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XML and Reporting

Rex Ashworth
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 04, 2002
Posts: 20
Can XML be utilized to write reports from a website using MySQL or equivalent databases? I am looking for an alternative to Crystal Reports.
Madhav Lakkapragada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2000
Posts: 5040
I am not too familiar with Crystal Reports, but depends
on what you want to call a Report....
You could certainly take an XML file representing the data
and using a style sheet format it to any form of 'report'
you want.
Hope I am not missing your point.......
- m
Ko Ko Naing
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 08, 2002
Posts: 3178
Originally posted by Rex Ashworth:
Can XML be utilized to write reports from a website using MySQL or equivalent databases? I am looking for an alternative to Crystal Reports.

I've ever about the Crystal Reports that it is a great tool for generating reports... Since it is totally dedicated to the report and related things, I think XML is not comparable to that Crystal Reports... I do believe that Crystal Reports possess better ability to handling report-related stuff... Even though XML can generate some kind of report, it won't be as good as Crystal Reports, which is pretty famous among report generating tools...


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Madhav Lakkapragada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2000
Posts: 5040
I think XML is not comparable to that Crystal Reports...
Well, if that is the ONE thing they do, then they better be
good at it, esp. in this age. That said, there are other
factors that drive strongly why a home-grown XML/XSLT tech.
is more useful.
Imagine your customers reaction when they need to purchase
third-party licenses to use your product. There are certainly
positives and negatives. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means
suggesting Crystal Reports is not useful, I have no clue what
it does.
XML may not be comparable, but when it comes to 'Purchase Orders'
and 'Licensing' $$$ counts. Hence, you can't take sides.
- m
Ko Ko Naing
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 08, 2002
Posts: 3178
Originally posted by Madhav Lakkapragada:
XML may not be comparable, but when it comes to 'Purchase Orders'
and 'Licensing' $$$ counts. Hence, you can't take sides.

Yes, Madhav, you are right in this case... The $ is an important factor in deciding which one to choose... I hope that XML might be replacable to Crystal Reports in the original poster's situation... If so, he should better think of XML, rather than Crystal Reports, which will cost $ a lot...
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
Originally posted by Rex Ashworth:
Can XML be utilized to write reports from a website using MySQL or equivalent databases? I am looking for an alternative to Crystal Reports.
XML can be utilized as a part of report generation, but it doesn't cover the whole report generation.
Here's an example scenario:
- Java code #1 reads the database and writes an XML file representing the contents
- Java code #2 applies an XSL stylesheet to the XML file to transform it into XSL-FO compliant form
- Java code #3 hands the XSL-FO document to an XSL-FO processor, which produces a PDF document
In this scenario, XML has an essential role. However, tools like Crystal Reports work on a higher level of abstraction, such as providing a GUI for describing a report (pulling information from a database and placing it somewhere on a page template) and "executing" the report to produce the actual PDF document, for example.


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Ko Ko Naing
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 08, 2002
Posts: 3178
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:

Here's an example scenario:
- Java code #1 reads the database and writes an XML file representing the contents
- Java code #2 applies an XSL stylesheet to the XML file to transform it into XSL-FO compliant form
- Java code #3 hands the XSL-FO document to an XSL-FO processor, which produces a PDF document

Nice steps... It's worth to note down, Rex Ashworth, if you are thinking about XML to replace Crystal Reports...
 
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subject: XML and Reporting