Reporting at the Alfresco Summit 2013

Alfresco Summit 2013

A week ago, at the Barcelona edition of the Alfresco Summit, there was a “Alfresco Reporting” session. Francesco Corti, Matthew Patin an myself presented their solution. We had a great audience with among others John Newton, Jeff Potts and John Iball. Alfresco is considering how to implement any kind of reporting themselves, so it became an interesting discussion.

What I think was very interesting whas the different approach of each of the three presenters. Francesco presented the A.A.A.R. solution, based on the Pentaho stack, integrated with the Alfresco admin dashboard. He took the BI approach where Alfresco is just another data source, and uses fact tables and the whole BI suite of concepts. His ‘trick’ is to get the content from Alfresco into the reporting database. Next to that the Pentaho stack is capable of providing the UI to get the insights out. This results in a fancy interactive dashboard to slice an dice the information.

Matthew and his team stayed completely within Alfresco, without the use of a reporting database at all. They leveraged the JasperSoft report definition (a single plain xml file) to dynamically inject Alfresco fields, and define the result sets. This results in generating report definitions ‘on the fly’, for example test-driving using advanced search, and then transform that into a report definition. Cute! Since it all runs within Alfresco the report output is compliant with the Alfresco permissions. Beware to keep an eye onto the system.acl.maxPermissionChecks and solr.query.maximumResultsFromUnlimitedQuery properties  to allow for meaningful results (presuming larger result-sets are in play)

The Alfresco Business Reporting solution is in the middle. It starts from within Alfresco using configuration executed by the Java API. One ‘trick’ is to get the (meta)data in the reporting database in a way that reflects the Business Domain. Either leverage your existing BI/Reporting solution, or configure the embedded Pentaho Reporting to generate reports and store those save within Alfresco. All document based. The slide deck is posted at SlideShare as embedded below.

An interesting session, with different approaches, resulting in different reporting purposes…