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Re: [school-discuss] School Report Software

This is the area I work on for our school district.  Unfortunately, our management selected IBM Cognos as the tool of choice and we've been stuck with it for several years.  The product is extremely buggy and because we don't have the source code, I can never get any of the bugs fixed even though we're paying for the highest support level from IBM.  I can only implement work-arounds on my end.  The system creates reports in HTML, PDF and CSV that are accessible via the web.  I keep thinking some good web developers could do exactly the same thing without using the tool at all.  If I were to write my own system, some of the tools and technologies I'd look at would be ODBC for the database connection, AJAX for accessing data and displaying changing data on screen and wkhtmltopdf for converting the reports from HTML to PDF.  If someone is knowledgeable with web design, all the reports we currently do could be reproduceable from scratch without the tool we currently use.  I don't think anything substitutes for understanding what you're coding, but there are automated web design tools that are Open Source such as Kompozer and Amaya for people who need a GUI interface for web development.  I use _javascript_ quite a bit now with the HTML versions of the reports in order to work around limitations with the Cognos products.  If I were writing my own tools, I think _javascript_ could be fairly useful on the server side too, but it's not as standardized as many other server side languages (like Perl, PHP, Ruby).  I happen to like the v8cgi implementation of server side _javascript_ at present, but while it has database support, it really needs ODBC support to connect to databases like our DB2 system.  I do have some C++ source code I wrote for ODBC connection on Windows, but haven't had time to look into it on other operating systems such as Linux.  It would be really interesting to create a reporting system of our own, but I don't forsee that happening any time soon.

On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 5:51 PM, Tom Stuart <stuielxl@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hi All,

I am looking into different systems that schools use to produce reports for students. Mainly feedback systems to deliver information to parents about their child.
As part of my study I am looking into producing a piece of Software which aids writing reports.

I have looked into the methods in which some schools use to produce reports (such as 'Report Assist') but it would be great to get some feedback on what you use and the strengths and weaknesses of the software you use.