Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review "Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers" Books Chapter 6

Packt Publishing Ltd sent me yesterday the chapter 6 "Including Charts and Graphics in Reports" of the recently published "Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers" Book to review. Excited as I was, I had to read it on the same day!
"Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers" was written by Will Gorman, a long time Pentaho developer. I found chapter 6 easy to read, so I would say it is ideal for users that are new to Pentaho Reporting as well as those who have already a bit of experience with it. It's also great that the book covers the very latest version of the software, which brings a lot of major improvements.
The book is not only a valuable reference but offers easy-to-follow examples as well. It is definitely worth the investment, as it will save you hours of searching for the right info in forums, blogs and the wiki, which can sometimes be a bit frustrating.
Now let's have a look at chapter 6: Will kicks off by introducing all the different types of data sources (category, x-y, x-y-z and times series datasets, ...) that can be used in Pentaho Reporting and offers nice examples.
Next, all the chart rendering properties are discussed in detail, which serves as a great reference. This is followed by an introduction to all the various chart types that are available in Pentaho Reporting. In the first example you create a new report and load data from a HSQLDB, which you use as a data source for an area chart. Will speaks you through the chart properties that have to be set.
Bar, line, pie, ring, multipie, waterfall, bar-line, bubble, scatter, xy, scatter and radar charts are discussed next. Included is also a very nice example of a pie chart that resets itself with each group header (very useful!). The bubble chart, which uses 3 dimensions, is also very interesting.
The last page of this chapter describes how to insert static and dynamic images into your report.

Overall, I found this chapter very easy to read. It was a great idea to include examples as well and not only to concentrate on a description of the properties. All in all, I can strongly recommend this book based on this chapter and I am looking forward to reviewing the whole book, which should arrive in my post box next week. By the way, you can already buy the book here.

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