Java BI Tool Most Popular NetBeans Plug-in

The iReport dashboard for JasperReports is the belle of the ball when it comes to NetBeans downloads.

By John K. Waters

What's the most downloaded plug-in from the NetBeans Web site? If you're not a user of this popular IDE, you might be surprised to learn that it's iReport, a tool for an open source reporting and business intelligence (BI) graphical development environment called JasperReports.

Developed by Jaspersoft Corpo., iReport is the dashboard design tool for JasperReports, which the company bills as the world's most widely embedded Java reporting library. "Of course the library isn't of much use if you don't have the design tool," said Nick Halsey, Jaspersoft's vice president of marketing, "so these are two peas in a pod.”

Jaspersoft is a commercial provider of open-source BI solutions and a longtime member of the NetBeans community. The San Francisco-based company announced last week the full-production availability of the iReport plug-in. iReport has been certified both for NetBeans 6.0 and 6.1, and it's in the process of getting that certification for the upcoming NetBeans 6.5, which was just released in beta. "We'll be ready when it goes GA [general availability]," Halsey said. "It's fully supported now."

Halsey noted that iReport is actually natively hosted on the NetBeans IDE, though it's also available as a standalone product for users of other IDEs. A beta version of iReport has been available since December of last year. Since that release, it has become the belle of the download ball among the approximately 600,000-strong NetBeans community.

"This is a win-win alliance for both Jaspersoft and the NetBeans community," observed Kuldip Oberoi, group product marketing manager at Sun Microsystems in a statement. "NetBeans IDE 6.0 gains an outstanding visual report designer tool while Jaspersoft, as a strategic partner, expands its access to the fast-growing, vibrant NetBeans community."

iReport developers deploy their reports with the JasperServer, which comprises a repository, dashboards, scheduling software, and an ad hoc reporting feature. Both iReport and the JasperServer are included in the Jasper for MySQL product, which is a version of the company's BI suite optimized for MySQL. Jasper for MySQL 3 combines all of the new features and functions in Jaspersoft 3, which was announced earlier this summer, Halsey said. Sun acquired MySQL earlier this year, and Sun's database group has licensed the Jaspersoft BI suite for its OEM business.

"This was just pure synergy,"Halsey observed. "Now [you have] a native NetBeans development environment optimized for their database product."

Jaspersoft also offers an iReport plug-in for the Eclipse IDE. NetBeans is one of the few remaining IDEs to compete directly with Eclipse for Java developer mindshare. "They're both good development environments, and we're glad to support them, but we believe that NetBeans is just a superior graphical development platform," Halsey said.

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John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at