Getting started on your Jaspersoft project

Introduction

As you plan your Jaspersoft project, you may wonder what the best way to start is, and how you can lower your overall project risk. You may wonder what kind of experience and training your team will need, and what kind of development tasks are the most high-risk. We take a look at these problems, and ways to solve them. The solutions we present here are based on our customers' experience, and the ways in which they successfully tackled common problems. We hope it will help your project succeed also.

We first talk about the great Jaspersoft resources you have access to, and in the second half of the document, we talk about specific items to make your project a success.

The Jaspersoft resources at your disposal

As your project advances, you may need some extra help to get you past normal project roadblocks. Don't forget that you have the Support team, training resources, Customer wiki articles, and a Professional Services team that can help you with your projects.

The Support Team

You file tickets with the Support team when you're having problems with the product in terms of installation, usage, configuration, and diagnosing problems. They are a great resource for getting you through your issues if you have questions or just in need of help. For a complete description of what support covers and doesn't, please see our online resource - http://www.jaspersoft.com/policies-and-procedures.

Training Services

We have found that our customers gain the most out of their Jaspersoft investment by enrolling in training - they are more self-sufficient, and most of all, get their projects done faster. For most of clients, we recommend the 4-day Technical Training, which covers how to use our entire product suite - JasperReports Server, the iReport Designer and Jasper ETL. For a full listing of what's available through training, please check http://www.jaspersoft.com/training.

Professional Services

Our team of consultants can help you get through tough technical problems, and can reduce your project risk and overall development costs. By engaging them, you"˜ll have expert technical help as well as someone who can give you general guidance and share their experience with the products. They can do your customizations, report development and security implementation using Jaspersoft best practices, showing you how to do it and how to maintain it. To find out more about Professional Services, please check http://www.jaspersoft.com/professional-services.

Online resources

There are also online resources that you should know about: The Jaspersoft Community Site and the knowledge search available through the Customer Support Portal. Our Community Site, contains documentation, wiki articles that deal with specific technical issues, community questions and answers, and an exchange of extensions that may add additional capabilities to your Jaspersoft implementation. The community wiki contains how-to articles with step-by-step instructions, performance and troubleshooting tips, as well as solutions to common problems. The knowledge search tool allows you to search through all our documentation, community blogs, and community site articles and questions, and is frequently the fastest way to get the answers to your questions. It's available on your support page as soon as you've logged into the Customer Support portal.

Making your project a success

Here are some items that you'll need to address as you start your project. If you are able to tackle these problems up-front, you'll increase your chances of success.

Defining your project scope and timelines

It's worth remembering the basics here: your project scope and project timelines. Depending on the technical complexity, some items can have a higher level of project risk. Check the table below. If you have a lot of high-complexity items, you might consider engaging our Professional Services team, who can put a solution in place for your project.

Item Risk Description
UI - developing custom themes Low You'll need to a UI developer comfortable with CSS files.
UI - adding or modifying JSPs Low You'll need a JSP developer.
Developing canned reports Low/Medium You'll need someone who can use iReport Designer and knows Java and SQL. JasperSoft provides a 2 days iReports Designer training to make anyone feel comfortable using iReport Designer.
Developing domains for ad hoc Low/Medium You'll need someone who knows how to use the server product, who understands databases and the meaning of the data in business terms. Understanding and being able to write SQL queries is not mandatory but would help a lot.
Developing security files for domains Medium You'll need a Java developer to implement security rules. The process is well-established, but requires technical skill.
Develop OLAP cubes Medium/High Requires someone who knows the database, knows about optimizing database for use with OLAP cubes, and has some familiarity with MDX (the query language for OLAP cubes)
Setting up Single Sign On (SSO) - LDAP Medium This requires using our Authentication Cookbook guide and someone comfortable with application servers and Java development. If they follow the instructions in the cookbook, they should be fine.
Setting up SSO - CAS Medium Same comment as above
Setting up SSO - other technology High This will require custom software development including Java coding.
Modifying server functionality (NOT using platform API's) High This will require custom software development, and be performed by the PS team or by someone who is very familiar with the product and with Java. This type of development is high-risk, since there is no guarantee that it won't break if you upgrade to a later version of JasperReports Server.
Modifying server functionality (using platform API's) High This will require custom software development, and be performed by the PS team or by someone who is very familiar with the product and with Java. This type of development is less risky than not using platform API's, but still requires someone expert enough to know how to use them.
Developing custom datasources High This will require custom software development, and is for an expert Java developer or can be performed by our PS team.
Integration with web services Medium Requires someone experienced in developing applications with web services, but not especially hard. We have documentation on using Web Services.
Integration with Iframes Low This can be done by a developer.
Integrating JasperReports Server with non-Java resources Medium/High Examples of this would be integrating JRS with Microsoft's .NET environment, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc. This will vary in complexity, but if you are willing to use web services with an installed JasperReports Server, you can minimize the risk.
ETL Jobs Medium/High A customer's ETL needs will vary depending on how complex the data integration tasks are. The greater the number of datasources you wish to integrate, the higher the complexity. There is also the inherent ramp-up time you will spend in training yourself to use the Jaspersoft ETL tool.

Putting together a team

Depending on your project size and complexity you will need to staff your project with:

  • A project manager - this person will manage the timelines, scope and team
  • A Java developer - this person will become the JRS expert, and we should focus on enabling this person on the technical material
  • A business analyst - Often the project manager doubles in this role. This person knows the business domain, knows what the reports should look like, and whether or not the data behind the reports make sense.
  • A database administrator - while not fulltime on a project, a Java developer will often need a DBA to help tune SQL queries and to optimize the database. They're very handy when dealing with performance issues and ETL.
  • A system administrator - often the Java developer doubles in this role. This person can do administrative tasks such as restarting servers, deploying JRS, deploying custom classes, modifying scripts for tuning, exporting and importing repositories, among others.

Your team should be comfortable with Java technologies, and be able to work with databases. We also highly recommend that your team enroll in one or more of our many product training courses, which will teach or improve your knowledge of our product suite.

Contacts

For more details, check the Support portal at http://support.jaspersoft.com The Support team can also be contacted by email: support@jaspersoft.com If you have other questions or concerns please contact your sales representative. 

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