ITGS Syllabus

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Topic 62

Report generation by Raymon

With all the technology and information available in the world today, there is a need for a method of some sort to organize this data into coherent forms. After collecting gigabytes of numbers and other forms of data, someone has to take it all and put it into some from where it can be used. At least, someone did, a long time ago. Now, however, the sheer volumes of data being collected would mean that a person would have to spend months writing up a complete report, and by then, the report would be useless. In addition, a person always makes mistakes such as typos and reading from the wrong column, so there is need of a more precise and speedy way of creating the thousand-page reports that consulting firms and such need – and there is. Such software, called automated report generators, can generate millions of rows of information, graph it, and organize it in the matter in minutes, or, in the most extreme cases, an hour or two.

Report Generation software takes data in a certain format, reads all the data and puts it each value into the appropriate area. The formats used for storing the data are great in number, but the most common and flexible one available is the international standard XML. The newest version of Microsoft Office uses xml for all its document formats (The new .docx, .xlsx, .pptx formats). XML works as follows:

· The document is set up in a series of tags, such as , , and . Each tag has a closing tag in the form of , etcetera. Tags can be nested, in the form of .

· Values are put inside tags, with the tag representing the identity of the value and where it goes. For instance, the tag could denote a new row, then each tag could contain , , and tags, each of whice represent one column>.

· Therefore, a sample XML Document could look like:

John Doe

David Smith

The software would then take this information and parse it, turning it into readable, printable data. It would go through the document, starting at the tag. Then, at , it would begin typing on a new row. It takes the values enclosed in the , , and tags, putting them into the respective columns in order. At , it would close the row and move down one row. It will continue, then stop when it reaches .

In such a way, software can do very quickly what would take a human a long time to complete – with no mistakes and perfect handwriting. Report generation is very important to the success of a business, as it is required for that business to present information to other firms, and the cleaner and more complete the data is made, the better the communication between the companies.


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