The BIRT applications
There are three BIRT applications: BIRT Report Designer, BIRT RCP Report Designer, and BIRT Report Viewer. The two report designers are very similar. BIRT Report Designer runs as a set of Eclipse plug‑ins and lets you build reports within the Eclipse Workbench. BIRT RCP Report Designer has a simplified report design interface based on Eclipse Rich Client Platform. Although BIRT RCP Report Designer can be used for report development, it is included in this book as a reference implementation to help you develop your own Rich Client Platform applications.
BIRT Report Designer and BIRT RCP Report Designer
BIRT Report Designer is a graphical report design tool. BIRT Report Designer uses the design engine to generate a report design file based on the report object model (ROM). ROM supports the standard set of BIRT report items and custom report items. BIRT Report Designer also supports the reuse of a report design by saving it as a template. You can also save individual report components in a component library, making those components accessible to other report designs.
The primary functional differences between the BIRT RCP Report Designer and BIRT Report Designer are:
*BIRT RCP Report Designer has no integrated debugger.
*BIRT RCP Report Designer does not support Java event handlers.
Other than these differences, the functionality of the two report designers is identical and any further mention of BIRT Report Designer in this section apply equally to BIRT RCP Report Designer.
BIRT Report Viewer
BIRT provides the BIRT Report Viewer web application that includes all the necessary files to deploy to most J2EE application servers. This web application supports running reports and viewing paginated HTML, with a table of contents and bookmarks, and extracting data to a values file. URLs provide this level of integration. The host application forwards the reporting request to the BIRT Report Viewer and allows the user to interact directly with the report.
The BIRT Report Viewer is also available as an Eclipse plug-in. This plug-in is used within the report designer to preview and display a report while it is being developed. Within BIRT Report Designer, it is deployed to and works with the Eclipse Tomcat application server plug-in. As report requests are made, the Eclipse Workbench starts the Tomcat application and launches the BIRT Report Viewer.