[reportlab-users] ReportLab vs LaTex

Warvin Barker crp2006 at shaw.ca
Wed Dec 27 10:55:54 EST 2006

Hi Time!

I want to thank you for taking the time to think about this and write such an extensive reply. Your comments will definitely assist us in making a decision.

Have a VERY happy holiday season and I hope that 2007 is excellent for you and yours!



----- Original Message -----
From: timr at probo.com
Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 11:23 pm
Subject: Re: [reportlab-users] ReportLab vs LaTex

> On Tue, Dec 26, 2006 at 09:43:24PM -0800, crp2006 at shaw.ca wrote:

> >

> > Our workplace may be able to use ReportLab's properties to good

> avail. We

> > have committed to being a Python shop, so that fits. We do some

> publishing> that involves basically the same text (minor changes

> every 6 months, say)

> > but detailed database queries that we need to run into tables

> and graphs

> > (ReportLab has some very nice graphical facilities!).

> >

> > We might need indices and bibliographies - are there ReportLab

> facilities> for that sort of thing? How do these compare to LaTex?

> > How about mathematical equations and other math typesetting? Is

> there> support for that (it isn't necessary, but it might be handy

> so I threw that

> > in. . .).


> You can DO all of these things in both packages, although they

> aren't

> equally easy. I was going to reply that LaTeX and ReportLab are

> really

> aimed at two different problem domains, but I eventually decided that

> wasn't quite true.


> With LaTeX, you just enter text, and the existing LaTeX macros

> decide how

> they should be placed on the page. With ReportLab, you place each

> itemyourself, at precisely the location you want it. ReportLab

> works at a

> lower level than LaTeX. The basic ReportLab package is

> essentially a

> friendly wrapper around PostScript.


> Of course, the real situation is not that clear-cut. ReportLab

> includesPlatypus, which does provide word-wrapping and flowables.


> Remember that LaTeX produces a format that has to be converted to PDF.

> Reportlab produces PDF directly.


> > How about just plain text formatting? Are the results

> comparable to LaTex?


> Results in what sense? In many ways, ReportLab gives you much

> more control

> over your output than LaTeX. LaTeX has a vast set of formatting

> rules, and

> if your project wants to vary from those rules, life is very

> difficult.With ReportLab, everything is under your control. On

> the other hand, with

> ReportLab, you have to worry about a lot of details that LaTeX

> handles for

> you.


> > It would be possible to use ReportLab to do some database

> queries, snag the

> > numbers and then spit out the -always-the-same LaTex code and

> start the pdf

> > creation process. . . Is this a silly route to take?


> Yes. ReportLab doesn't have anything to do with databases. It's

> quitepossible to use Python code to query a database and generate

> LaTeX code,

> but you couldn't feed ReportLab's output into LaTeX.


> > Thanks for any input on this! Without being an expert in both

> systems it is

> > impossible to really have an accurate idea as to what might be best.


> It depends on your expertise. If your group is comfortable with

> LaTeX, it

> would probably be expedient to generate LaTeX, and let the LaTeX tools

> produce your PDF. If your group is comfortable with Python and knows

> something about PDF files, then it might behoove you to dig into

> ReportLab.--

> Tim Roberts, timr at probo.com

> Providenza & Boeklheide, Inc.

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