Looking for thoughts and opinions on Ruport, and reporting in Ruby in general.

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Hi Folks,

    I announced Ruport 1.0 RC1 a few days ago, and a few folks here on
    RubyTalk were really helpful about pointing out some issues.

    Since we've only got a few weeks left before our scheduled 'real'
    release of 1.0, I'd like to get a bit of the RubyTalk effect on a few
    questions. I'll try to keep my pandering down to release
    announcements and this thread, but I really value the input from this
    list, which is why I'm asking. :)

    Feel free to answer whatever questions you want from the below, I'm
    also more than happy to just start a general discussion here about the
    topic of writing reporting software in Ruby, as I think it's *still* a
    hard domain to tackle...

    questions follow:

    1. If you've used Ruport before, what version(s), and what was your
    experience with the software (good or bad).

    2. If you've not used Ruport before, but know about it and have a
    reason for not using it, what is that reason?

    3. If you didn't know about it before, but have reporting needs, what
    are those needs?
    (I can help tell you if Ruport is a good fit)

    4. If you're a regular user, what have been the biggest pain points
    for you working with our software? What about the best stuff?

    5. If you're not a user yet, what can we do to get you interested?
    (Besides turn it into a video game or pay you in large bags of money.
    :) )

    6. Anything on your wishlist for reporting related Ruby stuff?

    7. Last year we did something called RuportDay, which is like
    RailsDay but with smaller prizes and less fun. :) It was actually a
    pretty interesting and productive day where devs and contributors and
    users could get together and hack / chat. We also did offer some
    small cash prizes. If we were able to organize this again this year,
    sometime shortly before or after 1.0, would you be interested in
    participating?

    8. From a community-involvement perspective, any criticisms or praises
    regarding Ruport?
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #1
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  2. Gregory Brown

    Lyle Johnson Guest

    On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:

    > 5. If you're not a user yet, what can we do to get you interested?


    OK, I'll bite. ;)

    Ruport is one of those projects that I've had on my list to look at
    one of these days. I don't think I have an immediate need for it, but
    it sounded like the kind of thing that I might need some day.

    So I just went to what I assume is the Ruport home page
    (http://ruport.rubyforge.org/, which redirects to
    http://stonecode.svnrepository.com/ruport/trac.cgi). Since I don't
    have any experience with Ruport, or with reporting toolsets in
    general, I immediately started looking for a tutorial or something to
    give me an idea of what this really is -- a sort of "Hello, World!"
    for Ruport.

    I clicked through the "Tutorials, Examples and Articles" link, and see
    tutorials for "ActsAsReportable" (which sounds Rails-oriented), a
    "Rope Cheatsheet" (and I don't yet know what Rope is) and a "Recipe
    Book". None of those sounded like what I'm looking for. I started
    going through the presentation slides found elsewhere on the page, and
    finally in the middle of the second presentation, I saw my first (and
    only) screenshots of Ruport-generated reports (yay!). But I guess what
    I would love to see on that page (or elsewhere) is a really basic,
    "Ruport in 10 minutes" kind of tutorial, with even a trivial data set,
    that walks you through the process of generating a report.
     
    Lyle Johnson, Apr 27, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. On 4/27/07, Lyle Johnson <> wrote:
    > On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:


    > So I just went to what I assume is the Ruport home page
    > (http://ruport.rubyforge.org/, which redirects to
    > http://stonecode.svnrepository.com/ruport/trac.cgi). Since I don't
    > have any experience with Ruport, or with reporting toolsets in
    > general, I immediately started looking for a tutorial or something to
    > give me an idea of what this really is -- a sort of "Hello, World!"
    > for Ruport.
    >
    > I clicked through the "Tutorials, Examples and Articles" link, and see
    > tutorials for "ActsAsReportable" (which sounds Rails-oriented), a
    > "Rope Cheatsheet" (and I don't yet know what Rope is) and a "Recipe
    > Book". None of those sounded like what I'm looking for. I started
    > going through the presentation slides found elsewhere on the page, and
    > finally in the middle of the second presentation, I saw my first (and
    > only) screenshots of Ruport-generated reports (yay!). But I guess what
    > I would love to see on that page (or elsewhere) is a really basic,
    > "Ruport in 10 minutes" kind of tutorial, with even a trivial data set,
    > that walks you through the process of generating a report.


    I have an example from yesterday I could probably expand a bit and add
    commentary to, but you're absolutely right, we need a quick tutorial.

    http://pastie.caboo.se/56959

    The trouble was the API was forever changing. That's stabilized now.
    Lets see if I can get us a Ruport in 10 minutes tutorial before RC2.
    :)

    Thanks Lyle!
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #3
  4. Gregory Brown

    Jamey Cribbs Guest

    Re: Looking for thoughts and opinions on Ruport, and reportingin Ruby in general.

    Lyle Johnson wrote:
    > On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:
    >
    >> 5. If you're not a user yet, what can we do to get you interested?

    >
    > OK, I'll bite. ;)
    >
    > Ruport is one of those projects that I've had on my list to look at
    > one of these days. I don't think I have an immediate need for it, but
    > it sounded like the kind of thing that I might need some day.
    >
    > So I just went to what I assume is the Ruport home page
    > (http://ruport.rubyforge.org/, which redirects to
    > http://stonecode.svnrepository.com/ruport/trac.cgi). Since I don't
    > have any experience with Ruport, or with reporting toolsets in
    > general, I immediately started looking for a tutorial or something to
    > give me an idea of what this really is -- a sort of "Hello, World!"
    > for Ruport.
    >
    > I clicked through the "Tutorials, Examples and Articles" link, and see
    > tutorials for "ActsAsReportable" (which sounds Rails-oriented), a
    > "Rope Cheatsheet" (and I don't yet know what Rope is) and a "Recipe
    > Book". None of those sounded like what I'm looking for. I started
    > going through the presentation slides found elsewhere on the page, and
    > finally in the middle of the second presentation, I saw my first (and
    > only) screenshots of Ruport-generated reports (yay!). But I guess what
    > I would love to see on that page (or elsewhere) is a really basic,
    > "Ruport in 10 minutes" kind of tutorial, with even a trivial data set,
    > that walks you through the process of generating a report.
    >
    >


    Damn! I take off my tinfoil hat for one minute, and Lyle ends up
    reading my mind again!

    I was going to post something along the same lines, but Lyle put it much
    more elegantly than I would have.

    I've been meaning to check out Ruport for ages, so, prompted by
    Gregory's request, I pulled up the webpage, and ran into the same issue
    as Lyle did.

    One area where I have thought of using Ruport is in a Rails app for my
    company that tracks all of our server info. I have a "Reports" page in
    that app that allows the users to run various canned and ad-hoc reports
    against the database. What I have done up to now is to provide the
    query result set as a csv file that they can open in Excel.

    I keep waiting for someone to tell me they need their report to be
    formatted in a certain way, but, so far, everyone has been happy with
    csv files.

    If there was an in-depth tutorial showing how to use Ruport in Rails
    from start to finish (i.e. query to output) that would be awesome.

    I in no way want to imply anything negative about Ruport. I appreciate
    Gregory's hard work on this project, not to mention his endurance.
    Also, I respect the fact that every post I have ever read of Gregory's
    has been very polite and respectful of our community. I have also
    noticed that he goes out of his way to answer many newbie Ruby/Rails
    questions that have nothing to do with Ruport.

    HTH,

    Jamey
     
    Jamey Cribbs, Apr 27, 2007
    #4
  5. On 4/27/07, Jamey Cribbs <> wrote:

    > I've been meaning to check out Ruport for ages, so, prompted by
    > Gregory's request, I pulled up the webpage, and ran into the same issue
    > as Lyle did.


    The webpage is worse-off-then-ever. We deleted everything that isn't
    directly relevant to the latest released code over last weekend.
    We're in the progress of putting this all back together, just as soon
    as the API is redocumented, which is what I'll be spending my day on
    today.

    > One area where I have thought of using Ruport is in a Rails app for my
    > company that tracks all of our server info. I have a "Reports" page in
    > that app that allows the users to run various canned and ad-hoc reports
    > against the database. What I have done up to now is to provide the
    > query result set as a csv file that they can open in Excel.
    >
    > I keep waiting for someone to tell me they need their report to be
    > formatted in a certain way, but, so far, everyone has been happy with
    > csv files.


    This does often seem to be the case. Usually when that fails, I
    change one word in my Ruport code to switch to HTML. If that doesn't
    work, I switch to PDF but then I don't have CSS so I need to roll up
    my sleeves a bit. (Getting Much Better though!)

    > If there was an in-depth tutorial showing how to use Ruport in Rails
    > from start to finish (i.e. query to output) that would be awesome.


    I have a bunch of acts_as_reportable code starting to accumulate. The
    trouble here is that I don't really do any Rails at all, just a fair
    bit of camping and standalone ActiveRecord. Mike Milner, our other
    lead dev, is a Rails programmer but hasn't quite dug deep into
    integrating Ruport into his app yet.

    Would camping examples be helpful to Rails users? I imagine they
    wouldn't be terribly hard to port over, as the Ruport code and the
    ActiveRecord code and anything hinging on ActiveSupport would be the
    same. If that's the case, I'll try to get some stuff out there.

    > I in no way want to imply anything negative about Ruport. I appreciate
    > Gregory's hard work on this project, not to mention his endurance.
    > Also, I respect the fact that every post I have ever read of Gregory's
    > has been very polite and respectful of our community. I have also
    > noticed that he goes out of his way to answer many newbie Ruby/Rails
    > questions that have nothing to do with Ruport.


    Thank you for the kind words. We've had a lot of help, especially
    from the other devs on the project, and recently very much from Mike.
    However, it is a long, hard, project, so I really appreciate the
    compliments.

    As far as endurance goes.... we see a light at the end of the tunnel,
    just hoping it's not a train. :)

    warm regards,
    -greg
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #5
  6. On 4/27/07, John Joyce <> wrote:
    >
    > On Apr 27, 2007, at 10:59 PM, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > > > This does often seem to be the case. Usually when that fails, I

    > > change one word in my Ruport code to switch to HTML. If that doesn't
    > > work, I switch to PDF but then I don't have CSS so I need to roll up
    > > my sleeves a bit. (Getting Much Better though!)

    >
    > What do you mean by "... I don't have CSS..."??


    Well the easiest way for me to make a formatted report from Ruport if
    I get a 'But can I make that blue' comment is output vanilla HTML and
    then tweak the CSS to do the formatting.

    However, if we need printable reports, I need to move to PDF stuff.
    Ruport's support has gotten a lot better, we have a ton of helper
    functions that provide in some cases simplified interfaces and in
    other cases just delegators to PDF::Writer.

    So we have methods like these:

    * @add_text@ - adds text to your output
    * @center_image_in_box@ - takes a path to an image file and centers it
    within boundaries you specify
    * @rounded_text_box@ - draw text surrounded by a rounded-corner box
    * @watermark@ - places a centered watermark on each page of your report
    * @move_cursor@ - moves cursor specified number of units along the y-axis
    * @move_cursor_to@ - moves cursor to a specified location on the y-axis
    * @pad@ - adds a specified amount of space above and below some output
    * @pad_top@ - adds a specified amount of space above some output
    * @pad_bottom@ - adds a specified amount of space below some output
    * @draw_table@ - uses PDF::SimpleTable to draw a table to output
    * @horizontal_line@ - draw a horizontal line
    * @vertical_line@ - draw a vertical line
    * @left_boundary@ - get the left boundary of the page
    * @right_boundary@ - get the right boundary of the page
    * @top_boundary@ - get the top boundary of the page
    * @bottom_boundary@ - get the bottom boundary of the page
    * @cursor@ - get the current location of the cursor on the y-axis
    * @draw_text@ - places text at a specified position on the page

    And it's up to us to make it look pretty. Compare these two
    formatters, to see what I mean:
    http://pastie.caboo.se/57062
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #6
  7. Gregory Brown

    John Joyce Guest

    On Apr 27, 2007, at 11:30 PM, Gregory Brown wrote:

    > On 4/27/07, John Joyce <> wrote:
    >>
    >> On Apr 27, 2007, at 10:59 PM, Gregory Brown wrote:
    >> > > This does often seem to be the case. Usually when that fails, I
    >> > change one word in my Ruport code to switch to HTML. If that

    >> doesn't
    >> > work, I switch to PDF but then I don't have CSS so I need to

    >> roll up
    >> > my sleeves a bit. (Getting Much Better though!)

    >>
    >> What do you mean by "... I don't have CSS..."??

    >
    > Well the easiest way for me to make a formatted report from Ruport if
    > I get a 'But can I make that blue' comment is output vanilla HTML and
    > then tweak the CSS to do the formatting.
    >
    > However, if we need printable reports, I need to move to PDF stuff.
    > Ruport's support has gotten a lot better, we have a ton of helper
    > functions that provide in some cases simplified interfaces and in
    > other cases just delegators to PDF::Writer.
    >
    > So we have methods like these:
    >
    > * @add_text@ - adds text to your output
    > * @center_image_in_box@ - takes a path to an image file and centers it
    > within boundaries you specify
    > * @rounded_text_box@ - draw text surrounded by a rounded-corner box
    > * @watermark@ - places a centered watermark on each page of your
    > report
    > * @move_cursor@ - moves cursor specified number of units along the
    > y-axis
    > * @move_cursor_to@ - moves cursor to a specified location on the y-
    > axis
    > * @pad@ - adds a specified amount of space above and below some output
    > * @pad_top@ - adds a specified amount of space above some output
    > * @pad_bottom@ - adds a specified amount of space below some output
    > * @draw_table@ - uses PDF::SimpleTable to draw a table to output
    > * @horizontal_line@ - draw a horizontal line
    > * @vertical_line@ - draw a vertical line
    > * @left_boundary@ - get the left boundary of the page
    > * @right_boundary@ - get the right boundary of the page
    > * @top_boundary@ - get the top boundary of the page
    > * @bottom_boundary@ - get the bottom boundary of the page
    > * @cursor@ - get the current location of the cursor on the y-axis
    > * @draw_text@ - places text at a specified position on the page
    >
    > And it's up to us to make it look pretty. Compare these two
    > formatters, to see what I mean:
    > http://pastie.caboo.se/57062
    >

    I got it. You mean you don't have CSS available to you for PDF files?
    Interesting. On OS X it is a built in facility to print to PDF.
    CSS does itself present some formatting options for printing but
    they're not well implemented everywhere. The scaling options should
    be sufficient to generate nicely printable documents generally. I'm
    sure you know that though. but ... When a boss asks for a pdf they
    want a pdf.
     
    John Joyce, Apr 27, 2007
    #7
  8. Gregory Brown

    Lyle Johnson Guest

    On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:

    > I have an example from yesterday I could probably expand a bit and add
    > commentary to, but you're absolutely right, we need a quick tutorial.


    Yes, that example looks like just about the right level of detail for
    a quickstart tutorial. One thing I'd add (if it's straightforward to
    do so) is a demonstration of how to produce a nice HTML or PDF report
    in addition to the plain-text report.

    With regards to Jamey's comments: I hope my previous message didn't
    come across as hostile or overly negative. I know you and the other
    Ruport developers have put a lot of work into this, and now that I
    know a little more about what Ruport can do, I'm already thinking
    about ways we might be able to use it here at work. I think that by
    adding just a little more newbie-oriented information on the home page
    -- whether it's tutorials, images of sample reports, etc. -- you're
    going to be able to hook a lot more people like me who were in the
    dark about Ruport.
     
    Lyle Johnson, Apr 27, 2007
    #8
  9. On 4/27/07, John Joyce <> wrote:

    > I got it. You mean you don't have CSS available to you for PDF files?


    Correct. As far as I know there is no formattting facility for PDF
    that reeks of cool, much less something standardized

    > Interesting. On OS X it is a built in facility to print to PDF.
    > CSS does itself present some formatting options for printing but
    > they're not well implemented everywhere. The scaling options should
    > be sufficient to generate nicely printable documents generally. I'm
    > sure you know that though. but ... When a boss asks for a pdf they
    > want a pdf.


    Right, we need to generate PDFs and email them as part of reports
    that run in the middle of the night....

    Doing html -> pdf is sometimes, but not always, a good solution.
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #9
  10. On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:

    > I have an example from yesterday I could probably expand a bit and add
    > commentary to, but you're absolutely right, we need a quick tutorial.
    >
    > http://pastie.caboo.se/56959


    I actually just found a way to make that a whole lot shorter. (With
    the help of JEG2)

    He wrote the FCSV equivalent:
    http://pastie.textmate.org/57068

    And then I used Ruport's slip-cover over FCSV to get the float
    converters, and also used the lambda hash trick he did to get this:
    http://pastie.caboo.se/57075

    It's going to depend on the job though. For straight CSV stuff, I
    still use FCSV for its speed and simplicity... for more advanced
    stuff, I use Ruport, often the more complicated stuff even.

    I wrote a very weird post on the Ruport blog about this a while ago.
    MVC with FCSV.
    It's here if anyone is interested. (Happy to get feedback, too)

    http://blog.rubyreports.org/archives/41
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #10
  11. On 4/27/07, Lyle Johnson <> wrote:
    > On 4/27/07, Gregory Brown <> wrote:
    >
    > > I have an example from yesterday I could probably expand a bit and add
    > > commentary to, but you're absolutely right, we need a quick tutorial.

    >
    > Yes, that example looks like just about the right level of detail for
    > a quickstart tutorial. One thing I'd add (if it's straightforward to
    > do so) is a demonstration of how to produce a nice HTML or PDF report
    > in addition to the plain-text report.


    a.to_html
    a.to_pdf
    a.to_csv

    :)

    I will probably show how to make custom output for those though, as
    you're just going to get tables for each of them, which isn't so
    exciting.

    > With regards to Jamey's comments: I hope my previous message didn't
    > come across as hostile or overly negative.


    I didn't take it that way. Your points were spot on. It's a common
    concern, but by reminding us, it'll force us to think about getting it
    done.

    > I know you and the other
    > Ruport developers have put a lot of work into this, and now that I
    > know a little more about what Ruport can do, I'm already thinking
    > about ways we might be able to use it here at work.


    That's awesome! We tend to be isolationist (well not really), so if
    you don't hear much from us on RubyTalk, definitely drop by the list
    (http://list.rubyreports.org) or #ruport on Freenode if you start
    using it.

    > I think that by
    > adding just a little more newbie-oriented information on the home page
    > -- whether it's tutorials, images of sample reports, etc. -- you're
    > going to be able to hook a lot more people like me who were in the
    > dark about Ruport.


    We were very afraid to do this when everything was changing so fast.
    Now that things are getting a bit more polished, I think we'll be able
    to fill in that gap and hopefully help some folks.
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #11
  12. Gregory Brown

    John Joyce Guest

    >
    > Right, we need to generate PDFs and email them as part of reports
    > that run in the middle of the night....
    >
    > Doing html -> pdf is sometimes, but not always, a good solution.
    >

    Oh I hear you, especially for things to be printed overly pretty-
    like, it sucks up a lot of overhead real fast.
    Just spitting out a huge organization's pay slips formatted for a dot-
    matrix printer is a lot. Give 'em dots!!
    Can we have a faux dot matrix printer filter?!
     
    John Joyce, Apr 27, 2007
    #12
  13. --gKMricLos+KVdGMg
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
    Content-Disposition: inline
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

    > >I got it. You mean you don't have CSS available to you for PDF files?

    >=20
    > Correct. As far as I know there is no formattting facility for PDF
    > that reeks of cool, much less something standardized
    >=20
    > >Interesting. On OS X it is a built in facility to print to PDF.
    > >CSS does itself present some formatting options for printing but
    > >they're not well implemented everywhere. The scaling options should
    > >be sufficient to generate nicely printable documents generally. I'm
    > >sure you know that though. but ... When a boss asks for a pdf they
    > >want a pdf.

    >=20
    > Right, we need to generate PDFs and email them as part of reports
    > that run in the middle of the night....
    >=20
    > Doing html -> pdf is sometimes, but not always, a good solution.


    Maybe generating TeX and then PDF from it may be good solution?
    TeX can do 'styling'.

    However, I don't know anything about Ruport (yet) so forgive me if what I
    said is stupid. :)

    --=20
    No virus found in this outgoing message.
    Checked by 'grep -i virus $MESSAGE'
    Trust me.

    --gKMricLos+KVdGMg
    Content-Type: application/pgp-signature
    Content-Disposition: inline

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6-ecc01.6 (GNU/Linux)

    iD8DBQFGMiGSsnU0scoWZKARAt5ZAJ9vvqVhXZPxa236syRXA2QmS84McACfWEAj
    6uQq8BFIYj40Bn77ItiPfiY=
    =9OJp
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

    --gKMricLos+KVdGMg--
     
    Mariusz Pękala, Apr 27, 2007
    #13
  14. Gregory Brown

    John Joyce Guest

    On Apr 28, 2007, at 12:14 AM, Gregory Brown wrote:

    > On 4/27/07, John Joyce <> wrote:
    >
    >> I got it. You mean you don't have CSS available to you for PDF files?

    >
    > Correct. As far as I know there is no formattting facility for PDF
    > that reeks of cool, much less something standardized
    >
    >> Interesting. On OS X it is a built in facility to print to PDF.
    >> CSS does itself present some formatting options for printing but
    >> they're not well implemented everywhere. The scaling options should
    >> be sufficient to generate nicely printable documents generally. I'm
    >> sure you know that though. but ... When a boss asks for a pdf they
    >> want a pdf.

    >
    > Right, we need to generate PDFs and email them as part of reports
    > that run in the middle of the night....
    >
    > Doing html -> pdf is sometimes, but not always, a good solution.
    >


    Naturally, it would be ideal if there were general intermediary data
    format or document format.
    The best bet is often XML since we're talking about fundamentally
    generated styled documents from a structured document, but of course
    it all depends where that data is coming from and where it might go
    and how much overhead is really practical for functionality needs
    today and future functionality needs. Ideally if it is a valid xhtml
    document, that should be more translatable to pdf.
    There certainly is something to be said for generating at least
    vanilla xml first, since it leaves you with something far more
    malleable.
    I don't know the full spec on the various pdf specs (the multitude is
    the problem at times) but I do know that there is a lot there in
    common with xml/xhtml type documents.
    Here are some links on just such things.

    http://www.antennahouse.com/XSLsample/XSLsample.htm
    http://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/
    http://www.digitaljunkies.ca/dompdf/

    The last link is to a PHP version of such a utility.
    I know these are not reporting tools per se, but they could certainly
    provide ideas!
    I know many reporting tools are taking data straight out of a database.
    But if it is tranformed first into an xml format, then it does become
    highly reusable.
    I'm big finger wagger with sites that offer info for download as a
    pdf but not viewable online.
     
    John Joyce, Apr 27, 2007
    #14
  15. On 4/27/07, John Joyce <> wrote:

    > Naturally, it would be ideal if there were general intermediary data
    > format or document format.
    > The best bet is often XML since we're talking about fundamentally
    > generated styled documents from a structured document, but of course
    > it all depends where that data is coming from and where it might go
    > and how much overhead is really practical for functionality needs
    > today and future functionality needs. Ideally if it is a valid xhtml
    > document, that should be more translatable to pdf.


    I had very seriously considered integrating XML/Fo as I figured that'd
    let people use heavy weight tools like FOP and possibly other stuff to
    do complex rendering.

    I scratched it off as 'too much work' to do between now and May 15th,
    and the project I was planning on doing that depended on FOP got
    pushed backwards. It's possible that you might see this support in
    Ruport eventually, or as a gem_plugin, or in ruport-util.

    I'd likely accept a well written patch which generates XML/Fo for our
    four standard renderers
    (Row,Table,Group,Grouping) and put it directly in Ruport. So if
    anyone out there is looking for a project, I'd be happy to help you
    work on that...
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #15
  16. Re: Looking for thoughts and opinions on Ruport, and reporti

    Gregory Brown wrote:
    > On 4/27/07, Mariusz P�kala <> wrote:
    >
    >> Maybe generating TeX and then PDF from it may be good solution?
    >> TeX can do 'styling'.
    >>
    >> However, I don't know anything about Ruport (yet) so forgive me if what I
    >> said is stupid. :)

    >
    > It's not stupid. I just don't think TeX styling is going to be any
    > higher level than our PDF::Writer wrappers, and it introduces a huge
    > toolchain. We at one point were doing TeX output for tables but
    > dropped it.


    Have you ever looked at tioga. It creates figures directly in pdf and
    then uses tex for text formatting. It is very flexible and allows you to
    create beautiful figures in pdf, so it might be something to look at.


    http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/~paxton/tioga.html

    Edwin

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Edwin Van leeuwen, Apr 27, 2007
    #16
  17. On 4/27/07, Ball, Donald A Jr (Library) <> wrote:
    > (apologies for the resend, my subject was mysteriously stripped from my
    > first reply)
    >
    > I've looked at Ruport before but as far as I can tell, it doesn't really
    > try to solve the part of the problem I'm most interested in. Ruport
    > seems to tackle pulling data from a variety of sources in a unified way,
    > and rendering the output to a variety of formats, but doesn't provide
    > any help for modelling the reports themselves.


    This is a real pain point for us for sure. We're looking at our
    Report class and seriously considering dropping it before 1.0, if we
    can't think of a way to make it fairly elegant.

    > Maybe some concrete examples might help clarify what I'm driving at.
    > I've writing an interactive system for generating reports on a variety
    > of different library things - circulation activity, public computer use,
    > etc. The range of the reports is user-defined - this month, the previous
    > quarter, etc. The domain (?) of the reports is as well - maybe
    > system-wide, maybe by region, or by branch, or by individual terminal or
    > computer. For graphs, the variable in question, etc.


    So what we really need is a way for you to define a bunch of variable
    featuresets, and then hook those up to the right data manipulations
    and renderers, more or less.

    I've been asking folks on the Ruport list for a syntax (even
    imaginary, so long as it's valid ruby) for doing this in a general
    way, and I've unfortunately yet to see anything. Maybe folks on this
    list will have some insight.

    I tend to use camping as the primary platform for my Ruport work, so I
    do all of my process definition in the controllers and helpers. In
    command line reports, I do similar, but it's a fair bit of Ruby and
    little help from Ruport.

    I want to make this better, but I need some concrete ideas for what
    the interface would look like, because I'm yet to think of a good one
    (after way too long)
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #17
  18. Re: Looking for thoughts and opinions on Ruport, and reporti

    On 4/27/07, Edwin Van leeuwen <> wrote:

    > Have you ever looked at tioga. It creates figures directly in pdf and
    > then uses tex for text formatting. It is very flexible and allows you to
    > create beautiful figures in pdf, so it might be something to look at.


    These really are quite beautiful. I think I saw tioga before and
    thought it was quite nice, but it has platform and tool-chain
    dependence. If I ever have a job at work that requires this sort of
    thing, I might create some integration for ruport-util, but I can't
    bring myself to put anything in ruport itself that makes it even
    slightly difficult to use on windows, or any platform for that matter.
    (Of course, DBI is the skeleton in our closet there)
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #18
  19. Gregory Brown

    Gary Wright Guest

    On Apr 27, 2007, at 4:38 PM, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > I've been asking folks on the Ruport list for a syntax (even
    > imaginary, so long as it's valid ruby) for doing this in a general
    > way, and I've unfortunately yet to see anything. Maybe folks on this
    > list will have some insight.


    Perhaps it would help to have some examples of the types of reports
    you are trying to generate. It doesn't matter where they are from, just
    some use cases to spark some ideas on how to describe
    the transformations needed to get from the raw data to the resulting
    reports.

    If you can find an online manual for IBM's RPG IV programming language
    that might give you some inspiration. RPG was designed specifically
    for generating reports and goes all the way back to punch card days.
    Obviously you don't want to replicate the syntax of the language, but
    perhaps there are some ideas there that could help.

    Gary Wright
     
    Gary Wright, Apr 27, 2007
    #19
  20. On 4/27/07, Gary Wright <> wrote:
    >
    > On Apr 27, 2007, at 4:38 PM, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > > I've been asking folks on the Ruport list for a syntax (even
    > > imaginary, so long as it's valid ruby) for doing this in a general
    > > way, and I've unfortunately yet to see anything. Maybe folks on this
    > > list will have some insight.

    >
    > Perhaps it would help to have some examples of the types of reports
    > you are trying to generate. It doesn't matter where they are from, just
    > some use cases to spark some ideas on how to describe
    > the transformations needed to get from the raw data to the resulting
    > reports.


    I guess the issue is that I don't run into the problem that often in
    ways that I can see Ruport can help. If I did, I would have
    generalized the stuff.

    However, to throw the question back out there, it'd be majorly helpful
    to see some examples of what you're trying to do, so I can try to
    think of how to make it easier to do it. That's why I'm looking for
    imaginary syntax....

    (I typically exploit Ruport in ways I wouldn't expect our users to. :) )
     
    Gregory Brown, Apr 27, 2007
    #20
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