JasperSoft Debuts Web 2.0-Savvy Open Source BI

Open source business intelligence (BI) firm JasperSoft has announced the availability of its new JasperSoft Business Intelligence Suite v3 Professional Edition.

The suite provides enterprise-class functionality delivered through interactive Web 2.0 interfaces, the company said. The new functionalities extend JasperSoft’s price/performance ratio and technical support.

JasperSoft v3 uses Web 2.0 technologies coupled with a metadata implementation to provide its customers with what it calls “business intelligence for everyone.” Added features in the new release include an interactive Web 2.0 interface based on an Ajax framework, dynamic HTML and other technologies that deliver the ability to mash up business intelligence features and provide a cross-application, browser-based experience.

“This product opens up a whole new aspect for using business intelligence without having to go to the IT department for help,” Ian Fyfe, senior director of products for JasperSoft, told LinuxInsider.

Key Features

JasperSoft v3 extends the ad hoc report-building capabilities of the existing JasperSoft suite with ad hoc query building for business users. It lets users build queries by dragging and dropping data into the query window.

“This feature lets users build searches around customer data, products lists and dynamic filters,” Fyfe said.

Also, the company said, JasperSoft v3 can be embedded into any Web application, providing the opportunity to create Web-based mashups and allow customers to extend business intelligence functionality to every area of their organization. Version 3 is data source-independent and includes enhancements for abstracting data sources via a new metadata layer, along with Web 2.0-based graphical metadata management tools for database administrators and IT personnel.

Output Options

Another key feature in Version 3 is the choice of using Flash format output. JasperSoft added a Flash plug-in for browser display. Flash is an open source browser display format by Adobe.

Other output formats already available from earlier versions include PDF (portable data format), XML (extensible markup language) and Microsoft Word DOC. In addition, Version 3 uses JasperSoft’s own ODBL format for viewing overlapped data sources through its own driver. This accommodates financial analysts who prefer to work in Microsoft Excel, said Fyfe.

The new version builds in Web 2.0 technology to provide new approaches to report management, he added.

Improving Image

The development of this latest release was driven by input from customers and feedback from the company’s community and forum discussions, along with a desire to move the product in a new direction.

“People’s perception of open source is starting to change,” Fyfe said.

Enterprise users no longer view open source products as cheap and risky to try compared to proprietary products, he explained.

In addition, business users have begun using Web 2.0 functionalities at many levels within the enterprise. This causes an increasing need to access and integrate data from more sources than ever before, according to company officials.

JasperSoft v3 is designed to allow users to build and update dashboards in real time, drag and drop information from multiple locations, and build queries and reports.

“We expect JasperSoft v3 to transform the market for BI solutions and dramatically expand JasperSoft’s position as the most widely deployed BI software in the world,” said Brian Gentile, CEO of JasperSoft.

Availability and Licensing

JasperSoft Business Intelligence Suite v3 Professional Edition is available as of June 18 directly from JasperSoft and through authorized resellers. Products in the JasperSoft Business Intelligence Suite are available individually or as an integrated suite that uses common metadata and shared security, repository and scheduling services.

The JasperSoft Business Intelligence Suite Professional Edition is licensed on a per CPU (central processing unit) basis. Existing users will be able to upgrade for free, Fyfe said.

New customers can obtain a license starting at US$4,000 per two CPUs. That will provide access to a few hundred users, Fyfe said.

Licensing is also available for independent software vendors and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who want to embed JasperSoft products. Community open source editions are freely available for download here.

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