Actuate Announces 9.0 BI Platform Upgrade

Actuate 9 merges the company's proprietary business intelligence software with open-source code.

Business intelligence software developer Actuate announced June 26 the 9.0 edition of its namesake platform—an upgrade to be sure, but one that bridges two basically disparate worlds.

Actuate 9 takes the companys proprietary business intelligence software platform and brings in BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools), its Eclipse Foundation-based open-source reporting project.

BIRT essentially integrates with an application to allow users to create Web and PDF-based reports. In version 2.0.1 now, BIRT provides core reporting features like report layout, data access and scripting, according to the Eclipse Web site.

Actuate, based in South San Francisco, Calif., is using its Collaborative Reporting Architecture as the underpinnings to the 9 platform to bring together open-source technologies from BIRT with its Actuate iServer, which 9 runs on.

The company is also pulling in functionality from AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) to create a different sort of BI environment, according to the companys marketing team.

"We take [BIRT] from the open-source engines and design environment and add the ability to connect to our server environment," said Jeff Morris, director of product marketing at Actuate.

"By including open source across our products we are able to include design sharing that is targeted at a very skilled IT person, with a person using Web-based construction. The cool part is now they can collaborate."

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The Actuate 9 platform brings four new products to the fore: Actuate BIRT (available as part of the iServer) to run open-source reports inside Actuates commercial environment; BusinessReports, a Web-based ad hoc development product; Interactive Viewing that allows the user to tailor reports to their own perspective; and iPortal, a portal environment for accessing content and viewing BIRT reports.

"The ability for every end user to create a special design for their own consumption makes reports last longer," said Morris. "And were able to bring the principal of open-source development: wide spread participation of developers and consumers of reports, in an iterative process."

BIRT as part of Actuate 9, however, becomes a commercial product; the community development input stops just short of the Eclipse doors, according to Morris.

The Actuate platform with BIRT included will be available next quarter.

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