By way of introduction I would like to remark on why I've joined a tech forum in the first place. I am currently developing a web application for managing worker's compensation cases. I am experienced with worker's comp systems as I spent 16 years developing and maintaining an Informix 4GL system. Unnetworked character based systems are a hard sell these days, however. What I'm hoping for, with this community, at least for the short term, are some ideas about how to output data from the web app for automatic use on clients. As an example, the user choses to print a boilerplate letter from the web app. The letter template and the selected data from the app's database are downloaded to the client. In most instances the letter should be printed automatically but I will have some in which additional, on-client editing will need to be done.
I need to figure out the best ways to handle this for MS Word, Word Perfect and of course for OpenOffice. The app is written in PHP4 (I'll probably release it in PHP5) with alot of Ajax. The database is MySQL, however I'd like to find an abstraction layer at least for Postgresql.
Aside from this I'd love to find a way to get back to GIS related work. Once upon a time I had a career as a geographer - professional cartographer actually. This was at the very beginning of the advent of GIS (geographical information systems), which is now a huge business. At the time of my involvement "number crunching" was done on main frames such as a Burroughs.
For a time I had a copy of GRASS on a Red Hat linux machine. I'm not sure what the status of this package is today but it was an open source GIS system with quite a bit of functionality. My current economic situation precludes much playing around, however. I have this workers' comp system as well as a real estate listing app under development (both on spec) but my only real income these days is from working the hardware aisles of my local Home Depot store.
Thanks for the opportunity to communicate.