[RC5] Stats RSS Feed?

Christopher Hicks chicks at chicks.net
Thu Jan 6 08:38:49 EST 2005

On Wed, 5 Jan 2005, Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> We would also like to offer XML versions of all stats pages, and any
> help on that would be much appreciated. The eventual idea is:
> database --(PHP? Java?)--> XML --(XSLT)--> .html
> That way, most (if not all) stats pages would be available in XML as
> well as .html. We should also be able to offer .csv and other formats
> easily.

I totally agree with your ultimate goal here, but I think your idea of 
using the XML to generate the HTML breaks down on a few levels:

(1) How do you generate the CSV and other formats?  If XSLT isn't going to 
help you do that then the procedural code is going to have to generate it 
somehow so just let it generate all the resultant formats.  While I can 
certainly see situations where XSLT might be useful (and I have actually 
written XSLT) I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to force myself to 
write tons of code in it.

(2) It seems more effective conceiving of this as an MVC where the model 
is the database, the procedural code is the controller, and the views are 
the different formats you want to generate.  The easier you make it for 
people to add new views the more views that will utimately exist which 
should also exclude XSLT since its not widely known.

(3) I do this sort of thing regularly for Intranets.  In these cases the 
targest end up being PDF, Excel, and HTML.  I've found Perl with 
Apache::ASP and Spreadsheet::WriteExcel and a handful of other modules
makes the actual coding that has to be done pretty painless, but the same 
thing should be able to be accomplished in any decent language the person 
with time actually knows.  Since non-strange Excel is easily opened with 
OpenOffice this makes using the resulting software under Linux easy too.

Is the database schema and sample data easily available if somebody wanted 
to take a whack at this?


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