We all know "Notes doesn't print". Nevertheless the topic of document output and reports is not going away, even if I'd like to ban the reports. There are plenty of ready made tools, but today I'd like to start with home cooked reporting.
Why the effort? Using only tools that use open standards you gain more control over the whole process and you can use whatever deems fit. The downside: it is more things you need to know and might not be suitable for business users (but its great to torture interns). In the long run you have a portfolio of source transformations that you can combine potentially faster than any reporting tool. The general principle is "Extract Transform Render":
Extract: Whatever will pull out the XML for the second step will do the trick. For list type of rendering ?ReadViewEntries will do the trick or simple DXL exports. Quite often you might opt for some bespoke code to extract code with an eye of a fast and/or easy transformation phase. You also might consider to extract your data in conformance with an established international standard
This step usually takes the XML from the extract phase and runs it through one or more XSLT transformations. XSLT is kind of IT Black Magic (other say it's just settheory) and can use quite some computing power. For high performance the pros use a dedicated applicance. Once you get the heck of XPath you can do some amazing reporting (e.g. "give me all sales guys where withing the last 5 sales of the 3 guys next to his ranking there was a carpenter")
Rendering is easy. The outcome of the transformation step will be XSL:FO which is a page description language. Use a free renderer or a commercialoffering and a few lines of code. The output typically is a PDF file, but you can target graphic formats too.
Warriors of Light
Sun, Jul 20th 2014 11:15a Stephan H Wissel Inspired by Paulo Coelho's manual for the Warrior of the Light:
Warriors of Light
We were born from the stars
Descended from the heavens
Armed with compassion
Determined to end the suffering
Subjected to the human condition
Battling ignorance with wisdom
Laying our lives for the liberation from illusion
When you look in the mirror - remember!
You are one of us. [read] Keywords:
Sun, Jul 13th 2014 1:12p Stephan H Wissel I like to cycle, I do that often and from time to time I have fun with traffic participants. One of the interesting challenges are multi-lane crossings (note to my overseas readers: Singapore follows the British system of driving on the left, so cyclists are supposed to cycle on the left edge of the road - which makes me edgy in some situations. So for right driving countries, just flip the pictures) where the outer lane allows more than one direction. Like these:
Road rules do require the [read] Keywords: google
From XML to JSON and back
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 8:12p Stephan H Wissel In the beginning there was csv and the world of application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was good. Then unrest grew and the demand for more structure and contextual information grew. This gave birth to SGML (1986), adopted only by a few initiated.
Only more than a decade later (1998) SGML's offspring XML took centre stage. With broad support for schemas, transformation and tooling the de facto standard for application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was established [read] Keywords: application
The folly of root cause analysis
Wed, Jul 9th 2014 6:12a Stephan H Wissel IT support's dealing with management is a funny business. Whenever something goes wrong, support teams engage in "defensive blaming" and the elusive quest for a root cause.
I've seen this quest (and blaming god and country along the way if it doesn't appear) taking priority over problem resolution and prevention. The twisted thought is: "If I'm not sure about the (single) root cause, I can't neither fix nor prevent it from happening again".
Why is that a folly?
It paralyses: If a pe [read] Keywords: application
Documents vs eMails
Fri, Jul 4th 2014 6:14a Stephan H Wissel With a public sector customer I had an interesting discussion on non-repudiation, messaging and regulatory control. We were discussing how to ensure awareness of information that has behavioural or legal consequences. While "I didn't know" is hardly a viable defence, relying on the other party to keep themselves updated is just asking for trouble. In a collaborative environment, where a regulator sees itself primarily as the facilitator of orderly conduct and only as policing the conduct as s [read] Keywords: domino
The taxi loyalty program isn't working and how to fix it
Mon, Jun 16th 2014 10:11a Stephan H Wissel Singapore is a little like New York: train and taxis are a mainstay of the daily commute. So the taxi market is highly regulated and fiercely competitive. As no surprise taxi companies try to bind customers before they loyalty switches to alternative bookings or the disruptors.
So Comfort & CityCab started CabRewards. After all loyalty cards work well for their inventor.
In a smart move, instead of creating a new piece of plastic, Comfort teamed up with ezLink Singapore's leading provider [read] Keywords: admin
Value, Features and Workflows
Mon, May 12th 2014 6:11a Stephan H Wissel In sales school we are taught to sell value. Initially that approach was designed to defang the threat of endless haggling over price, but it took an extra twist in the software industry. Since software companies rely on user's desire to "buy the next version" to secure revenue from maintenance and upgrade sales, a feature war was the consequence.
As a result, buyers frequently request feature comparison tables, driving the proponents of "value & vision" up the wall. It also creates te [read] Keywords: ibm
You want to move to Domino? You need a plan!
Thu, Apr 17th 2014 6:12a Stephan H Wissel Cloud services are all en vogue, the hot kid on the block and irressitible. So you decided to move there, but you decided your luggage has to come along. And suddenly your realize, that flipping a switch won't do the trick. Now you need to listen to the expert.
The good folks at Amazon have compiled a table that gives you some idea how much it would take to transfer data:
Available Internet Connection
Theoretical Min. Number of Days to Transfer 1TB at 80% Network Utilization
T1 [read] Keywords: domino