The most common way to publish information to end users is to create reports. In fact, when you look at a typical Business Intelligence (BI) environment, about 75 to 80 percent of the usage and delivered content consists of reporting. Another 15 to 20 percent uses analytical tools for OLAP, and only a limited number of people (0 to 5 percent) work with data mining tools. The same 0 to 5 percent is traditionally being used to indicate the size of the user population that uses a management dashboard, but that is changing rapidly. In fact, in a Pentaho solution, most users will likely first access a dashboard that displays the BI content tailored for their needs. Again, a large percentage of this dashboard content will consist of reports, so reporting is a key feature of any BI solution. This chapter introduces you to the two Pentaho reporting tools, the Pentaho Web-based Ad Hoc Query and Reporting Tool and the more advanced Pentaho Report Designer. We have taken a very practical approach by offering many hands-on exercises so that you can follow along while exploring the different tools. It is assumed that you have access to both the Pentaho BI Server and Pentaho Report Designer.
All modern reporting solutions have a similar architecture, as displayed in Figure 13-1. The figure displays the different components of a reporting architecture:
A report designer to define the report specification
The report specification ...