Forum OpenACS Q&A: RFC:Advanced Reporting for OpenACS

I am working with OpenACS/Postgresql to handle information about projects and contracts at my company. As much database storage grows up more difficult is to handle all data to produce usefull stuff like compreensive report or good visualization on screen with different aggregates. Then we start to figure out how to use things like OLAP in combination with PostgreSQL. I am not really motivated to use tools such as provided by Pentaho ( since it seems too complex and big to our needs. What we need now is just enhance our experience in handle data not using only plain SQL code. And of course, if we could do it with OpenACS seems a good plan to me!

I found a gnu software that accomplish most of our needs to handle data to produce reports and must say that i am really happy with it. This software is EFEU (from its creator Erich Fruehstueck) and according to project website at consists of development tools, extensive C libraries and application commands. People who are interested in this issue there is an article at InformIT about what can be done with the help of the EFEU package and Postgresql handling data cubes. See at

What I am doing is manipulate data cubes by means of shell scripts written to be used by EFEU interpreter, the so called esh (EFEU shell), to produce latex or csv reports. esh scripts can even be interpreted by Aolserver via nscgi.
As i said before it works well for what we need but i think EFEU could work more integrated with OpenACS by means of Aolserver.

I read a litle more and learn the EFEU interpreter provides a simple interface to C written functions. As I do not have any C programming skills I am not sure about what I am saying but I think it could be done an Aolserver module to use the EFEU interpreter in a manner we could use it with OpenACS. Maybe it could be done in the same way Vlad Seryakov did with nschartdir using ChartDirector C++ library. Sorry i am just speculating!

The reason I am posting here in the community and not directly in the AolServer mailing list is try to get some advice about this kind of work. Is it viable? Is it valuable to OpenACS? Are there other approaches to this kind of data
manipulation inside OpenACS?

I am aware about other approaches by ]po[ with intranet-reporting-cubes module for project-open and seems Dave is working on listbuilder and I would be glad to hear from them. Also i would know if there are community members interested in develop an OLAP-like or EFEU-like reporting solution for OpenACS (i am not sure but if someone think it is necessary it could be a payable job).

Posted by Nima Mazloumi on
Sounds interesting. There are two other projects that are very useful as well Birt and JasperReports. Both two reporting engines that provide a Report Designer. Birt is also used by Pentaho.
Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
Orzenil, could you give us some brief examples of how you use EFEU, and why you find it valuable? Because the EFEU website doesn't seem to have any docs or examples at all explaining why anyone would want to use it.
Posted by Robert Taylor on
i would say a better bet would be jasper reports, far more developed and has a fairly sizeable community around it as well.