Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Now, keep in mind that this book is not only for Java Developers, but for information technologists and anyone who is interested in Business Intelligence and building reporting applications. The book is clearly written and steps you through setting up your examples, both from the Report Designer perspective (GUI) and from the Java Developer perspective (code).
Within a matter of minutes I was able to have my first Pentaho Reporting Java Swing Application running and then follow that up with a deployment to an enterprise web application. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment because it was so easy "even the technical sales guy could do it"! This only empowers me to speak and demonstrate with even more conviction on my sales calls in regards to the embedded capabilities of Pentaho.
To give you a bit more depth and breadth into the Pentaho Reporting Capabilities which can be called via the methods mentioned in this book, there is a Pentaho Reporting 3.5 Tutorial I created located on our Pre-Sales Tools page. This tutorial covers some of the fundamentals used when creating reports with the Pentaho 3.5 Report Designer. Give it a look in your spare time and I am sure you will be excited to engage with us and want to know more.
Great job Will and team..as I continue to read I will post additional comments. Thanks for creating such a valuable addition to the Pentaho documentation stack.
Now, off to
Monday, October 5, 2009
To learn more, please contact us a www.pentaho.com.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I have always stated that a powerful technology differentiator within the Pentaho BI Suite, when compared to traditional proprietary BI software or even other commercial open source reporting, is that the Pentaho architecture brilliantly brings together data integration and content delivery under one common BI platform from one vendor. A good example of this is seen below in this brief 15 minute video. It will demonstrate using Pentaho Data Integration 3.2 to create a transformation which accesses a public movie listing web service (WSDL)...then transform the response from the web service to make the columns and data available to a Pentaho Report created with the new Pentaho Report Designer.
Now..., this was always possible with the current release of Pentaho but only during run time of the report. (there is a document in the KB that explains this process) However, with the new Pentaho (Citrus) Report Designer 3.5 we have added many more data access components, one of them being Pentaho Data Integration. This means you are now able to access the Pentaho Data Integration transformation (.ktr) as a data source during design time to create your BI content. Your report or BI content now has a real-time or near real-time data access method.
So whether it is input from a web service, salesforce.com CRM, or even our new Google Analytics step, you have increased the possibilities of creating more robust and real-time or near real-time types of applications.
Imagine the possibilities and take a look at the video below, please provide your comments if you wish.
You can view the Pentaho TechCast here.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Watch this video below, to see how I use Pentaho and and the Google Visualization API to create enhanced interactive visuals that can be easily added to a Pentaho Dashboard using the Pentaho Dashboard Designer.
Just another example of the power and flexibility of the Pentaho BI Platform. With Pentaho you are not only able to provide point solutions for the here and now problems..., you are able to evolve with it to also meet your future needs.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This blog entry is an introduction to a video which highlights the fundamentals of creating a Pentaho "Guided Ad hoc", "Structured Ad hoc" or parameterized report using the Pentaho Report Designer and Pentaho Design Studio. Here you will find a Pentaho Wiki entry which has a bit more detail and also demonstrates a slightly older example.
One of the biggest barriers in adopting a Business Intelligence tool is ease of use. It is possible that if the BI tools are too difficult to use, then most business users will not use them and may resort back to the way they used to do things, MS Access and Excel. ;-) No really...if the tools are not being used to the best of their abilities, then the organization is not leveraging their investment in BI. Therefore they are not going to realize a return on investment for that solution.
"Guided Ad hoc", "Structured Ad hoc", advanced parameterized reporting...whatever you want to name it, it is a simple way for non-technical business users to create numerous combinations of reports, without the need to involve the IT department. It not only provides the ability to limit the desired result set, but can have added functionality to re-structure sort groups, change measures and even add user defined drill down paths. Oh, and if you are using the Pentaho BI Suite, then you even have the ability to add components for on demand distribution, alerting, collaboration, scheduling and more. All this integrated under one platform, designed on open standards, reducing IT dependency and providing complete flexibility and end user empowerment.
I like the term "Guided Ad hoc". I used the term when demonstrating similar functionality with my old company's software. I believe the terminology accurately describes the meaning of the tool quite well. "Guided", because it "guides" the business user to the answer they are looking for. "Ad hoc", because the tool is usually used "for a purpose". It makes report generation easy without sacrificing functionality and again, without IT involvement.
"Guided Ad hoc" is really nothing more than a fancy term for parameterized reporting. The concept is to provide an easy to use, familiar user interface for users to interact with. If the business users are familiar with the web and have used eBay or either a banking or social networking web site; or better yet have shopped on-line, then they are already familiar with the concept of "Guided Ad hoc". They have seen the common form controls like text boxes and radio buttons, drop down lists, sliders, folder trees and pick lists. Using a combination of these form controls while providing them a simple navigation interface, allows them to simply pick what they want and how they want it. Almost 80% of reporting needs can be satisfied in this manner while at the same time requiring little to no training to use and understand.
The below video briefly demonstrates some simple fundamentals when creating a "Guided Ad hoc" report with the Pentaho Report Designer and Pentaho Design Studio. It also quickly demonstrates a completed version that I have built using the new Community Dashboard Framework which is now integrated with Pentaho 3.0
Just remember this, whether you call it "Guided Ad hoc", "Structured Ad hoc" or parameterized reporting, the result is always the same; it is easy to use and can be delivered using the Pentaho BI Suite.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Please note that this is one possible way of how something can be represented.
There are a few ways you can visualize change of data over time, but most commonly used for this is the Line Graph. A Line Graph can be described as a visual representation of connecting data points or sets of data points that have been collected over a period of time. The most useful benefits to a Line Graph are recognizing trends over time as well as observing the rate of change (slope) more clearly. Whether you are plotting sales figures or unique page views, what a Line Graph can tell you depends on the individual reading it. However, when wanting to view this data over long periods of time there are some creative ways that it can be represented.
I have chosen to represent large amounts of data over time by integrating the LGPL 2.1 Chronoscope Timepedia widget into the Pentaho BI Platform. I created a reusable, customizable component that can be easily added to Pentaho Dashboards by non-technical users. This dynamic widget can visually represent metrics over large periods of time in an interactive, browser only, Time Series Line Graph.
The idea was introduced to me by a colleague, Zachary Zeus from Sydney Australia. Originally it was structured as a JSP page which would execute a Pentaho Action Sequence and generate a JSON data string to feed the Timepedia Chronoscope Widget. This was a great idea, but I needed to enhance the capability to make it easy to use, include and modify.
Utilizing the flexible nature of the Pentaho architecture, I was able to reconstruct the example to be completely self contained in the Pentaho Solution Repository. This eliminated the need to setup a separate web application path, JSPs and any external web references needed by the component. It can be easily executed from the Pentaho User Console and added as a component to the Pentaho Dashboard Designer with full parametrization. With the added parametrization capability in the Pentaho Dashboard Designer, all filters and metric variables can be exposed so a non-technical user can customize the component to meet their need.
Because this component is utilizing the Pentaho architecture, my data can be retrieved from almost any data source. I could use a SQL query, RDBMS stored procedure, Pentaho Metadata Query, Mondrian Analysis MDX statement, XQuery, or even a call to Pentaho Data Integration (ETL) with no changes to my underlying application.
Here is a short list of the Value and Benefits to this component -
- LGPL 2.1
- No software licensing fees (had to get that in there)
- Can be added to a Pentaho Dashboard
- Can be executed from the Pentaho Solution Browser
- Completely Pentaho Solution Repository based
- Easily customizable
- Provides Parametrization for changing metrics, date range filters, vertical and horizontal ranges
For information about the TimePedia Chronoscope Widget itself see the links below:
Please note that I am working with Pentaho Product Management to get all the samples I create included in to the Pentaho BI Platform. If you are interested in becoming a Pentaho Subscription customer, or just want to know about what is possible with Pentaho, please feel free to contact me.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Google Maps has a powerful Geocoding service that Pentaho can seamlessly pass data to without any coding. I have always stated that one of the differentiators in our stack is the ability to easily integrate results from Pentaho Data Integration in to Pentaho Reporting, Analysis and Dashboards. This holds true even when using Google Maps. With Pentaho Data Integration and its HTTP transformation entry, I am able to pass user input such as address, city and state to the Google Maps Geocoder web service and return the appropriate coordinates to be mapped. This PDI transformation can be called from one of Pentaho's work-flow objects and pass back the results to another component without any coding. Now I am sure there maybe a number of ways that this can be achieved with other methods, but the differentiator here is that there wasn't any hard-coded complex coding involved. Due to the fact that our BI Platform is nicely integrated with Pentaho Data Integration, the approach is reusable for and callable from other applications and objects with little to no modifications per application. Using open standards is a key when creating any type of application. Another differentiator in the Pentaho architecture. I believe the founders of the Pentaho BI Platform and those of Data Integration (formerly Kettle) have much to be proud of when their decision to merge the two together came forth.
From just "one" parameterized Pentaho Action Sequence (a core Pentaho work-flow object) I am able to get the user's input, get the required data to be mapped (from almost any data source), send a call to the Geocoder service via PDI, and display the appropriate Google Maps center area along with the associated plotted data points. With Pentaho's service based architecture, I am able to easily change my data source and/or query on the fly without having to change any other layers in my application, which is a must when quickly deploying BI applications to the masses.
See the brief demonstration YouTube video here on the Pentaho YouTube channel that I created. YouTube's normal resolution can be a bit hard to see, so make sure to view the video in HD mode and select full screen to see the example fully. Just another example of many showing unmatched power and flexibility.
To learn more about Pentaho and see an "Introduction to the Pentaho Enterprise Edition" come see our new 5 minute introductory video on our home page at www.pentaho.com.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The new Pentaho Knowledgebase is one of those excellent resources. It is made available to paid subscription customers and trial evaluators and contains professional documentation, technical tips and more. Our documentation services team has been exceptional in getting information out there as quickly as possible and to those who need it most.
Those who depend on the vendor to provide support and those who care to be successful when using the software to meet their objectives. Sometimes, they are also the ones that sign up for training, whether it be at a customer site, at the Pentaho HQ or over the web. (You don't have to be a customer to get training.) These are the people that are the most successful with the software, any software. In addition to the KB, there is also a wiki page that I maintain in the community for non subscription customers and evaluators. This is an additional resource that allows me to quickly post information at a moments notice which can help others. This resource also creates an awareness and makes me become more scalable.
However, as with any vendor's collateral, if you don't use it, read it or care to learn it and at the same time expect someone to hold your hand, your chances of becoming successful are low. It is that simple. If you are one of those people, there isn't anything wrong with that, (ala Seinfeld) just make sure you hire the proper talent to get the job done and expect to pay. (Keep in mind that with Pentaho, you are not paying for software license fees, you are paying for people's knowledge and expertise to help you meet your objectives as well as the other things covered in a subscription- additional features, IP indemnification etc. )
Of course, there is always an expectation of vendor support, but when one does not take the time to review the collateral and expects to get a POC, CRM, EDW or ERP system up an running with a push of a button, they are in for a rude awakening. These are the same type of people that blame the vendor for their failures.
(These are not exact quotations - but I think you get the point I am trying to make)
- "I called your customer support and expected to learn all your tools."
- "I have unlimited support and the project still failed. I only opened 4 cases ,that were resolved to my satisfaction, but I never called you for more help. So your support did not help me."
- "I want to test your software. I want for you to help me create a POC,. I do not have budget or a time line or a defined project in place, and there is no guarantee that I will become a customer, can you help me?"
In closing, this is just another example that supports my prior blog claim (in regards to BI) that BI (or an application that use any software for that matter) is truly in the heads of people that know the software best. See entry here.
It is up to you to work with those people and get the help you need. It is a theory that makes sense not just with BI but with anything that is new to anyone. If you are new to sky diving would you go it alone the first time? Wouldn't you research it first, or at least jump tandem? In fact unless you have your own plane I don't even think you can go it alone without some sort of training or knowledge awareness. Whether you "SOLICIT" , "CONSUME" and "APPLY" that awareness is up to you. Remember, it is not just the vendor that can assist, but it is you as well. You can help make anything successful if applied correctly.
Teamwork, with each party doing their part can create successful evaluations and implementations.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Companies will be able to "rent" the new release of Pentaho, Version 3.0, via EC2. That arrangement should lower the upfront start-up costs of using Pentaho -- though those costs were already low to begin with. ;-) A Pentaho subscription is a fraction of what a proprietary vendor would charge you for software licenses alone.
In fact many well known companies are saving money and subscribe to Pentaho to receive development assistance as well as the Enterprise Edition certified build. EE is Q/A'd, updated and maintained on a regular basis which also includes a host of features and functionality that are not available in the Community Edition.
Other new features in Pentaho 3.0 include redesigned dashboards that incorporate Adobe Flash technology for enhanced visuals and are now easy enough for most business end users to build themselves using the Pentaho Dashboard Designer.
Another great accolade is the integration of the Community Dashboard Framework project, initiated by Pedro Alves and Ingo Klose. For even the most novice developer who wants to go outside of the box, Pentaho now includes the Community Dashboard Framework. CDF is built upon the superior Pentaho architecture. Imagine creating more of your own rich and interactive content with very little development. In fact even "cut and paste" programmers can benefit from this easy to use framework. With complete documentation, samples and cut and paste markup, customizing Pentaho content is easier than ever. Pentaho's open-source community includes 40,000 registered members and "hundreds of active contributors."
Pentaho Commercial Open Source Business Intelligence, user friendly, cloud ready and community powered.