Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Open Source Reporting on iPhones/iPads

Reporting on iPhones/iPads is an interesting area that has a lot of potential. Yes there is an easy possibility of rendering HTML based reports on an iPhone or similar devices. But those are still in a way the default browser content on which there’s no control of an iPhone’s inbuilt capability to recognize objects and present it in a manner easy for the user to view. It requires some adjustments before we can see it in action.

Open source reporting tool, Pentaho offers a great help in this area. Pentaho provides a plugin which can sit in the server and dynamically render the pages based on whether it is viewed from a typical desktop/laptop or through an iPhone device, for the entire reporting application. This might also be applicable if the results are embedded inside a page of another application through frames, etc.

Here is how it works: Firstly some interceptors are created to detect iPhone requests and re-route those requests to the correct iPhone view. Secondly, an extension is created to allow the parameter forms to render correctly on the iPhone. The user interface can still be designed to suite the branding requirements. The typical interfacing framework can be anything like iUI (User Interface Framework for Mobile Web Devices) and you can build a custom login page and Home page. You can then,
  • Create Navigational Menus and iPhone-style interfaces from standard HTML
  • Create modern mobile web pages
  • Handle phone orientation changes
  • Provide a more "iPhone-like" experience in your Web apps
Similarly, the code is available for android  http://wiki.pentaho.com/display/ServerDoc1x/Deployment+Configuration
Other than Login, Navigation, and Parameter Forms, no changes are actually necessary for Pentaho Platform. This is due to the combination of Pentaho rendering in standard formats, and the iPhone being able to render standard HTML and PDF pages. Below are some samples of the same.

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