Which is better for reporting tool: open source or charge?

freezea's Avatar, Join Date: Apr 2009
Newbie Member
After making reports for a long time, I found something strange recently. Various reporting tool vendors advertise by all means to attract users’ attentions; however, programmers show great interests in Jasper report + ireport, the representatives of free and open source Java reporting software. You can find that it is discussed in full swing in almost all the forums with Java report board, and there are always a lot of questioners.


Jasper report + ireport are pure Java reporting tools. I believe that the reasons for users to choose them are as follows:
1. They are free reporting tools, and this is the most important reason.
2. They are professional reporting tools.
3. They are pure Java reporting tool.
It means that most people have realized that they should make reports with professional reporting tools, not coding, and this is a progress. Now, there are many pure Java reporting tools available, such as JATOOLS, RAQ Report, and Style report, etc. According to users’ choice, you will find that free is the deciding factor.

However, I have a problem. Free and chargeable, which one is better?

It seems that free Jasper report + ireport bring us a lot, reporting software with certain usability, open source code with flexible customization capability and complete control, and the most important, low cost.
But is this really the case?
1. The tabling capabilities of them are not very good.
2. Written too minutely, the Help documents of them are hard to read. And more important, all of them are chargeable.
3. The tabling logicalities of them are not very strong.
Sometimes, you may find it very hard to make a complex report with them. For example, if there is a report can not be made directly, you have to write SQL statements troublesomely or ask your clients change their requirements unreasonably.
You can find a great number of consultation posts in forums, and the questioners usually have to wait for answers on line. However, maybe there is no answer to their questions, or there is no one to answer their questions by coincidence. You can count the time and labor cost spent on it. Then, whether it is advisable to buy a chargeable reporting tool?
The advantages of buying a chargeable reporting tool:
1. The tabling capability of a chargeable reporting tool must be better than a free one.
2. The Help documents of chargeable reporting tool are free.
3. When you have a question, you can consult the technical support of your reporting tool directly; even ask them to come to help you.
Judging from the social trend, labor division will becomes more and more detailed, and work will becomes more and more professional. In report industry, the optimal condition is that professional reporting tool vendor is the peripheral R&D Center of other companies. Each company gives some money to the vendor for using the reporting tool, while the vendor is dedicated to solve the report problems of all the cooperators.
To sum up, making report is a professional job, and it is advisable for you to buy a chargeable reporting tool. With it, you can do your own job better.

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If you would like to read more articles about reporting tool, you are also welcome to refer to my blog.
HERBERTS's Avatar, Join Date: Oct 2008
Newbie Member
Of course commercial is better than free. I have used FastReport for a long time now. Its easy and fast to use. You can check more on theur site . It will give you a general idea of report building and reporting applicable to many reporting tools.