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Searching for a electronic document / data / business intelligence tool

Hey all you open source folks out there .. I’m looking for an electronic document / data / business intelligence tool. Something where I can set up a handful of forms, collect the data, search the data, and generate nice reports.

I’m open for any language, any platform, whatever (though, PHP and python are preferred). I’ve done some searching but so far most things seem too “heavyweight” I want something “lightweight” that I can actually get into and use without dedicating the rest of my life to figuring out someone’s junk.


8 Responses to “Searching for a electronic document / data / business intelligence tool”

  1. a random John Says:

    I have a lovely treemap browser that reads CSV files and makes very pretty nested/zoomable treemaps. But it won’t help you collect the data. If you grab me at PyCon I can show it to you.

  2. philhassey Says:

    John – interesting. I’ve considered using a repository for storage before .. might have to reconsider it again, especially with stuff like bzr out now..

  3. a random John Says:

    Oh, I meant comma separated value files, so the data could be kept in an OO.o spreadsheet (or Excel) and exported as a csv. Technically I think we have a preference for pipes as the delimeter.

    In any case we allow you to apply an arbitrary hierarchy to the data so you can arrange it in various ways and then size and color it by any of the measures.

  4. JohnMc Says:

    Well 2 questions — How big will the data store be? is the data highly structured?

    If the data requirements are really light I have had some decent return on effort using PmWiki and Zap. Its a wiki, but its free wheeling ways can be an asset.

    The other alternative I have used is XML/XQuery/XSLT and tools like 4Suite. Downside is you have to write your own presentation layer and interface logic.

    Narval might be another alternative. But I have only read the docs and have not pressed it into service yet.

  5. Paddy3118 Says:

    Staroffice/OO Calc will connect to databases (which could be as simple as using a CSV file as a DB), and allows report generation/form creation etc.

    – Paddy.

  6. Alexei Says:

    Hey Random John,

    Is the treemap code you’re talking about up for grab? I’m looking for something like this for my internal project (ebook collection management).

  7. a random John Says:


    It is not currently available to the public. We put it together at the start of our current project and it struck me that the customer wasn’t really getting how powerful it was so we’ve shelved it a bit in order to focus other stuff for them. As a result we haven’t had a chance to polish it up and open source it. There are other similar products out there (easily googled) that have been released. Some of the academic ones are open source but don’t seem to do everything that ours does.

  8. no one here by that name Says:

    episurveyor by datadyne is foss for collecting survey data on Palm (mostly) PDAs – there is a pc based design tool – pretty nice stuff – simple though