Mail merging on a backend server

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Mail merging on a backend server

Eric Wood-2
This is something I've been doing for years with WordPerfect for Linux
Server Edition:

# ./wpmerge
Usage: wpmerge [-c] form_file data_file output_file
Use -c to convert the data_file to WordPerfect format before merging.
Note: The output_file will be overwritten if it exists.

Users design their .frm files on their Windows boxes using WordPerfect 9 for
Windows, and they let the Linux server do the actual merging for them.  That
way they can do ad-hoc merges whenever they want, and merges can happen on
cron schedule in the middle of the night!  All without them having to keep
looking at the same old letter in their face.

I need a way to visually design a mail merge document in Writer, save it
over to the server, then let the server do the actual mail merging on the
backend (ie., at the command line).  The problem is how to actually
re-render the Writer document (on a headless server) to some printer
language at merge time and pipe it to the print queue.   The WordPerfect
Server edition has a huge library of printer drivers and the "output_file"
is rendered accordingly.

I just think it's a big waste for every sales rep to have to do the merging
themselves on their client, just to print it out.  There's no need for the
rep to repeatedly see the merged document on their screen before they print.
That's what a server is for, you know?

Someone mentioned saving the file in .XLT which can be easily translated in
.PS then printed... but Writer can't save in .XLT.

A fictional command would be:

$ oomerge david_thankyou.ods mergedata.tab -P hp5si

This would merge a customer(s) mergedata.tab file in David's "thank you"
letter, render the resulting doument in, say, postscript, and queue to the
HP printer.

Is there work-a-rounds?
-eric wood


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Re: Mail merging on a backend server

CPHennessy
On Sat November 19 2005 15:50, Eric Wood wrote:

> This is something I've been doing for years with WordPerfect for Linux
> Server Edition:
>
> # ./wpmerge
> Usage: wpmerge [-c] form_file data_file output_file
> Use -c to convert the data_file to WordPerfect format before merging.
> Note: The output_file will be overwritten if it exists.
>
> Users design their .frm files on their Windows boxes using WordPerfect 9
> for Windows, and they let the Linux server do the actual merging for them.
> That way they can do ad-hoc merges whenever they want, and merges can
> happen on cron schedule in the middle of the night!  All without them
> having to keep looking at the same old letter in their face.
>
> I need a way to visually design a mail merge document in Writer, save it
> over to the server, then let the server do the actual mail merging on the
> backend (ie., at the command line).  The problem is how to actually
> re-render the Writer document (on a headless server) to some printer
> language at merge time and pipe it to the print queue.   The WordPerfect
> Server edition has a huge library of printer drivers and the "output_file"
> is rendered accordingly.
>
> I just think it's a big waste for every sales rep to have to do the merging
> themselves on their client, just to print it out.  There's no need for the
> rep to repeatedly see the merged document on their screen before they
> print. That's what a server is for, you know?
>
> Someone mentioned saving the file in .XLT which can be easily translated in
> .PS then printed... but Writer can't save in .XLT.
>
> A fictional command would be:
>
> $ oomerge david_thankyou.ods mergedata.tab -P hp5si

This should actually be quite possible. The program on the server would :
1) unzip the .ODT file and in the contents.xml file recognise the data fields
        which you want to use (note that this file can be opened and
        processed by any programming language without the need for
        any OOo libraries).
2) for every record in the database generate one ODT file with the appropriate
fields filled from the vales in the record
3) call OpenOffice.org to print each of the files

--
CPH : openoffice.org contributor

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