Python supports many possible solutions for printing. We have looked at three: automating Word, using Windows graphics calls from PythonWin, and directly generating PDF documents. The recent evolution of a standard graphics API for Python with a variety of backends should provide more output formats in the future. The PDFgen/PIDDLE solution is lightweight (under 50 KB of code and font data), multiplatform, and scalable to large print runs; it follows the architecture of many high-volume corporate reporting systems, but with a much nicer language.
Returning to Doubletalk, our users already had an extensible application that allowed them to create their own views of the data. They are now in a position to create their own reports easily with no limits on graphical capabilities—whether as a back office job in itself, from another application, or on the Web—and to store electronic copies where they want.