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Re: Report tool for PostgreSQL

From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
To: pgsql-novice(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Report tool for PostgreSQL
Date: 2006-09-17 01:37:06
Message-ID: 87ac4zw9x9.fsf@wolfe.cbbrowne.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-novice
Oops! "Lan" <lan(at)falleagle(dot)net> was seen spray-painting on a wall:
> I need a report tool for postgres. The ideal tool would have these
> characteristics:
>
> - Reports, once defined, could be put into a Tcl/Tk menu (or any menu)
> and called
>
> - Open source (Free software) preferred for oh so many reasons
> (including no budget)
>
> - Tcl/Tk preferred but not essential as long as criterion 1 can be
> satisfied
>
> - It would be nice if users could define custom reports
>
> I had hoped that the report facility of pgaccess would do this, but
> it's alpha and I can't AFAIK call those reports outside of pgaccess.

This is, alas, one of the "Holy Grail"-like things where people don't
seem to quite agree on what the best way is.

The nearest thing I'm aware of is JasperReports, which is a Java
thing, findable at SourceForge.

Unfortunately, building a good report writer is a seriously
challenging task.  People have generally put together partial answers,
covering limited scopes.

Something really comprehensive is much tougher; here are some of the
challenges that seem typical:

- Visual tools are pretty cool, but they tend to imply "What we allow
  you to easily draw is all you can get"

- GUI-ish tools tend to be written with the assumption that you can
  always "GUI at" the system; this doesn't fit in well with a need to
  run it in production environments where reports can need to get
  generated for particular users, and spooled to various possibly
  offline destinations.

- It's easy to build tools that work with trivial datasets; it's often
  also easy to come up with nontrivial datasets that'll make them blow
  up.

I wish I could point to something that "did everything;" the only
example I can think of is SAP's R/3 system, where, as a result of them
spending billions of marks on it, they have something exceeding fancy.
But you need to spend a LOT to get it into place, and it doesn't work
with PostgreSQL...
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