[gnome-db] Re: GRAND MASTER PLAN

On Tue, Mar 09, 2004 at 09:41:10PM +1100, msevior physics unimelb edu au was heard to remark:
> >> Forms creation.
> >> I think we all seem pretty confident in glade here. thats solved.
> >
> > Uhh, forms and reports are two sides of the same coin.  Remember
> > my 'bugzilla' analogy:  The bugzilla "report" for bug 123 is also
> > a "form" that allows the user to modify bug 123.   I'd like to
> > be able to embed widgets into abiword docs, and use libglade-like
> > api's to find & work with those widgets.
> OK You don't mean literally "GtkWidgets" 

Well, for Act 1, you're right, I don't.  But for Act II ... yes,
literally.  Pushbuttons, you name it.

Lets finish Act I first though.

> >> Reporting
> >>
> >> reporting engine, what is gnomedbs requirements? Linas, maybe a gtk
> >> output engine or a xml to gladexml converter, or use the existing html
> >
> > Reporting is on the same coin as forms, its just on the other side.
> > A "form" flows data from somewhere else to my application.
> > A "report" flows data from my application to somewhere else.
> >
> > This is THE "high level" abstraction layer/API, to me.
> >
> > My app codes to this high-level API.  It then picks a particular
> > driver.  There is one driver that will push data into an abiword
> > doc.  There is another driver that will push data into a pane
> > of gtk widgets. There is a third driver that will push data
> > into xml.  There is a fourth driver that will pushd data into
> > sql. A fifth driver will push data into ldap.  A sixth driver
> > builds a web page and pushes it out to Apache. Etc.
> >
> > (My "DWI" project was my attempt to create this high-level API.
> > I currently have drivers for glade/gtk and sql.)
> >
> > Its possible that gnomedb and/or libmergeant has this kind of
> > ability, but if so, I haven't figured it out yet.  Its not
> > clear how to create new drivers.
> >
> >> Report Designer.
> >>
> >> None of have anything here (expect gnue).  Its needed. I was thinking
> >> orginally using openoffice or abiword to design reports but i really
> >> havn't started looking at this at any detail. Any suggestions on how we
> >> are going to achive this? Does this sound feasible?
> >
> > I've been trying to explain to Martin Sevior what my vision for abi
> > is, and I think he almost gets it. I thnk once he gets it, it will be
> > easy.  I want abi to have a libglade-like interface.  The report
> > designer creates a named text block, and my program can then change
> > the text/color/font of the named text block.  I can't beleive this
> > is going to be hard.
> >
> You right :-) It isn't hard at all. It's one weeks work I think.
> The GUI is trvial. Simply select a region of a document, choose "External
> Source" from a menu, pop a simple dialog and ask for the unique name of
> the property.
> The Property could just as easily be an input as an output. ie the
> external app could look up the property and find the text with the
> property. The input text could be used to modify what we want for output.
> We could also mark these properties as non-printable so they're removed
> fromt he printed report.


OK, now that you've got this mastered: let me pile on a few things.
For act I scene II:

-- colors, font sizes.  At least for financial reports, negative
   numbers are sometimes printed in red.  Of course, one won't know
   if the number will be positive or negative until runtime, so the
   color needs to be settable at runtime.

   (Yes, color alone is an accessibility issue; so other visual
   indicators are used as well. (a simple minus sign is too small,
   too easily confused for lint). Parens might be used, or
   italics or bold might be selected.)

-- might be useful to allow the "hide this" for visual display 
   as well. For example, the report designer created a document
   with two blank fields,  and at runtime, we discover that one
   of them will be blank forever.  So at run time, we hide it.

   (I've seen this done in form letters, where certain geographies
   get an extra sentance or two in thier form letter which the
   others do not.  Another example is a report for assets and
   liabilities: if there are no liabilities, you hide the table
   rather than showing a table with a zero in it. )

   (If you can hide, then this allows the programmer to implement 
   a basic either/or: show/hide the liabilities table, and 
   show/hide the sentance: "There are no liabilities.")

-- tables. Reports will usually have tables in them, and the number
   of rows won't be known until runtime. (The columns are usually
   static. Usually).

   Tables might be nested.  I don't know if abi supports that.

Totally off-topic, but I thought I'd mention an unrelated feature:
in financial reports, the tables are often presented as grade-school
sums, with a bar between the bottom row (which contains the totals)
and all the rows above it.  For nested sums, the bar may be a double 
or triple bar (to denote the grand total of subtotals).  ...


pub  1024D/01045933 2001-02-01 Linas Vepstas (Labas!) <linas linas org>
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