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Repost: Desperately seeking for the perfect reporting tool


From: Henning von Bargen
Subject: Repost: Desperately seeking for the perfect reporting tool
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 09:37:41 +0100

> -----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
> Von:  Ian McGowan [SMTP:address@hidden
> Gesendet am:  Freitag, 14. Dezember 2001 01:01
> An:   'address@hidden'
> Betreff:      lout
> 
> henning,
> 
> did you get any responses to your post on fa.lout?  i too have been 
> researching alternatives for reporting from an oracle database.
> we currently use crystal, which is lousy for both a) and b) in your
> example.
> 
> i was researching gurgle:
> 
> http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/timc/gurgle/gurgle.html
> 
> but it doesn't seem to be easy to provide database support for
> oracle.
> 
> if you came up with a good package, i'd love to hear about it!

Sorry, no answers until now.
It dawns to me that what I want is impossible with lout.
I tried looking at the LaTeX packages for long tables, too,
but it seems far too complicated for a normal LaTeX user
to implement what I want with LaTex.

Until now, I didn't find _any_ tool that solves my reporting problems.
Funny somehow - in the 21st century!

Hey, all you lout and LaTeX gurus, can you help Ian and me?
(I attached my original message below)
Thx
Henning
---------------------------
Subject: Desperately seeking for the perfect reporting tool
I'm a beginner with Lout. I know LaTeX and Lyx (wrote my math diploma using
it).

I have the following reporting scenario:
I want to generate relatively simple ASCII output (LaTex, XML, XHTML, or
Lout)
in an Oracle Database.
I want to give the end-user 2 abilities that seem to be impossible at the
same time with the tools I used before: 

(A) high quality output
(B) the option to change the output in a simple manner.

I was looking for a solution when I found Lout.
It seems that Lout is a 99% solution for (A) and quite usable
(say, 70%) for B.

LaTex also provides a 100% solution for (A),
but is only a 50% solution for (B) _on_Windows_.

>>>  Now I think Lout is only a 80% solution for (A)
>>> and LaTeX _could_be_ a 100% solution, but is only
>>> a 80% solution because there exists no package that fits my needs.

Until now, we are using Oracle Reports.
This is a 95% solution for (A), but a 5% solution for (B) only.
I guesss the same is true for Crystal reports and other commercial
reporting tools.

This is why I'm desparately seeking for a better solution, be it 
commercial or freeware.

Now, to be more concrete on (A) and (B):

(A)
I want to be able to create
PostScript, PDF and TIFF Output and (if possible) RTF and HTML export
(with the natural restrictions of these formats)
including:

(i)
n-level tables where column headers can be magically repeated 
on the following pages
like this:
=================================
Continent | State    | City
_________________________________
Europe    | France   | Paris
          |          | Marseille
          | Italy    | Milano
          |          | Roma
          |          | Napoli
          | Germany  | Hamburg
          |          | Frankfurt
==========================<EOP>==
Continent | State    | City
_________________________________
Europe    | Germany  | M√ľnchen
          |          | Berlin
...

(ii) 
images from external files
and (if possible) figures like charts.

(iii)
Configurable, but out-of-the-box usable
page breaking mechanism.
I like the idea of LaTex to give penalty points
to a break.
This seems to be better than strict
"keep on one page".

(iv)
good justification (block, center, ...)
horizontal and (if possible) vertical.

(v) support for widow-control
Don't know the English word exactly,
german word are: "Schusterjungen" und "Hurenkinder".
This corresponds with (i) and (iii).

(vi) colours

(vii) support for displaying all European language characters.

(B)
(i) it must be editable under Win32.

(ii) The optimum solution would be if a user could a WYSIWY[G|M] editor
like LyX. I like LyX very much, but I need a reasonable solution
running on Win32. LyX needs an X server for that. 
Our customers wouldn't want us to install that
(and we wouldn't like it, either)
Why not a native Win32 GUI?

(iii) The user must be able to add or remove lines to a table.
   This is why editing the resulting PDF with Acrobat does not work, for
example.

(iv) The user must be able to change cell values in a table.

(v) The user must be able to add a few lines of text,
    like an introduction, a comment or resumee
    with basic formatting like bold, italics, header lines.

(iv) Since there seems to be no tools yet that satisfy (i) and (ii),
    there should at least be an editor with syntax-highlighting,
    and integration of the compiler in order to fix any compilation errors.
    TextPad, WinEdt or UltraEdit or EMacs can do this.

Henning


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