Packaging and hub documents

Andy Dent dent at
Mon Jun 14 22:39:55 BST 1999

At 14:21 -0400 14/6/99, David Megginson wrote:
>Tim Bray writes:
> > It is becoming painfully obvious that we need a general-purpose
> > packaging mechanism to deliver an arbitrary number of related
> > whatevers along with a piece of XML payload.

I just want to contribute a non-web example that's a real-world 
example about to be used by thousands of teachers in the next year. 
It's an extension of our report-writer technology being shipped in a 
client application.

The OOFILE report writer now has the ability to save a report to a 
single desktop document and retrieve it for later viewing, printing 
and (about to be released) editing of content.

A report document includes the report layout description as well as 
all the data included in the report.

Issues included:
- packaging multiple reports
   - multiple stylesheets
   - multiple locally scoped database schema
   (like many others our RW allows you to combine many reports
    into one master report, viewable and printable as a single report
    but with unique page streams)

- embedding stylesheets (we handle style and layout in separate areas)

- embedding schema (mild extension of the current WG being used)

- embedding graphics
   (not actually shipping yet as the immediate client didn't need it
    but we will use base64 encoding of blob field types)

Wrapping this in multi-part MIME would have complicated the parsing 
considerably. Using expatpp and the sub-parser model in particular 
made it fairly straightforward to parse. for the expatpp 
parser (c++ extension of expat)

Samples of report output available at

Andy Dent BSc MACS AACM, Software Designer, A.D. Software, Western Australia
OOFILE - Database, Reports, Graphs, GUI for c++ on Mac, Unix & Windows
PP2MFC - PowerPlant->MFC portability

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