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I think we should move some or all of this to a master glossary somewhere at the top level and include or link to it. It might be good to break the terms up into categories like products, Design Studio related, BI Server related etc...

The list here is not meant to be inclusive, just relevant to this document. The frivolous text at the top would make more sense in a top level glossary and may not be palatable by marketing but I like acknowledging the difficulty of naming and maybe getting some input from the community on where we can improve.


The Pentaho Project has many, many parts and can be used in a many different configurations.  A lot  of the names are similar or similar in meaning.  Terms like Reporting can mean different things depending on context.  For example: Pentaho Reporting is the name of the report server formerly known as jFreeReports.  There is a Reporting Pillar that represents all of the components, APIs and applications related to creating, deploying, executing and distributing reports.  You can design a Report using the Report Designer or Report Design Wizard and you can deploy a report using the Pentaho BI Server.  There will soon be a Web Based Query and Reporting module.  To confuse things a little further, you can deploy BIRT and JasperReports reports via the server too.  Then, for our international friends... all those names need to be translated.

Naming is never easy, and unfortunately, bad names are often hard to retire.  With all that said, this section will define some of the most important names that will be used throughout this document and hopefully will not conflict with other documents.

Common Terms Used Within Pentaho

Pentaho BI Platform Project

The open source project focused on delivery of platform infrastructure services, that also provides integration of Pentaho's end user and data integration capabilities.  The Pentaho BI Platform project includes capabilities like security, integration, APIs, scheduling, and workflow.

Pentaho BI Pillar

Also referred to as a Pentaho module A grouping of products related by functionality. The 6 Pillars of the Pentaho BI Project are: Reporting, Analysis, Dashboards, Data Mining, Data Integration and BI Platform.

Pentaho BI Platform

The applications, APIs and components that support Pentaho's end-user reporting, analysis, and dashboard capabilities with back-end security, integration, scheduling, and workflow capabilities.

Pentaho Open BI Suite

This is the all-inclusive, external name for Pentaho's open source capabilities, including Reporting, Analysis, Dashboards, Data Mining, Data Integration, and a BI Platform.

Pre-Configured Install (PCI)

It is a Pentaho BI Platform deployed into a pre-installed and configured JBoss Application Server. In addition, it contains ready to use solution repositories including sets of reports demonstrating functionality and is meant to be a quick start demo.

Pentaho BI Server

This is the J2EE application that runs within a host application server and services user requests. The term is used to refer to the server portion of the platform without regard to how or where it is deployed.


XML Metadata Interchange: The XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) is an OMG standard for exchanging metadata information via Extensible Markup Language (XML).


"Pro" is a legacy term that used to describe closed-source capabilities that were only available to paying customers.  When referencing a software build, Pentaho now uses the term "Subscription Edition" to describe the build.  And the additional closed-source features included in that build are now known as Pentaho Management Services.

Design Studio

A stand alone application that hosts a set of Pentaho plug-ins used for creating, testing and administering content for the Pentaho Project. It is an Eclipse workbench, pre-configured and customized for Pentaho. Currently there is only one plug-in; the Action Sequence Editor. In many cases people use the Design Studio to refer to the this plug-in. Future releases will provide more plug-ins and more capabilities. The goal is to have it be the client UI for as much of the administration and content creation as possible. This is considered to be an Administrator, Developer or Content Creator tool. Not a typical end user tool.

Action Sequence Editor

The Eclipse Plug-in that allows people to generate Action Sequences (a script that run within the Pentaho BI Platform.)


Pronounced "wacker". Web Ad hoc Query and Reporting. This tool is now called Adhoc Reporting


a.k.a. The PME, the Pentaho Metadata Editor


Scientific Wild Assed Guess


Common Warehouse Metamodel

BI Platform Specific Terms


A solution consists of a collection of documents (files) that collectively define the processes and activities that are the system's part in implementing a solution to a business problem. These documents include Action Sequences, workflow process definitions, report definitions, images, rules, queries etc. A solution is represented in the file system as a top level folder in the Solution Repository.

Solutions Folder

Refers to the top level folder containing all of the solutions available to the BI Server. In the DB Based Repository, this is the top level of the solution hierarchy

Solution Repository

The location where solutions and the metadata they rely on is stored and maintained. Requests made to the platform to have actions executed rely on the action being defined in the Solution Repository. There are two implementations of the solution repository - The file-based solution repository and the DB based solution repository

Solution Engine

The software that retrieves the definition of an action from the Solution Repository and directs its execution.


The component layer is an API that provides a standard interface between the solution engine and the application that executes business logic. A component may contain all of the code required to perform a task or may just be an interface to another application or system. Data and instructions to the component are provided via an Action Definition.

Action Definition

An XML definition specifying the parameters, resources and settings required for the execution of a task within a single component. The Action Definition defines which component to call, what data to pass into and receive from the component and any component specific information required. An action definition is not a stand alone document; it is a part of an Action Sequence.

Action Sequence

An XML document that defines the interaction between one or more Action Definitions. It defines the smallest complete task that the Solution Engine can perform. When the Solution Engine is told to execute - it is given an Action Sequence document to execute. The execution of the Action Sequence can be completed autonomously or may execute as part of another Action Sequence. Action Sequence Definitions are stored in the Solution Repository.

Runtime Context

Action Sequences are transformed from XML by the solution engine into objects that are interpreted by the Runtime Context. The Runtime Context maintains a contract between the Solution Engine and the Action Sequence and enforces a contract between the Action Sequence and the components.


Pentaho MetaData


Pentaho Metadata Editor


Web Ad hoc Query and Reporting


MetaData Query Language


MetaData Repository

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  1. user-d5b81

    Hi Doug,

    Is it okay to have a semi or full translation of your Pentaho solution wiki articles to Indonesian language ?

    I'm a Pentaho SI partner in Indonesia and currently maintained Indonesian Pentaho user group and my own Pentaho wiki at