September 24, 2011

Pentaho Community Gathering (Live)

This year PCG11 is happening in Frascati, just outside Rome. No sea-side this year, but the famous hills of Rome. As last year, I'll try to do a live write-out, as things happen. (The first two presentations will be posted with some delay as the hotel wireless was down in the morning.)

As during the prevous years, we have a full house of Pentaho enthusiasts ...

9h45 Doug Moran
As usual, Doug kicked-off, with a short introduction of the event. No pictures of that as I was still complaining to the hotel staff about the failing wireless at that time.

10h Matt Casters
Matt gives an update of some of the new kettle stuff:
- DataCleaner profiling integration
- kettle JDBC driver ported over to Kettle trunk, in use in the DataCleaner integration
- KFF into PDI 4.3: first overview of the plans to move technical parts of KFF into Kettle trunk
- An overview of what happened with dynamic ETL Metadata injection

He does remind the audience and speakers that there is an unwritten PCG rule, that all presentations should be done without the use of Powerpoint, something that last year wasn't really respected. However, this will not stop me from putting up any Power Points people should have made!

10h 15 Pedro Alves
Pedro gives a live demo of how CDF dashboard parts can easily be added on a Pentaho report. This is done through custom plugins for PRD/BI server that allow directly accessing CDA and CDF components.

10h40 Alain Debecker
Alain explains how he joined linalis (Geneva) to come back to Pentaho and why he is talking about security. He started the development of a UI to manage Mondrian role grants of a complex customer. He also explained how Kettle can be used to load a set of users from an employee database. Finally, he promises a white paper soon to be published on this subject.

11h00 Coffee break
First presentations are over and the crowd (mostly with serious hangovers from the day before) are craving for coffee. And while the Italian organization hasn't proved the best a setting up the wireless, the coffee table looks quite good.

11h15 Roland Bouman (presentation)
Roland walks us through the concepts of XMLA4JS his the wrapper around XMLA which allows accessing XMLA through Javascript. Since PCG11 he's been working with people from Palo to extend this. He's has also collaborated with Andy Grohe from Pentaho to put an object model on top of XMLA4JS that would make usage of XMLA4JS easier.

Roland explains the progress that has been made on kettle Cookbook since last PCG (and demo's it):
  • Nicer diagrams (thanks to Slawo), 
  • syntax highlighting, 
  • TOC, 
  • Incremental generation, 
  • Saxon configurable, 
  • xaction documentation and M
  • Mondrian schema documentation.
Especially mondrian schema documentation with an overview of (shared) dimensions and facts with a visualization of the star schema is looking very nice.

Ongoing work on Cookbook:
  • kettle repository support
  • KREX (Kettle repository export)
Ideas for the future:
  • Using the kettle auto documentation step?
  • Data lineage?
  • xaction flowcharts
  • prpt report documentation
  • diagrams for SQL queries

Pendular is Roland's latest hobby project. The idea behind Pendular is to provide a Pentaho interfaces that is better suited for mobile devices. Also here, we get a short demo. For those who are curious, here's a link to a YouTube video Matt made of Pendular when Roland release it.

And to end, Roland announces the crowd that he'll be joining the dark side soon. Another Pentaho rock-star joining Pentaho. But don't worry, not every one in the community will join Pentaho :-)

11h30 Gretchen Moran (presentation)
And while Roland is joining Pentaho, Gretchen announces PCG that she' is leaving Pentaho. She'll be working with OpenMRS in the future and she'll

OpenMRS was created as a response to HIV. There was limited infrastructure and what was in place was totally overloaded. While HIV can be treated, tracking treatments for millions of patient requires however a serious information management system. That's what OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System) was created for.

There's no "commercial side" to OpenMRS. OpenMRS have a great and large community. Gretchen has dived into that community in order to help them set up Pentaho BI with OpenMRS since they currently have no or very limited insight in their data. She has done a quick proof of concept for OpenMRS management who were extremely enthusiast.

So this presentation really is a call to the community to help set up a 100% open source BI implementation for OpenMRS, using Saiku, C*tools, and all other funky community resources.

11h45 Jos van Dongen & Aly Hollander (presentation)
And to continue in the medical field Jos and Aly present the Pentaho BI implementation at St. Antonius hospitals. St. Antonius have their home built system for the administration of the hospital. About 2 years back St. Antonius started deploying Pentaho BI on top of that system. Aly gives an overview of how their systems were developed and how the Pentaho BI project was run. Next Jos shows a great set of C*tools dashboards from the St Antonius implementation.

12h15 Luc and Julian (presentation)
Julian quickly explains how roles for Mondrian development are divided between himself and Luc. After that Luc gives an overview of all the Mondrian 3.3 features. All the new features are well documented in the presentation, so no need to fully replicate that here.

Julian quickly updates us on the following topics:

  • Hyde Son 2.0, some time off for the kids which allows Mondrian coding time
  • His new MacBook air and when he'll start wearing designer clothes
  • OLAP4J 1.0
  • Mondrian Enterprise Cache
  • Mondrian 4.0

Until now we've managed almost to stick to the talk schedule. Tom's presentation is the only one that will be shifted to the afternoon.

13h00 Lunch

The general idea behind having the lunch in the hotel of the venue was to save time. Julian finished around 13h30 and we still managed to squeeze in time for starters, primi, desert and coffee in slightly under an hour leaving more time for presentations.

14h30 Tom and Paul (presentation)
Paul shows off the Pentaho hosting environment that Meteorite is setting up. The original idea was to automate the set-up of a new Pentaho environment, but it grew into a full hosting offer. Through a simple web interface you can now generate your own Pentaho environment, choose what database you want underneath it, the hosting provider you want to run it with, etc.   The slides tell the story.

14:45 Pedro Pinhero
Pedro demo's CDF for mobile platforms. No need for words, as you can access the demo directly here:

15h10 Pedro Alves
Pedro gives an overview of the Firefox Telemetry project.

15h30 Matt Casters
Pentaho's Chief Data Integration is back onstage with an explanation on the Single Threader step.

15h40 Cees Vkemenade
Cees has worked with Jos on the St. Antonius Ziekenhuis project(s). When using CDF, they realized they needed a functionality to deploy changes to different environments.

15h50 Thomas Morgner (blog post)
Thomas shows how you can set up a light-weight report viewer (no GWT) as a follow up of a blog post he did a short time back. Given the enthusiast feedback he got on this post, he also goes for some discussion on how these ideas could evolve.

16h20 Bart Maertens
Bart gives us an update of his BIRT plugin for the Pentaho BI server. Even though obviously BIRT is similar to PRD, there are a few functionalities (as cross tab reports) which aren't available in PRD, that might make it interesting to use BIRT for reporting.

Bart quickly shows how the plugin should be installed/configured and then shows how that works and looks like in the BI server. For those interested, here's some blogposts bart did on the subject.
A BIRT reporting output step has been developed to. Bart based himself on the PRD Output Step in PDI. So it is now possible to set up a scheduling of BIRT reports through Pentaho Data Integration. The code for the step is already part of the kettle trunk.

16h30 Coffee break and group picture


Only coffee though:

17h00 Jens Bleuel (presentation)
This year Jens moved from Pentaho's professional services division to product management. Jens has been working over the last year on connecting PDI to his son's electric train. kettle controls the stops of the trains through a relay.

(also in high quality)

He has made some of the information from this project available on the kettle exchange site (and added full write up later during the year).

He also shared some ideas he is working on in PDI product management as:
  • lifecycle management
  • the heat maps
  • implement ID's for PDI steps 
  • best practices, concepts and solutions on Wiki

17h25 Paul (presentation)
Paul is back with an overview of Saiku. Since the PAT presentation of last year the team was extended. Paul and Tom are now assisted by 2 other guys. Paul demo's all the cool features of Saiku and gives an overview of the road map. All very well documented in the slides.

Some really exciting stuff is almost ready to put int Saiku 2.2
  • Graphs (through CCC)
  • Write-back (with different allocation policies)

No kidding! This one is absolutely mega!!!

... and what else will follow for 2.2 are security (working with roles) and using Saiku on mobile platforms.

Some stuff that's in the backlog:
  • C*tools integration
  • PRD export
  • Drill-down
  • Parameters

17h50 Marioz
Marioz is showing a light weight ad-hoc reporting tool which uses the Saiku interface to report on top of a meta-data layer in order to generate and execute queries. He also wants to merge PRPT functionality into this in order to leverage PRD's lay-outing possibilities.

18h00 Ricardo Pires (presentation)
Ricardo gives an overview of the Pentaho Fusion Charts Plugin XpandIT have developed (see also WebEx on this topic earlier this year). There have been a lot of downloads since it was released so it would seem there is a lot of interest for this type of charting in Pentaho.

And there is a small tutorial on YouTube.

18h10 Slawo Chodnicki
Slawo has been working on a Ruby scripting step for PDI that used JRuby. More information and the code are as always well clearly laid out on his blog.

18h40 Roland Bouman (presentation)
And to wrap up, Roland is giving a talk about data vault and anchor modeling.

And #PCM11 / #PCG11 is over 
... thanks for joining us!

September 20, 2011

Once twitten, twice shy

In the preparation for the Pentaho Community Meeting 2011 in Frascati, I suddenly recalled some events that occurred during the voting for the location.

One week before the closing of the votes, @magicaltrout fueled the discussion.

Luckily Twitter allowed me to go back in time to dig up some tweets from prominent members of the Pentaho Community. There seems to be a clear indication that members have been trying to "buy votes" in order to influence the location of the event. Below tweets clearly illustrate this.

Now, I don't believe there is any rule against such bribery as long as the bribes are being paid.

So, if I've been reading right, we should figure out when the community can cash in on the following:

  • beers from @josvandongen
  • wine from @mattcasters
  • grappa from @rolandbouwman
  • home brew liquor from @jan_aertsen
Being on the list, I suggest I'll bring my bottles on friday evening. I guess the Community will figure out a right place and time to consume! 

As for the others: your words have not been forgotten. Watch out what you tweet next time.