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Old 04-04-2007, 01:01 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: South East UK
Distribution: Fedora Core 16
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Portable printing - suggestions

I develop software using a 4gl language, which currently lacks a good report writer - so the current reports are basic text.
To try to make the reports more 'acceptable', PCL commands have been embedded within the text and then ghostpcl used to convert the PCL to PDF. This works ok - but....

What I'd like to do is to make the reports layout abstract from the formatting completely, so has anyone got any thoughts as to the advantages/disadvantages of such tools (markup languages) as:

TEX / LaTex

etc. I want something that is relatively simple to apply as the reports are standard business fare, but it needs to be powerful enough to accurately reproduce fixed 'form' based reports (such as invoices/purchase orders etc) with embedded images/logos etc.

Anyone already gone down this route ... either good/bad experiences welcome!
Old 04-04-2007, 06:03 PM   #2
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Registered: Oct 2003
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Distribution: Debian Wheezy/Jessie/Stretch/Sid, Linux Mint DE
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I am facing the same challenge, and it surprised me that there are so few options to choose from. There are plenty report writers, but usually integrated with some database query tool. Excellent for sales figures and forecasts, but don't you dare to try something else.

I have been thinking about fphp (which produces a pdf from a web page), LaTEX and lately my eye fell on lout (LOUT).

That is a program similar to LaTEX, you have to embed codes between the plain text, and finally the output will be .ps.

Lack of time prevented me to continue reading the manual, but as soon as I arrive at the paper report writing part of my project I am sure I will pick it up again. It looks very promising. I am just not sure yet whether you are able to position boxes & frames exactly thery where you want to have them. But then I read only thru 10% of the manual.

Lout is found at If you try to use it, please share your experiences.



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