Jaspersoft adds Apple iPad toolkit to its BI tool

The open-source Jaspersoft 4.2 features tools to build native iPad BI software

Open-source BI (business intelligence) vendor Jaspersoft is joining the ranks of companies adding support for Apple's wildly popular iPad.

A new SDK (software development kit) for Apple's iOS operating system is a key feature of Jaspersoft's 4.2 release, which was announced Tuesday.

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With the toolkit, developers will be able to build native iPad BI software, according to a statement. It includes a set of REST (representational state transfer) programming interfaces, Objective-C tooling and a sample native application, Jaspersoft said.

The 4.2 release also offers browser-based iPad compatibility for "users who want to deploy a mobile BI solution quickly," and may not need the added responsiveness and power native development can provide.

Other features include improved ad-hoc reporting, which allows users to pull together and visualize data in a variety of ways.

Like other commercial open-source vendors, Jaspersoft makes money by selling support subscriptions and premium add-on features to its core suite of software. It claims to be the world's most widely used BI software, but even if true, that measure naturally includes the many companies around the world using the community version of the suite at no charge.

Jaspersoft's main weakness over the years has been a lack of integration and cohesion between its various modules, said Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson.

However, "They've always realized that and have been doing a pretty good job at closing all of the gaps," he said.

Meanwhile, the new iPad support is something Jaspersoft pretty much had to do, Evelson added.

"There is no question that mobile BI is hot and the iPad is the de facto standard device, so pretty much every single BI vendor has something and if they don't, they will shortly," he said.

Experts like Evelson have pointed to tablets as the harbinger of a rise in mobile BI, since the larger screens and touch interfaces make it much easier and more enjoyable for users to navigate through data with those devices, compared to smartphones.

Oracle, SAS Institute, and Information Builders, among others, have also made iPad-related BI announcements this year.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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