[thelist] What shall we do with the W3C DOM?

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at hp.com
Wed Nov 6 13:13:01 CST 2002


Nice example. Okay.  I can certainly see some possibilities
a little clearer now. [Or maybe I'm more awake.] Anyway, it
definitely has value in an Intranet setting.

Since you brought up Intranets ... let me take you down a
little side street here for a minute.  Having a locked down
Intranet opens the possibility for folks to use third party
products that you don't normally run into in 'Inter' space.
Some of these products already provide a lot of the
functionality you may be talking or thinking about.

I spend a lot of time building Intranet reports using one of
these 'Enterprise' web-enabled reporting packages. The product
I use is called Brio.

{There are other packages out there: Business Objects and whatever
that critter from InfoBuilders in called, to almost name two.  I
prefer Brio because it has a [somewhat proprietary] version of
JavaScript that let's you very nearly turn 'reports' into
'applications'. [2]}

The reports I develop sit on a production server. Users access
the reports using IE ... along with a small browser plug-in.

Once they have the report open, users can re-arrange the order
of the columns of data, change the sort, add filters, add totals,
hide some columns of data, unhide columns of data that I've hidden,
add new sections of data [1], or add bar or pie charts.

The users have _some_ level of control over the presentation;
they can bold fields of returned data - or change text colors.
Users can also create and/or manipulate 'pivot table' type
sections for additional data analysis.

One of the "coolest" features is that users can *create* new
columns of data by inserting equations using the existing data.
[And if they insert an erroneous equation they'll get back an error
message like "#VALUE" for that computed column only -- without breaking
the rest of the report.]

After a user has made these changes to ruin my carefully crafted
design ... uh ... I mean 'personalize' the report they use to
do their job more efficiently, they can save it to their desktop.
Heck, they can even email it to the rest of their organization.

Tomorrow they can open an IE window, drag this icon from their
desktop over the window and drop it - and their customized report
will reappear.

[They will, however, have to push a button to refresh the data.]

Granted - products like this only work in a 'report' setting and
aren't providing WYSIWYG capabilities for the overall design - or
all elements, but I think this may give you some ideas for practical
application on an Intranet.

{There have been a newspaper or two that already let users create
'customized' comics page by letting them select the comics they
want to see and not displaying the rest.}



[1] Perhaps I did a 'world-wide' report view and the user is only
interested in seeing results for Europe.  They could set a filter
on the region column and cut the results to Europe ... or ... they
could add a new report section, copy in the columns they want, name
that section 'Europe', filter this new section and leave the
'world-wide' view intact.  Their choice.

[2] Although, depending how you set it up, I think Business Objects
lets you register a data model on the server for your users to access.
Once they pull up that data model the users are pretty much in full ad-hoc
reporting mode - selecting columns they want from the tables they want
and doing the formatting they want to do.

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter-Paul Koch [mailto:gassinaumasis at hotmail.com]

Yes, all valid possibilities. It would depend on the kind of site, but
there's no reason *not* to make such an interface. For Intranets,
especially, I think it would be very valuable.

I created a small form application that allows the user to choose exactly
how many form fields he wants to see. This is the sort of thing I mean:

Anyway, I hope for more ideas and discussion.

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