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I am new to BI and looking at JasperSoft server 5.6.1 commercial edition. Our users want to be able to create ad-hoc reports from an oracle data sources. I have to give a short demo of the web UI for designing a simple report. My question is a somewhat philosophical one: What are the general advantages of creating a report against a view as the datasource as opposed to other BI products where the report is designed directly against the relational datasource?
So far I like what I see with the Jasper server product, but I fear that my audience for the demo may be turned off by the idea of first having to design an ad-hoc view before they can design a report. As a java developer I can appreciate that the view is a layer of abstraction between the report and the domain, but fear the users will not see things that way. (they are more familiar with the, let's call it..."Snowflake Reports" product where they just point the designer tool at the datasource and go).
Any suggestions for how to convince a data-savvy but non-technical crowd that creating the view first is a good thing?
Advice on this appreciated in advance.
I think you're getting confused with terminology. In JasperReports Server, it's create a Domain and then Adhoc View. Adhoc Views are interactive reports. An user may opt to generate Adhoc Report from an Adhoc View but this isn't really necessary.
An user may also opt to create a Report using Jaspersoft Studio - this does't require creation of an Adhoc View.
I think what's you're describing as a "view" is a "Domain" in JasperReports Server terminology. Data abstraction and security is a good thing and it's another few checks on features comparision list, but I've found most users do this in their backend application, database, esb, etc. rather than on BI server.
I agree with your audience's stance. That's why I've developed an addition to enable users to just drag & drop files on to a web page to generate Adhoc Views directly from the file.
The main benefit of JasperReports is very good reporting compared with other tools. Jaspersoft Studio is a very good reporting tool. Another benefit of JasperReports is that's it's open source - it's possible to customize it to suit each user's needs. With proprietary product, you have to take what they offer you.
An Ad Hoc view presents data for JRS Ad Hoc Editor to explore and analyze from your Topic, Domain, or OLAP data source. It can only be accessed through JRS interactive designer web UI. Ad Hoc views can also be used to create content for reports. When creating a report from an Ad Hoc view, the report is considered “dependent” on that view. Ad Hoc view report contains static template content derived from Ad Hoc view when it is created. This report can be run in foreground and back ground standalone outside Ad Hoc Editor.
One thing to keep in mind is that when modifying and saving an Ad Hoc view, its dependent reports are not updated. For example, if you open an Ad Hoc view in the Editor and add a column to it, that column will not show up in previous reports created from that view. In such a case, you may want to save the updated view with a different filename to avoid confusion.
If your user needs to explore and analyze data BEFORE creating a final report, then use JRS Ad Hoc Editor to create a view and its report. If they just want to create a report without analyzing the data first, then they could use Jasper Studio (or iReport) design tool to create the report and have it deployed to the server.