I have a decent working web application (Java/Servlet/Jsp) that I would like to improve the end user experience and what they get out of using the application. The web app captures business data through html forms and stores it in an Oracle database. It has good form data input validation. I display the data back in html pages. But I want better reporting capabilities of my data, I don't want it to be just some repository.
As an example, I have an Out Of Plant scheduler. Employees enter dates they will be on Business Travel, or Vacation, Jury Duty, etc... Right now I have a series of pull downs to filter that data by say Employee ID, a Date, a Category, and then two buttons to display data in either a list format or on a calendar. This works well, but now I want to add more filters. What if someone wants to see only Business Travel events by only employees in Dept 123. Or what if the user would like to show Holiday and Jury Duty events? Is there something better to use than just html form widgets, pull donws, check boxes and search fields?
This is the dilema for all my web apps. I collect data and want a great way to present this data back to the end user as information, not just data.
Is this a job for jquery, ajax, BIRT, etc...?? Having an easy way to make bar charts & graphs of a query I conceive with the end user filters applied is desired too. Oh and of course upper management loves excel documents. Right now I can spit out Excel by specifying the reponse header in the java servlet.
BTW, this is a one man show, I am the programmer and designer.