Jaspersoft wants to attract new users with kinder, gentler BI features

The company has provided new types of charts and a templating tool for its Jaspersoft 5.5 business intelligence suite

Open-source business-intelligence software vendor Jaspersoft continues to refine its software to make it easier to use for a wider audience.  

"The better our product is to use for non-technical users, the better the chance that the data will be used in an organization," said Mike Boyarski, Jaspersoft director of product marketing.

The company has updated its flagship business intelligence suite, Jaspersoft 5.5, to include a revamped reports editor, a new tool for creating templates, as well as more visualizations.

With this release, Jaspersoft's iReporter report editing tool has been replaced by an Eclipse plug-in that offers all the capabilities of iReporter. 

The iReport software was based on the Oracle NetBeans platform, while the new Jaspersoft Studio is a plug-in for the open-source Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE). 

"We felt that Eclipse was a much more popular development environment for Java," Boyarski said, noting that many Java developers routinely use iReport to create charts and reports.

Jaspersoft also includes an ad hoc report designer, which is a report-building tool for non-technical users. The designer in Jaspersoft 5.5  includes a new template builder, so administrators can define the color schemes, logos and fonts for reports.

By creating organizational templates, the administrator can ensure that reports made by other users adhere to organizational style standards.

The new software also includes the ability to build two more types of charts. One is a scatter plot chart, which can display two variables side-by-side in a set of data.

The other is a dual access chart, which is useful for comparing two different data sources with different scales of measurement. 

The ad hoc designer also includes new in-application tutorials on common tasks, such as creating a new report or dashboard.

Jaspersoft also has support for high-availability (HA) deployments. The administrator can set up a cluster of Jaspersoft nodes, so that if one node goes offline, a second node will take on all the current jobs previously handled by the failed node. 

The community version of Jaspersoft is a free download, and the commercial version, with more features, is licensed on a yearly basis. A typical deployment on a four-core server can run about US$40,000 on average.

Jaspersoft can also be used on an hourly basis on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for as little as US$0.44 an hour. 

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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