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What is open source software?


Open source software is computer software that allows its source code to be made publicly available or open for anyone to use for any objective.  Thus, any person can view, learn, apply, alter, and circulate the source code without having to worry about violating the normal copyright restrictions of protected or licensed software. With little to no copyright limitations, open source software encourages user-generated content to be developed in a public, collaborative effort. The notion of unrestricted sharing has been adopted by open source software in order to ensure perpetual access to all resulting or derivative creations. 

Eclipse BIRT Open Source Reporting Tool

Monthly summary report design created by BIRT Designer Open Source Reporting Software.
Monthly summary report design created by BIRT Designer open source reporting software.
The original purpose for cultivating Eclipse BIRT open source reporting software was to help developers obtain the resources to design and integrate business reports into applications more easily (think user-friendly tools!). With BIRT Designer, developers quickly and simply embed information into their applications for data visualization functionality and business intelligence reporting capability. With intuitive drag-and-drop features for designing reports and charting data in exquisite graphical visualizations, BIRT Designer equips developers with everything necessary to complete application designs efficiently. The integrated development environment (IDE) of BIRT Designer simplifies the process of busines intelligence (BI) report creation by providing the following:

Got BIRT Envy?
The BIRT Challenge: BIRT Developer vs. Java Coder

Give developers the business intelligence (BI) reporting tools they need to deliver
interactive, dynamic analytics reports and applications


Always use BIRT: you'll have time to drink java, instead of coding it.
Say "hello" to open source reporting with BIRT and wave "goodbye" to Java coding from scratch! Power up with BIRT reporting—save time and effort designing information-driven, customer-facing applications and still enjoy a life outside of work.
In this "docudrama," Actuate brings you a Public Service Announcement: a cautionary tale of coding gone wrong. Two enterprise developers creating mission-critical applications go head-to-head: Bob, the developer using BIRT Designer vs. Larry, the Java coder who insists on hand coding.

Who will reign supreme?

BIRT Open Source Business Intelligence (BI) Reporting Software


  • Familiar and Easy Eclipse-Based IDE
    BIRT Designer can be installed as full Eclipse environment or as a plug-in to a pre-existing Eclipse installation.
  • Extensible Data Access
    Actuate provided the Open Data Access (ODA) framework for the Eclipse Data Tools Project to ensure that the uniform industry standard for open source software development included extensible methods for defining and accessing data sources. The ODA allows developers to write custom data drivers to access data from any source, including data stored in proprietary systems.
  • Data Integration From Multiple Sources
    BIRT Designer includes wizards that make setting up access to data from multiple sources effortless and quick. Enterprise business reports can then integrate information from various data sources, including Apache Hadoop, Cassandra, MongoDB, XML, Flat files, Hive, JDBC, POJO, Excel, Web services, and more.
  • Highly Programmable
    All BIRT content is highly programmable and can be extended or enhanced with Java and JavaScript
  • Flexible Design and Presentation
    With an easy drag-and-drop user interface, developers can quickly create the applications their clients require. Developers have the flexibility to present different views of the same data in textual and graphical formats to highlight and reinforce key pieces of information.
  • Component Libraries
    For improved application management, developers can save and reuse designs as well as design elements for future projects in component libraries. 
  • Easy Integration
    Built for embedding, BIRT Designer includes application programming interfaces (API’s) for data access, chart generation, output formats, content execution, and integration within larger applications.
  • Global Development Community
    Eclipse BIRT open source reporting software supports a global community of developers which enables international sharing of knowledge and applications. 

Open Source Reporting with BIRT Technology Simply Designs Better End User Reports

Stuck in the same old business reporting rut? Need a simpler way to create a business intelligence (bi) report for your end users? Just BIRT it! The best way to understand what BIRT Designer can do for your report designs is to see it in action. The below two-part video demo guides you step-by-step through the following tasks with a brief introductory overview of how BIRT Designer helps create more engaging end user (bi) reports:
  • Add data sources and create data sets
  • Create grids, charts, and tables
  • Use aggregation elements


If you are a developer and would like additional information about how open source BIRT Designer can help with your application designs, please visit the BIRT Developer Center.