Eclipse] will let us sell value-added products based on it for profit while taking advantage of all the OSS work that has gone into it."

As much as it is a Good Thing that big companies like IBM and others are making forays into the OSS world, it's hard for me to swallow the way they cover up their greed with a nice shiny license that lets them use it however they want. Sure, there are other OSS products that are under very similar licenses, and it's all up to the owner on how they want to license it, but in many ways it kills the spirit of OSS that I enjoy to begin with.

On the other hand, it's one hell of a way to start a community - "here, we don't care how you use this code (package it, sell it, etc. as you please), but this part of it we'll make open to everybody." Write a solid base, and let companies have at it.

Re:Licensing (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973121)

it's all up to the owner on how they want to license it, but in many ways it kills the spirit of OSS that I enjoy to begin with.

Sorry, this is what OSS is all about. Share the developping cost. The spirit you're talking can be found in the Free Software. IBM wanted from the very beginning that companies come with their proprietary plugins. They share (a small part of) the cost but they control (more or less) the platform.

Re:Licensing (1)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973301)

Isn't this as much about the license of Eclipse (which is generally similar to the Apache license) than it is about the platform?

Actually the Eclipse (EPL) license is more like LGPL. You cannot take the Eclipse code and modified it into a closed source version. You can, however, build closed source plugins and run them in Eclipse (e.g. IBMs closed source IDE).

(IANAL)

Crystal Reports for Java? (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973233)

Oh my god do I feel sorry for you. Custom reporting solutions have often been descriped as a pile of crap. Business Objects, the current owners of Crystal Reports (Formerly of Seagate, Crystal Decision, and lord knows what other companies) has long been considered the best of these options. In otherwords, they were/are the best piece of crap solution available. Microsoft (insert booing and hissing here) has finally decided to create their own reporting solution (SQL Reporting) which from what I've heard is a significant improvement over CR XI (yes, 11 versions and there are still limitations on Cut and Paste)

-Rick

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (2, Informative)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973332)

I haven't used it, but Cyrstal reports for Java has been around for a while. A demo of it came bundled with the last few version of jbuilder I've used.

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (1)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 8 years ago | (#13974035)

Pick the pile of crap you want to die in...

In 1998 the Data Visualization group at Microsoft showed me some real cool stuff... I don't believe any of it ever shipped, but it completely disuaded me from venturing into that pile of crap market.

Don't forget ReportMill. Its Java, and a pile of crap too. But most enterprises I know have dumped a pile of cash into Crystal and ReportMill...

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13974400)

For anything larger than 2-3 databases, Business Objects is terrible and unstable.

There's nothing intuitive about it's interface or it's terminology.

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (3, Informative)

kpharmer (452893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13974806)

> Oh my god do I feel sorry for you. Custom reporting solutions have often been descriped as a pile of crap. Business Objects, the current owners of
> Crystal Reports (Formerly of Seagate, Crystal Decision, and lord knows what other companies) has long been considered the best of these options. In
> otherwords, they were/are the best piece of crap solution available. Microsoft (insert booing and hissing here) has finally decided to create
> their own reporting solution (SQL Reporting) which from what I've heard is a significant improvement over CR XI (yes, 11 versions and there are
> still limitations on Cut and Paste)

A few points:

1. business objects has a meta-driven reporting platform, and is one of the top three vendors in the OLAP marketplace.

2. it didn't get there by buying crystal reports - crystal reports is the lowest-end product in their suite

3. the microsoft reporting solution is merely another low-end reporting solution, competes with Crystal Reports, but not the rest of the Business Object suite.

4. the business objects BI (business intelligence) platform is very powerful, and is a reasonable tool to use if you are supporting or performing a vast amount of reporting (lets say you're a financial analyst for a large company). otherwise it's often overkill. Note: there are no cheap/free equivilents to this product - the other commercial ones are sold by Cognos and Microstrategy. These are products that are often sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

5. describing custom reporting solutions as piles of crap is about as reasonable as describing custom web sites as piles of crap. Some are better than others. The hard thing for many programmers to get their head around is that when you need to analyze a business process in order to get a good idea of what's going on:
    a. you really don't want to have to marshall a few million java objects
    b. you really don't want to have key-value pair tables in your model
    c. you really don't want to think of data as merely persisted objects
    d. you really don't want to have to use an oo database
    e. you are much more likely to drive mysql into the ground due to its lack of parallelism
    f. if you run the reports on a typical transactional data model you'll do millions of joins and the sql will suck
    g. back to f, and the performance will suck, and your server will die
    g. back to f, and the functionality of your analysis will suck due to lack of historical data and lack of integrated data from other systems

Reporting is a discipline with its own best practices, patterns and anti-patterns. Unfortunately, most non-reporting people still think that painting reports via Crystal Reports is a neat idea. Which it hasn't been since around 1995.

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976378)

"1. business objects has a meta-driven reporting platform, and is one of the top three vendors in the OLAP marketplace."

True. I have not used the rest of the BI suit, so I can not comment on its quality. But the average business application developer is going to run into Crystal Reports before the run into the rest of the suit.

"2. it didn't get there by buying crystal reports"

True. Crystal Reports sucked before BO bought it, and while under the control of BO it has manage to achieve new levels of lesser suckitude.

"3. the Microsoft reporting solution is merely another low-end reporting solution, competes with Crystal Reports"

True again! And I still hope the MS solution winds up blowing the pants off of CR.

"4. ...the other commercial ones are sold by Cognos and Microstrategy."

I used Cognos Impromptu(sp?) a few years back. Its performance at the time was worse then CR. It seemed like a left over from Lotus Notes. Microstrategy sounds familiar, I may have priced out some software from them, but I can't recall anything good/bad about them.

"5. describing custom reporting solutions as piles of crap is about as reasonable as describing custom web sites as piles of crap."

Err, I'm afraid I don't follow your analogy there. Now, if there were like 4 available custom web site tool sets, and you had to pay $800 per dev seat up front, and a $300 yearly upgrade fee, and those tools all sucked. Then yes, I would agree with your analogy.

a) I don't
b) Why not?
c) another I don't
d) Why not?
e) so don't use MySQL
f) So true.
g1) Performance will suck, but your server should survive.
g2) Entirely dependant on the database design.

You're a data warehouse guy, I get it. And I love being able to use warehouse designs in specific situations, but its not the end all be all solution. Warehousing is awesome for reporting, but it is a pain in the ass for data management, security, integrity, and space. That's why a lot of data warehouses are based off of summarized OO databases. Now, I've been beating my keyboard over the last year primarily on a leasing system that adds a lot of reporting functionality to a 3rd party app. The 3rd party app is OO and of a particularly crappy design. But even a slight modification request(adding a field to a table) cost $10k, and we were recently quoted $50k to get some APIs opened up (just for scope of this software). Now, I have a complete invoicing system built for this project, and two weeks ago our Leasing and Collections department heads requested the ability to print historical invoices (something not in the original requests). One look at the database and I said no. Sorry, but no. This database is not capable of presenting historical information that would be in any way comparable to the invoices you've mailed out.

But, we have another application. An internal/consultant developed Commission application. The thing is huge, tracks hundred of sale members, service agreements, commissions, splits, charge backs, payouts, etc... And it was designed from the ground up with and emphasis on historical data. They can pull up the exact and complete history on every item, sales person, accessory, department, office, order, etc. The trade off however is performance. Like you mentioned, even on a beefcake server, it is impossible to gather full real time data for reporting. So a series of data warehousing processes are run at night, or after changes to a record that alter multiple entities.

There are benefits and down sides to both OO and warehouse designs.

-Rick

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (2)

kpharmer (452893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976659)

> Err, I'm afraid I don't follow your analogy there. Now, if there were like 4 available custom web site tool sets, and you had to pay
> $800 per dev seat up front, and a $300 yearly upgrade fee, and those tools all sucked. Then yes, I would agree with your analogy.

Those aren't the only options. What are reports? Well, they can be carefully formatted charts/graphs/tables that print nicely. But that sucks, most people don't care about print any more. What else are they? Tables with pagination, sorting, and navigation along with charts and graphs with similar navigation.

You can easily create very professional, very easy to use online olap-oriented reporting sites using something as simple as PHP & Chart Director. Just focus on a site-map that looks like a genuine OLAP cube, just flatten it out like you'd flatten a globe into multiple 2D maps and then link them together well. And it won't be crappy.

> a) I don't
good

> b) Why not?
Key-value pair tables can't be flattned out. You can't use them as dimensions to filter or sort your queries. Well, not without a ton of sql. They're very handy sometimes for applications, but just don't work for reporting.

d) Why not?
oo databases pretty much died when it became clear that they couldn't handle the massive table scans involved in reporting. At first they brushed this off as completely unnecessary for an application, but eventually people got tired of spending a lot of cash on an OO database, and then spending another lot of cash on a relational database to support reporting.

g2) Entirely dependant on the database design.
a single transactional database seldom has complete history - it's both a performance impact, and complete pain in the butt to maintain historical versions of every row in every table. Setting up foreign keys, writing sql, etc, becomes a nightmare. Further, a single transactional database seldom has much data from other related transactional databases (unless it's an integration-oriented one like a CRM database). But you need history for trending, and you need data from other transactions for more data points.

> You're a data warehouse guy, I get it. And I love being able to use warehouse designs in specific situations, but its not the end
> all be all solution. Warehousing is awesome for reporting, but it is a pain in the ass for data management, security, integrity, and space.

that depends on the implementation: a data warehouse is just a consolidation & distribution point for data. It's great for archiving data efficiently, security usually isn't a problem, and it is an *amazing* tool for finding data quality problems in source systems that you'd never find otherwise.

Now a data mart on the other hand (what a warehouse publishes to) can be a horrific space hog. And is complex to tighten security down on. But there are approaches to these problems as well.

> That's why a lot of data warehouses are based off of summarized OO databases.

hmmm, i've never encountered that. Do you mean oo applications sitting on top of relational databases? If so, I see that all the time. But if you mean an actual oo database, hmm, haven't even run into one in four years now...

> But, we have another application. An internal/consultant developed Commission application. The thing is huge, tracks hundred of
> sale members, service agreements, commissions, splits, charge backs, payouts, etc... And it was designed from the ground
> up with and emphasis on historical data. They can pull up the exact and complete history on every item, sales person, accessory,
> department, office, order, etc. The trade off however is performance. Like you mentioned, even on a beefcake server, it is
> impossible to gather full real time data for reporting. So a series of data warehousing processes are run at night, or after
> changes to a record that alter multiple entities.

Right - I didn't mean to imply that you should build a warehouse for every application. But this situation is very typical - the transactional application handles a single task very well. But often users want to view data from that application, mix in a little from a couple of others, then see trends over time. Perhaps commisions by sales person, along with base salary that might only be in a different HR database. Perfectly reasonable request. Or perhaps they want to see if any sales people have a pattern in which they are overly discounting some products, or booking bad deals. To find this out they'll want to combine the commisions data with data from the financial system.

At this point the warehouse emerges as the best approach. It systematically handles data integration, archival, and query loads. It can be expensive, but there are many reasonable strategies for developing smaller/cheaper versions.

With major databases like db2 or oracle, you can even create some of you reporting tables with materialized views - in which the database populates view tables for you, and then automatically re-writes some queries to his these views. Once that runs out of steam, you can start to manually copy data to dedicated reporting tables:
    - separate schema within existing database dedicated to reporting tables
    - simple sql inserts run from scripts used to populate these tables
    - if it begins to demand too much server capacity, move it off onto its own servers
    - etc
You could eventually evolve something like this into a warehouse. But of course, to get reasonable reporting - you don't need a warehouse. You just need a reporting-friendly database, and a good approach to systematically presenting data. Could crystal reports be part of that? Not really. Business Objects BI platform? ah, sure. But in the end I'd probably prefer a well-designed custom-developed php/python/ruby reporting site to a business objects one. For either maintenance or use.

Re:Crystal Reports for Java? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978706)

"most people don't care about print any more."

Don't I wish! If printing weren't so important here I would have long since moved this whole process to the web.

"Key-value pair tables can't be flattned out. You can't use them as dimensions to filter or sort your queries. Well, not without a ton of sq"

They can be flattened out at the expense of denormalizing the database. In small lookup tables, the impact is minimal, but on more complexe joins you are right, it will add complexity to the SQL.

"oo databases pretty much died when it became clear that they couldn't handle the massive table scans involved in reporting."

Absolutely! And on a side note, my bust. I had the terms relational and OO reversed in my mind for some reason. That's what I get for posting late at night.

"hmmm, i've never encountered that. Do you mean oo applications sitting on top of relational databases? If so, I see that all the time. But if you mean an actual oo database, hmm, haven't even run into one in four years now..."

Correct again. While working on a historical invoice tracking system last month we were looking into an option of taking raw data from the relational database, running it through our business layer application, then writing it to a data warehouse for quick and historical retreival for the users. Instead we opted for a document storage solution (Kwik Tag) to save exact PDF copies of the invoices mailed to our customers.

You definately seem to have a greator knowledge of databases then I do, but I think I'm in agrement with you on all of these points. Correct tool for the job and all that.

-Rick

I'm surprised that it took so long (5, Informative)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13973364)

The Eclipse project has been working on business reporting [eclipse.org] for quite some time. They presently have a rudimentary BIRT module (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) that, for its limited breadth and depth, is actually fairly impressive. One of Business Objects' competitors, Actuate, already has a product built on top of Eclipse [actuate.com].

Hopefully, this shift will pan out as a move to better integration of Crystal Reports with web services without having to shell out for Crystal Enterprise. Up through the present, most of Crystal's eggs have been placed in the COM basket so that reporting is best automated through Windows programming. This is great in that you can automatically connect to a database, run a report, export the output and email the export in a few dozen lines of VBScript. But if Business Objects is moving to web services, it will offer a great deal more flexibility as automation will no longer be restricted to Windows.

Re:I'm surprised that it took so long (1)

pinkstuff (758732) | more than 8 years ago | (#13974885)

I am a Java developer primarily, but I have been given the ultra fun task of administering reports (w00t!).

Now, I really don't like Crystal Reports for several reasons, but when we last had an opportunity to change we found we were stuck with it due to external customers (yes, same problem as MS products, grr!). We then decided to upgrade to version 10 instead. I then had to battle through the web to find out if anyone out there had actually served out Crystal Reports using Java API's - there was VERY limited information out there, but plenty in "the COM basket".

I do have to say though, once I learned my way around the Crystal API it did turn out to be a very useful tool, and quite powerful at that. They just need to boost the online documentation up about 50 notches if they want more mainstream support from the Java crowd.

And yes, the Crystal Enterprise Edition is a complete rip off, after having setup the RAS (Report Application Server) I can heavily recomend heading down that path if you too are stuck with Crystal.

Re:I'm surprised that it took so long (1)

chrpai (806494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976324)

Man I hope BO isn't as buggy as it used to be. Years ago I was doing CM work integrating BO into the build process and I still have nightmares of writing UNIX shell scripts to recreate the repository in Informix and then remotely trigger Designer to publish the universes using a VBA macro. We had to publish the reports and then pull them back out so BO could do it's special magic. This way we could distribute the report files to a client workstation and let the user refresh the data without having to pull the repository and down. Course this was still better then the old BO 3.11 Patch E days..... ugh fricking French developers.

Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13973544)

I use to think Firefox was the big one, the computing world mover.

Firefox is kid stuff compared to the impact Eclipse is starting to have. My entire company's development has been unified under Eclipse. Developers can seamlessly move from platform to platform. Writing extensions is trivial and only requires a moderate amount of Java experience, which most already have or can have quickly.

Eclipse has suddenly made Linux a first class development platform. Eclipse has turned a huge number of Windows engineers into Linux engineers who write for Linux first and run Linux at home. I can't describe the feeling of freedom and cleanliness that has brought to our company.

Thank god I will never have to touch that piece of garbage Visual Studio again.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13973900)

There are four pieces of software that are my 'key' must haves:

1) Firefox - check.
2) OpenOffice - check.
3) Eclipse - check
4) iTunes - missing on Linux.

Eclipse has freed me from Windows. All of my code/tools now are unix/Java based. Everything just works on whatever platform I choose to or need to run on. Although I will still use Cygwin on Windows when necessary, Linux is now my primary development platform.

I would prefer OS X, but it appears that OS X is starting a death spiral with the Intel mess. Too bad.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13973977)

It's just a shame that it's written in Java... bloat monster that it is. Seriously, Java was designed by someone with no experience of the average real world coding shop (stand up Gosling, you ivory tower freak), and the shit piled on top of it -- Java libraries -- were apparently designed and coded by a PHB wannabee with a list of buzzwords he wanted to cover.

The whole thing is a fucking suckfest a gigantic proportions... and even after a decade's worth of Moore's law, Sun still can't make it not stink up the place. Once you add Eclipse's bloat on top of that, you may as well kiss goodbye to your RAM and get used to swapping a lot. The only thing you can say in Eclipse's favour is that it's not as fat as the unholy Netbeans.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13974164)

Let me guess, you're just another Windows and/or Mono troll?

Give it a rest clown.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (2, Interesting)

G-funk (22712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975524)

Eclipse is a monstrous, horrible piece of software that I hope to never need to use again. IntelliJ forever!

Could this be the vi/emacs argument for the 00's?

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998596)

Amen. Eclipse is trash as as development environment. You have to face the fact that a dedicated group o engineers working on making the highest quality product they can will always outclass and out perform design-by-committee type efforts that result in things like Eclipse. A Ferrari isn't a Honda. Maybe a Honda is all you can afford. OK. But it's not a Ferrari. In my life, if I can buy a Ferrari for 500 bucks (IntelliJ), then I will. There's not many places in my life where I can buy the highest quality thing available. IDEs is one of those. If you absolutely cannot pony up the 500 bucks super-high quality IDEs makers want (IntelliJ), maybe Eclipse can be a poor substitute. My advice- save your pennies for a year and get IntelliJ.

As far as an application platform goes, do you really think that the best apps are going to be shoeboxed into a single "framework"? Where is the innovation going to come from? Writing your progam as an Eclipse lug-in dooms you to mediocrity, at best. Write something not just original but originally appropriate to the problem you are trying to solve, and you'll blow the Eclipse equialent out of the water every time. And people will pay for your solution, if you don't price yourself out of the market.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (1)

gauauu (649169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975616)

I used eclipse for awhile on my 2 Ghz Athlon machine with 512 Meg of ram, but it just wasn't cutting it. I would often right click on something, and have to wait 3 or 4 seconds for the context menu to appear.

While I love the IDEA of eclipse, I can't see how it has gained such popularity, unless all developers have workstations that are significantly better than mine. As a developer, I like my tools to be snappy -- to be able to do everything with the keyboard, and no waiting. For that reason, for me, eclipse still hasn't arrived (at least for large projects with hundreds of files. For small stuff, it seemed a bit snappier).

Seriously, for those of you who love using eclipse, does it work quickly? Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Or maybe the 1 or 2 second delay doesn't bother you as much? I'm not trying to troll -- I just really want to understand the draw of eclipse!

I'm also waiting for a good vi-style plugin for eclipse. To be able to jump around the editor quickly without taking my hands off the keyboard is essential -- arrow keys and pageup/pagedown are just too inefficient. Not that vi is the only way to do so, but it's the method my hands have grown used to, so it would be the most appealing to me to avoid having to relearn.

I've been itching to switch to eclipse for the last year, but every time I try, those 2 things stop me, and I end up going back to what I'm used to. But maybe someone here can give me a few tips.....

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (1)

revscat (35618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976141)

I don't know many developers who work on 512M machines. If that's all you have, then yes, your experience will be slow. Painfully slow. I have 2G on my box and it flies like the wind. If that is a company machine, though, I would demand more memory. No Java developer should be working on a machine with less than a gig.

I'm also waiting for a good vi-style plugin for eclipse. To be able to jump around the editor quickly without taking my hands off the keyboard is essential -- arrow keys and pageup/pagedown are just too inefficient.

There is a vi plugin for Eclipse. I wasn't impressed with it the last time I tried it, though.

Having said that, as a long-time (and current) vim user I can say that I have no problems navigating with the keyboard in Eclipse. I'm able to jump to just about any section in the file -- imports, class declaration, method XXX, etc. -- entirely with the keyboard. I can bring up any class in my classpath with a shift-ctrl-t, and switch between tabs with ctrl-e. ctrl-. takes me to the next error or warning, and ctrl-enter adds unused imports or does a smart fix of the error if it's able to.

I still use vim for editing configuration files, but for Java development Eclipse does the job quite nicely.

Having said that, I have recently worked with someone who uses IntelliJ, and they have convinced me to give that a whirl. Very impressive, but I cannot speak to it for I haven't actually used it, just seen it.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13976161)

I used eclipse for awhile on my 2 Ghz Athlon machine with 512 Meg of ram, but it just wasn't cutting it. I would often right click on something, and have to wait 3 or 4 seconds for the context menu to appear.


Had the same problem myself at first ...

I'd bet you are using the default JVM arguments when you start Eclipse - you are getting a 64MB heap, which is barely enough to start Eclipse.

If you start Eclipse with the following args, you will probably see a huge increase in performance:

  -vmargs -Xms256M -Xmx512M

On Windows, these parms go in the 'target' field of your Eclipse shortcut 'properties', eg:

C:\eclipse\eclipse.exe -vmargs -Xms256M -Xmx512M

Of course, you may want to allocate more/less memory than these examples ...

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977888)

Why on earth are the defaults set to such an unusable amount? If they have their own executable, surely they can ensure that the VM is started with sufficient heap size.

Re:Eclipse Is The Most Import Software Product (1)

Kaali (671607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976842)

Eclipse works fine on 1G of ram, haven't tried on less.

About Vi, i have used Vim for years and i had a LOT of problems moving to Eclipse at work for coding. But in the end, learning Eclipses refactoring, autofixing/completing tools made me work a lot faster even if i don't have all the functions from Vim. BUT, the editor is not bad at all when you learn the shortcuts, there is no command mode so it might feel more like Emacs than Vi(m). You should try typing ctrl-shift-l on the editor to get a keysheet, there are a lot of useful shortcuts. Most used ones for me are:

- ctrl-o : Shows a popup list of all the methods and variables in this class (I'm programming in Java) which can be filtered by just typing a start of the method on your keyboard. Pressing enter will jump to that method.

- ctrl-shift-up/down : Move between methods.

- ctrl-shift-c : Comment selected lines.

- ctrl-j : And type text for lookup search.

Just a tip of the iceberg really. That ctrl-shift-up/down sucks a bit as you have to move your hands from letters to arrows, but you can reset these to ctrl-j/k or whatever you wish.

What about Netbeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13974450)

Has Eclipsed Eclipsed Netbeans? Is anyone using Netbeans in the real world?

I used to use it 2-3 years ago, don't hear much of it nowdays.

Also Macromedia flash (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977478)

The next version of the Macromedia flash IDE is also based on eclipse. In this version they have made a seperate product for application development called Flex
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