Controlling BIRT Chart Colors in Maximo

One of the efforts I'm making as we head into 20201 is data consistency. I started looking at some of our key reports and noticed that as our maturity evolved, our reports evolved as well, but sometimes in a disjointed way. We'd discover a new technique in BIRT or better define a business process, which could alter one of our reports. As these alterations of our reports occurred, the reports across our environment wouldn't have a consistent feel because some reports may have been untouched. 2

I'm working on an update to our reliability scorecard and I wanted to add some visual cues to what has been just a set of numerical charts for a long time. I got the data loaded for various views of our work orders onto 3 separate pie charts. The charts looked like this:

This was the correct visual representation of the data, but look at the charts closely... the colors change in each pic chart. That's not helpful when the goal was for a more consistent view.

Setting Chart Colors

I started digging through chart settings in BIRT and found nothing on how to set a chart color to the category value - e.g. worktype 'PM' will always be blue. I did some digging around and found a post similar to what I was looking for on the OpenText forums.

Hi, I'm using a multiple pie charts and the slices are colored based on what the value of the category series is. This is working as intended, but the question I have is can I specify the color based on the value of the category.

The steps to force a BIRT chart to specific colors turned out to be pretty simple. I identified the top 4-5 work order types I knew that would consistently show up in all the pie charts. The key to the process is creating a script to connect the Category values in the chart to a specific color palette.

Steps to Force Chart Colors

With the script created, I applied the script to each chart with the following steps:

  1. Create color palette for the Categories that will be shared across all the charts in BIRT. (Use the example script from above.)
  2. Open the BIRT report and select the chart you want to modify.
  3. With chart selected, click on the Script button in the BIRT editor.
  4. This will open the On Render function for the chart, which is also the only function available.
  5. Paste the categorization script you created.
  6. Go back to the Layout tab and repeat steps for other charts.
  7. Save the report file and preview the report.

With the updated rendering scripts, all of the primary categories are now the same color:

Data Consistency

Doing a side by side comparison of the same dataset shows how the controlled version has more consistency between the category sets.

The next step I could take would be to set a standard for all work types, so no matter what the dataset is I would have consistent coloring on all the charts.

  1. My company's fiscal year starts on 2019-11-01, so it's essentially 2020 for me already. 

  2. This is deeper than just colors and fonts.