Two of my favorite Open Source projects finally met.
Few years ago JasperReports became de facto number one open source reports engine according to its popularity. Of course JarperReports wouldn't get such wide-spread acceptance without the graphical designer iReport (an independent project at first; later they became one joined by JasperSoft). Although a powerful tool for quickly setting professionally looking reports, iReport lacked some robustness in the user interface. Sometimes using it for few hours, building heavy reports with lots of fields, text boxes, etc. made it slow and even unresponsive. As we can see now a decision for that issue had been sought. And what is better than a proven IDE platform?
The guys from JasperForge have been playing around with the most popular IDE platforms (at least for two I know - eclipse and NetBeans) and made a choice. Now there are plug-ins for the both of the platforms (the one for eclipse was the first one and instructions for installing it in the eclipse IDE are packed within the installation bundle). Nevertheless the final decision
was in favor of NetBeans. Not only there is a plug-in (an NBM file) for the platform, and not only there is a preview version of iReport built upon the platform, but there is the road-map.
It says that the project is moving completely. Two or three weeks ago JasperSoft were the presented featured partner on the NetBeans site.
The wait still continues. The new project is in a little more than a preview state. It is stable enough and reports can be made easily (the NetBeans style - something a bit odd for people who are used to iReport's way of doing things) but still there are some important functionalities that are missing (the chart tool for example). The current version is 0.9 and they promise that in the summer there gonna be a rejoin between the version numbers (now the old-fashioned iReport's version replies to the JasperReport's one).
So, big thumbs up for that pleasant and powerful union and hope the result will deserve the applause.