[RC5] Stats RSS Feed?

Ben Gavin thejet at gmail.com
Thu Jan 6 12:12:06 EST 2005

In general, XSLT is going to be easier than the other formats, and
provides exactly what you are looking for.  XSLT itself is not
terribly difficult and I would argue is probably easier [given the
simple schema that the XML format uses] to learn than a myriad of
Perl/PHP/etc solutions.  There shouldn't be any problems generating
pretty much any format you need from the XML itself, and since we've
already got pages that generate XML for the team member [and team
summary, IIRC] pages, it should be trivial to bring that functionality
to the other pages as well.  There was a [fairly one-sided, since
nobody seemed interested at the time] discussion of this on the
stats-dev mailing list a long time ago.

Now, if we wanted to avoid that completely and write individual pages
for each output type, that's fine, but that seems like just continuing
along the path we're already on and doesn't really improve the
maintenance factor longterm...  In either case, no matter what we do
we're maintaining something, either a bunch of XSLT stylesheets or a
bunch of PHP pages so it's probably a wash either way...

Of course, if we go XML for everything, then we need to figure out
some way of getting XML out of the database layer itself [without an
intervening PHP page], or we're introducing an XML translation step
for every page in the system, which is probably sub-optimal [even with
caching of the XML output].  I don't know that PostgreSQL has an XML
output method, so this may not be an option at this time.  We've
already got classes which generate all the lists we need, so maybe
introducing the XML step for everything at this time is a bad idea...


On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 08:38:49 -0500 (EST), Christopher Hicks
<chicks at chicks.net> wrote:
> 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?
> --
> </chris>
> "There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
>   soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
> -Ed Howdershelt (Author)
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Benjamin Gavin
virtual.olympus software
ben at virtual-olympus.com

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