Better report writing with the Appy framework

Awhile ago I mentioned using openoffice’s pyuno to create reports. I wanted to insert some variables right in a word file so that end users could customize reports themselves. Well it seems Appy POD does just this. While it doesn’t support ods as my little project does it’s far better in every other way. For one it doesn’t require openoffice.org unless you want to convert the document, making it way faster. It also pushes a lot of report writing work to openoffice (or any office program that can do track changes). This makes for more end user flexibility, at the expense of ease of use. I can easily pass pod Django model instances and pod will render them. In my word document I can just add

student.fname

to render some student instance’s name. You can even put python code in the document for loops and such (do row for x in many_xs can make a new row for each of your objects). Of course with such flexibility comes a sharper learning curve. You have to put python code in track changes, comments, or fields. While it looks nice to view, making the report can be frustrating. I made an openoffice extension to make it easier to add fields, just install then click tools, addons, insert field. One could also place this in a toolbar or keyboard shortcut for even easier access.

Insert Field Openoffice Extension

Appy POD is certainly worth looking into for anyone looking to do customizable report writing. It’s like Django’s templating system but for the word processor.

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