[Spam] [reportlab-users] RE: Visual editor: what are the objectives?

Rajeev Joseph Sebastian rajeev_jsv at dinamis.com
Sat Dec 3 19:33:23 EST 2005

> I agree with these goals - and I think of all the GUI toolkits,
> wxPython is the one I am happiest with.   For me the key factor
> is that it installs without problems on all the key platforms - in fact
> I've just discovered wxPython is preinstalled on Mac OS Tiger.
> Fernando, how do you want to start?  Do you know enough to
> get something running which others can work on later?  Would you like
> this to work as a subdirectory of our distribution and to have a
> subversion account?
> I also have a lot of ideas about how future versions of Reportlab
> could work better with a GUI, and about the intermediate file formats
> it might need to create. But it would be nice to know a project was
> starting before I make lots of promises...

We are starting our project for Visual editor (well, more like IDE rather than 
a drawing software), for RL. However, it would diverge from the 
recommendations above because we are writing it in PyQt/Qt-C++. So it would 
be good to know some of your ideas, since you work so closely with the code 
from day to day. I think, the ideas are cross-toolkit unlike whatever people 
may feel about the GUI-toolkit :)

Basically, we have divided the task into 2 parts based on the current 
organization of RL architecture viz., a page template designer, and a story 

The page template designer, is of course quite generic. The story designer 
would support multiple editors for each type of object, e.g., Tables would 
have their own editor, so would Charts, Graphs and so on.

(We had initially thought to have a more traditional 
report-page-section-detail type organization, but now we are thinking if 
there is a mechanism for doing both, i.e., have a generic system and a layer 
of the report-page-section-detail over it. Any ideas on this ? Perhaps using 
Tables ? In our current reports, we use tables extensively.)

As far as intermediate files are concerned, we don't have any ideas yet on 
that, since we are still grappling with the actual use cases for such a 
project: it is quite obscure what exactly should be implemented. RL+Python 
provides such potent combination, that I am not sure what exactly would 
constitute a Visual editor for RL since it shouldn't end up being just a text 
editor (or Python IDE :) ).

All in all, it would be really great to see some of your ideas on a potential 
GUI, since you are so familiar with the use cases.

We are also planning some changes to RL wrt to the text model (to make it 
unicode capable). We had quite a bit of trouble getting RL to produce unicode 
text and in the end chose to stay with latin-1 (with some hackery).

Btw, as regards wxPython, I do suggest taking a look at some of the 
higher-level frameworks above "pure" wxPython, notably some of the 
samples/extra modules provided in the distribution. They will be much worth 
your while since wx is quite a demanding toolkit to use. (If I remember 
right, they are also undocumented ...)

Rajeev J Sebastian

Dinamis Corporation
3266 Yonge Street, Suite 1419
Toronto, ON
Canada  M4N 3P6

+1 416-410-3326

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