Looking for feedback for 2-step view style reports

Matt Whipple mwhipple at mattwhipple.com
Sat Oct 2 10:50:29 EDT 2010

 I'm presently looking to modify the report system so that a semantic
representation of the data can be returned, and wanted to get some
feedback from anyone more familiar with the system (or languages
involved).  My personal goal is to allow for outputting XML, but rather
than just modify the existing formatting in the reports to use that
output I'm thinking of changing the report system so that there is a
clearly defined gathering of data which is then passed to a renderer.

My thoughts are to represent each document as a data structure (which
I'm calling docstruct) which consists of a vector full of named lists. 
This would then be complemented by a set or sets of functions in charge
of populating the data (ultimately possibly updating the app data though
that falls outside of "reports"), and a set or sets of functions which
use the data in the structure to render a presentable form.  The names
within the structure would allow for self-documenting and a decent
amount of attempted automatic behavior which could be selectively
overridden (ideally having basic functionality by just creating an empty
structure with names).  Let me know of any feedback.

Matt Whipple
IT Consultant
matt at mattwhipple.com

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