ireport3.7bookcover

I was sent a review copy of the book ‘iReport 3.7’ from Packt Publishing a few weeks ago. The book, by Shamsuddin Ahammad, covers the use of the iReport design tool that works in conjunction with Jasper Reports. Strangely, the reviewer of the book is also the author of ‘The Definitive Guide to iReport’.

If you’re using iReport, then you already know that it’s a tool for visually designing JRXML report files for use with Jasper Reports. iReport is described on the back cover of the book as ‘an intuitive and easy-to-use visual report designer/builder’. My personal experience is that iReport is not particularly intuitive and, at least on macOS, is a buggy and slow piece of software.

I haven’t read ‘The Definitive Guide to iReport’ but I did purchase the e-book ‘iReport Ultimate Guide’ from JasperSoft. The Ultimate Guide is about 100 pages longer then iReport 3.7. The Ultimate Guide covers additional material such as the installation of iReport, report lifecycles, JRXML background and basically the lower level details of iReport and how Jasper reports work. The Ultimate Guide can only be purchased from JasperSoft as an e-book for $49.95. The ‘iReport 3.7’ book can be purchased as a paper book at multiple locations (including from Amazon.com) for $32-$40.

The iReport 3.7 book appears to be targeted at the first time user of iReport who is looking for a tutorial style approach. Both iReport books assume you’re building standard reports. My own usage of iReport has been in building very much non-standard reports. For my purposes as a developer, the Ultimate Guide was more helpful in understanding the lower-level workings of the iReport tool and how Jasper Reports work in general.

For business users, the iReport 3.7 book is probably superior. It builds clear examples, adding on new concepts as the book progresses and uses copious screen shots to illustrate the steps. The book works through all of the user-level concepts in iReport including cross-tabs, graphing and sub-reports.

In the end, for business users anyway, the two books are complementary. iReport 3.7 provides a high-level and approachable coverage of iReport while the Ultimate Guide goes deeper into the concepts and the workings of the tool. If you’ve purchased the Ultimate Guide and find it tough going, then iReport 3.7 is the book for you.

You can find the book at Amazon.com (that’s an affiliate link) and directly from Packt. The paper book is more expensive at Packt but Packt also has cheaper e-book versions that don’t use DRM.