Report writer for Python?

François Pinard pinard at
Fri Oct 18 06:11:02 CEST 2002

[Adams-Blake Co.]

> Andy Robinson wrote:

>> Visual tools usually don't allow reuse, and have serious limits on what
>> you can do.  Controlling it all in Python gives total flexibility.

Indeed.  This makes ReportLab quite attractive.

> I read the docs to ReportLab and I was really impressed by what it could 
> do.  The problem is that it is really LOW level.

Yet, one might package a few Style classes ("style" like in a LaTeX style,
say) once and for all for usual applications.  ReportLab already offer
flowing facilities which are fairly high level.  Combining everything
properly, these Style classes might implement of kind of language of a few
high-level primitives using Python syntax (and implemented in Python of
course).  Users might limit themselves to these primitives afterwards, and
this might hide ReportLab internals, making it usable for non-programmers.

On the other hand, I have the unverified feeling that one would have a _lot_
of work to do with and over ReportLab before getting a quality of typography
which would be comparable to what TeX produces.  Besides overall high-level
presentation styles, I wonder how easy or natural would it be implementing
for a ReportLab application medium-level features like, say, stretchable
glue in both directions, or per-language segmentation/hyphenation patterns?

My ReportLab knowledge is still fairly young and shallow, I apologise for
possibly naive questions.  I wonder at the font level, if ReportLab is able
to automatically handle some details which TeX grants us.  Available
encodings do not seem to hold usual ligatures, and I surely miss them in
ReportLab output so far.  And how well does ReportLab handle kerning?

François Pinard

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