Report Writers - Architecture of Actuate

Below is an example of what an Actuate report would look like. All Actuate reports are generated into DHTML. There are no Java Applets or ActiveX objects requiring long download times. In the advanced version there is page level security and downloading of each page individually. This means that each page of a report is downloaded one at a time. Thus a long report would not all download at once and cause the browser to appear to sleep.

Below is the most simple form of the architecture of an Actuate installation. Note that Actuate is compatible with any browser and that output can produced in either DHTML or database driven XML. XML (eXtended Markup Language) allows for custom tag definitions. DHTML has only limited capabilities in this respect. With XML custom tag definition allows for generation of cross-browser compatible web (XML) pages generated from Actuate or even directly from a database such as Oracle. XML generated from a database could have custom tags directly related to database meta-data definitions.

The last diagram shows the full Archtecture of an Actuate installation. In the advanced version any types of objects can be stored in the Report Encycloperia such as already constructed Crystal Reports. Rewriting of already constructed reports is not required.

The Actuate Report Server is effectively an application server much like MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server) or the Oracle Application Server. No other software is required for an Actuate installation other than a web server program, for instance Internet Information Server or IIS, and a database where data is read from by Actuate.

Actuate has full scheduling, security and administration facilities. There are also browser, GUI (graphical user interface) and a richer reporting viewer as opposed to the DHTML generating viewer called LRX Plugin.

DWB (Desktop Workbench) is the development environment. This development environment is fully object-oriented and has all the advantages of an object-oriented approach, ie. tight design, high code reuse, good structure and efficient execution. eReportDesign is a simplified form of the Desktop Workbench. Note that the .rod, .bas, .rox and .afc files are the various files produced by the Actuate Desktop Workbench during the process of development.

REQAPI and RSAPI are direct interfaces into the Report Server. Actuate is not only very capable as a report writer but since it has a very open architecture one can theoretically do almost anything with Actuate. These two APIs (application programming interfaces) provide direct access to the Report Server.

Note that Actuate can access a cluster of databases at once. This means that Actuate can access multiple databases, even databases of different types, such as Ingres, Oracle or Sysbase, all at the same time.

At present Actuate does not support clustering of NT-Server machines for the spreading of load and failover security. Also Actuate reports can not be analysed after production for the purposes of OLAP processing (Online Analytical Processing) of multi-dimensional data cubes. These items will probably be addressed in later releases of Actuate. Note that Actuate stems from Unix roots. This implies robustness and capability to handle complexity. Microsoft rooted products such as Seagate Info tend to exaggerate their abilities to process in NT-Server clusters since the robustness was never there in the first place. Microsoft products tend to restrict the user to Microsoft type solutions only.