The Reporting Problem
bdrunrev at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 12:13:59 CDT 2009
I have to say I'm surprised by Andre's belief that XSLT is easy.
Certainly everything I've read about it (albeit read in a tangential
fashion) has led me to believe that it is extremely complex. That's
not to say that it's not the best way to manipulate XML (which begs
the question as to whether or not one should be using XML in the first
place if it's hard to manipulate).
>From your description it doesn't sound like your major concern is with
graphs/charts or even fonts and images. I had thought that might have
been where your concerns lay.
I absolutely think you should not be re-keying data. That is a crazy
idea (and one that has been crazy for about 25 years). I still don't
quite understand why you are re-keying the data. If it is so that it
can be presented to your clients in a spreadsheet so that they can
annotate/edit etc., even this spreadsheet data should just be
extracted from your files and then the spreadsheet launched with this
extraction in it. Or is that the spreadsheet contains formulae, and
you are re-keying the data to fit in with the layout of the
spreadsheet? My apologies if I'm sounding obtuse and there is an
obvious reason why this can't be done.
I'm really not a SQL bigot. Generally I avoid SQL and do as much as I
can with arrays. But I think it sounds ideal for your situation. Not
only will you be able to extract relevant datasets to use in your
periodic reporting, but the data will also be in a format where your
clients would be able to manipulate it even if you were not around to
do it. Of course, they would need to have someone who could
understand the data structure and write the SQL. SQL skills are still
far more widespread than are skills with either awk or XSLT or
Revolution. Furthermore, there are specific tools for reporting on
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