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Eclipse has a plug-in based architecture which means that almost all of its functionality comes from the contributions of independent modules (plug-ins).  By selectively installing specific plug-ins, the Eclipse platform can be completely customized and have as much or as little functionality as desired.  Since the Pentaho Design Studio components are distributed as individual Eclipse plug-ins, there are two ways to get started depending on what kind of user you are.  If you're already an Eclipse user, and have version 3.1 or better installed you can simply download the Pentaho plug-ins and install them in your platform. If you are a Windows user and are new to Eclipse or just don't want to mix Pentaho plug-ins with your currently installed plug-ins, the Design Studio is for you. The Pentaho Design Studio bundles the Eclipse platform and Pentaho plug-ins together into a single distribution.

Installing the Full Design Studio

Java JRE

The Design Studio does not include a Java runtime environment (JRE). You will need a 1.5.0 level or higher Java runtime or Java development kit (also known as J2SE 5.0) installed on your machine in order to run the Design Studio. If you have the Pentaho BI Platform Pre-Configured Install (sometimes called the Pentaho Demo) installed on your machine then you already have a usable JRE.

To use the JRE that comes with the Pentaho Pre-Configured Install:
Add the "JRE/bin" directory to your path: pentaho-demo/jre/bin

You can also download a free JRE from Sun Microsystems. The Java™ 2 SDK, Standard Edition Version 1.5.0 can be found on the Sun Microsystems download site. Once you have a JRE installed make sure that the jre/bin directory is in your path.

Design Studio

A zip file containing the Pentaho Design Studio for various platforms is available from the Sourceforge website. The full design studio download contains Eclipse 3.2 bundled with the all the Pentaho plug-ins needed to run both the action sequence editor as well as the Report Design Wizard. Download the pds-ce* file, and unzip the file to your location of choice, it will create a directory named "pentaho-design-studio" and extract all its files there.  No other setup is required.  To run the platform, execute PentahoDesignStudio.exe or

Installing the Plug-ins

A zip file containing the Pentaho Action Sequence Editor plug-in for Eclipse 3.2 on all the platforms is available for download from the Pentaho Clients download site. Download the and unzip the file into the top level of your Eclipse installation. The zip will extract the files into your Eclipse plugins directory. There will already be many plugins in that directory, both as JAR files and subdirectories. You'll also need the core, and the reports wizard org.pentaho.designstudio.editors.reportwizard_X.X.X.XXX.0   There is no Eclipse Update Manager method to install this plug-in as yet.

Now restart Eclipse and you're ready to go. There should be a Pentaho icon on the toolbar and a menu item BI Platform.

Installing the PDF Browser Plug-in (For Linux Users)

If you have problems viewing PDF files from within the embedded browser used on the Test tab of the Action Sequence Editor, try installing the Adobe Reader® browser plug-in. After installing the reader, run the plug-in installer located inside the browser subdirectory of your reader installation.

Creating A Solution Project

At this point, you have either installed the standalone Design Studio or installed the Design Studio plug-in into Eclipse. If you have already done so, you should also install and run the Pentaho BI Server and test the samples in bi-developers/getting-started to insure your BI Server is functional. Also try one or two reports in steel-wheels/reports within your environment and with your browser. For more information about installing and configuring the Pentaho BI Server refer to   Getting Started with the BI Platform

Tech Tip

The Design Studio is file-system based.  All of the content that is being edited exists on or is available via the local machines file-system.  This could include shared folders, nfs mounts, etc.  This is why we recommend, for following this guide, having both the BI Server and Design Studio running on the same computer.

If you haven't done so already, start the Design Studio. If the welcome screen appears, close it by clicking on the X next to Welcome.

  • Select File->New->Project.
  • Choose General->Project from the New Project wizard
    • If you are using Eclipse prior to 3.2, select Simple project.
  • Press the Next> button.
  • Enter Pentaho Solutions as the project name. Although any name is fine, this document will refer to Pentaho Solutions
  • Uncheck the Use default check box
  • Browse to the pentaho-solutions directory. This will be {INSTALL_DIR}/biserver-ce/pentaho-solutions.
  • Select Finish.

You are now have a Design Studio project that is set up to edit and test your samples solution.

Browsing the Solution Repository

You should now see your Pentaho Solutions project displayed in the tree on the left side of the Design Studio. If you expand the solution folder you'll see plenty of files. These are the files that make up your solution and are managed within the Design Studio. Let's take a look at one to get a feel of what the Design Studio can do for us. Go ahead and in the left hand tree, open the Pentaho Solutions/bi-developers/getting-started folder. Double-click on the HelloWorld.xaction file and the Action Sequence editor will open in the edit pane.

Verify that you can test from within the Design Studio

The Test tab at the bottom of the Design Studio is used for generating and testing Action Sequences. At this point, don't worry about what an Action Sequence means, it will be explained later. Make sure you're looking at the HelloWorld.xaction from the last section then click the test tab. Now let's test out the action sequence.

Tech Tip

Currently, the Design Studio uses the Pentaho BI Server to execute Action Sequences. When pressing the Run button, the Design Studio submits an HTTP request to the server and displays the result in the built in browser. The built in browser is usually the default browser on your computer.

This is exactly the same as if you used your browser to navigate the PCI samples and clicked on that Action Sequence. It is why you are prompted to save changes to your Action Sequence when going to the test tab. And, it is why you see a URL next to the Run button. If prompted for a user id and password, use the credentials for your BI Server.

Now let's change the message displayed by this action sequence and test our change to make sure that it works.

  • Select the Define Process tab.
  • Select Hello World in the Process Actions box.
  • Change the text %quote in the Message text box to something else like - I did it!.
  • Return to the Test tab. Select Yes to save if prompted to save.
  • If you are using the DB-based solution repository...
    • The DB-based solution repository doesn't run action sequences from the file system, but instead runs them from the BI Server repository. You will need to tell the server to refresh the database from the file-system.
    • Navigate to the Admin page of your Pentaho BI Server using your browser.
    • Select the Update Solution Repository icon.
    • Select Yes when prompted Are you sure you want to do this?
  • Select Run.

You should now see the new message - Hello World - I did it!.

Tech Tip

The original message reads %quote. This notation is used to internationalize action sequences. You can create files in the same directory as the action sequence we're currently modifying (the xx being two-letter language abbreviations). Each file should contain the strings used by this action sequence, translated into the appropriate language. Once created, within the Design Studio you can double click the file and find the string assigned to quote and change it to read I did it!. For any strings starting with %, the server will first look for a local properties file, walk the path back to the top of the solution tree looking for the correct .properties file, and finally, use the text it as is.

If you successfully changed and tested Hello World; congratulations, you are ready to move on. (smile)

I had issues (sad)

Sorry you are having trouble. The most likely problem is that the Design Studio and BI Server are not pointing to the same location for the solution.


  • Add additional troubleshooting steps
  • Write a set of the steps for each bullet item below
  • Use the browser to navigate the solution directly to see if it is a caching issue.
  • Verify that the folder path in the web.xml matches the solution directory and the Design Studio project directory
  • Open the Action Sequence in a text editor make sure change happened
  • Others?


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  1. user-de61d

    the attached picture 

  2. user-def43

    On a Linux box you need Firefox 2 for the Test tab to work. If you have v.3 just do:

    $ sudo apt-get install firefox-2

    This does NOT break an existing (default) Firefox 3 installation used for regular browsing (source:

  3. user-3674b

    I'm a newbie. When I tried modifying the HelloWorld.xaction with 2.0.0 release, I encountered a couple of difficulties:

    • I thought I was using the "file-based repository", but I still found it necessary to log into the admin console at http://localhost:8099, select Administration >> Services >> Solution Repository >> Refresh. Once I figured this out, changing that xaction file to "I did it" actually worked.
    • That %quote thing really bothered me. There was no in the Pentaho Solutions so it never put anything there. If you want to use that %quote function and there is no such file, just create it in the same folder with the line:

    quote=Greetings from the Pentaho BI Platform!

    This will cause it to pull that quote into the page.

    Great BI platform, just trying to help out other new users...

  4. user-24e81

    The Report Design Wizard is deprecated in all forms – Eclipse plugin and standalone app – and has been merged with Report Designer. There are huge changes coming in the next version of the Pentaho BI Suite that restructure how reports are generated, published, and rendered, so it wouldn't make sense to get involved with the deprecated RDW at this time.

    This page is badly in need of an update. Rather than work on that right now, I'm concentrating on writing a comprehensive action sequence guide with a full component reference and example code. It should be done and published within the next few weeks, at which time it will replace all of these old Design Studio pages.

    Until then, if you are only interested in creating reports, I suggest using Report Designer. Creating reports with action sequences is doing it the hard way.

  5. user-d6a4a

    The download link for the Pentaho Action Sequence Editor plugin is broken: