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Box Review

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The pandemic has brought to the fore the need to be able to collaborate on documents without being physically present. Many businesses and individuals that had not considered cloud storage solutions have been forced to start searching and adopt one. Box is one of the leading options especially because of its document and file collaboration features among others. Although many may be more familiar with Drobox and Google Docs, Box is an option that can give a run for the money to what you may be used to. Let’s delve into this comprehensive Box review.

What is Box?

If cloud storage is new to you, then you certainly would want to know what is Box. It is cloud storage that allows users to upload files from their desktops, mobile phones, and any other internet-connected devices. Once the files are uploaded, they can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have an internet-enabled device. With 10 GB of free storage space, that is physically weight off your shoulder if you run a business that is heavily dependent on documents that you might have had to carry around in a bag.

Learn about our Hub and Box integration here to create and manage your documents from start to finish.

Box Storage

Box provides more than just storage for files, it is also a secure environment to share and manage files. Box storage is HIPAA compliant so users can be certain that sensitive information can be kept there with minimal risk of unauthorized persons gaining access to it. Some businesses use Box cloud storage as backup storage for their documents that they can access quickly and easily. Making the shift from office to working from home doesn’t have to involve carrying huge files to your home.

Box App

The Box app is available both on the Play Store and Apple store as well. It is described as one of the best cloud storage options and even received raving reviews from PC Magazine. For people who want to get work done on the go, this app is handy. Its ability to connect with other apps and accept files in different formats makes it a great Office tool. Even with the free version, it can get a lot done right from storing documents to collaborating and automating processes using a mobile device.

How to Use Box?

The first step in your Box journey is to sign up for an account. This is an easy step that anyone should be able to go through by simply following the prompts. When you have an account, you may need to know the following tools.

Box Notes: This tool helps you collaborate with other people on a document. You can write comments and update content using this.

Box: This is a mobile tool that allows you to access files stored on your account while using mobile devices.

Box Sync: It helps you access documents on your account using a desktop.

Edit: Use this tool to create and edit documents using your PC.

Capture: When you take photos or capture videos using a mobile device, this tool saves them onto your cloud account.

You will need to remember that Box doesn’t have an inbuilt editor, if you want to create a document, you need to have an App like Microsoft Office or Google Docs to do that.

Box Platform

For developers and anyone trying to create customized apps, Box platform is designed to meet their demands. It provides APIs which users can utilize to create their own applications. This tool is particularly helpful for enterprises looking to integrate other apps with Box. There’s no reason to start from scratch. The platform takes care of all the initial work that has to be done and the user can then customize it to their preference. Automation is achieved seamlessly and different groups can collaborate using the platform while a business manages content in the background.

Is Box Secure?

With all the storage, sharing, and collaboration going on, it is only natural to question if Box secure? The security for the app and software is designed according to strict industry standards to enable worry-free sharing, storage, and management of content. First of all, all data entered is encrypted from end to end. Files are also regularly backed up to ensure there is no loss of data. Access to files is grunted after 2-factor authentication. It is safe to say that Box is equipped to guarantee secure file sharing and to meet just about every industry’s safety standards.

Box File Sharing

Users of Box are not just looking for a place to store data, they depend on the cloud storage provider to also perform day to day tasks with that data. Box file sharing fits slickly into any business’s daily tasks like collaborating on documents, sharing information, and utilizing data to create more documents. Files can be shared with several apps for example files can be sent from Box to an email address or accounting software to create invoices, receipts, and so on. Box sharing is compatible with several enterprise apps.

Box Document Management

Certain features of Box can make it a worthy consideration as a DMS. Box document management hinges specifically on the following features:

  • Setting up workflows is easy and users can streamline daily tasks and document approvals.
  • With encryption and cloud authentication, Box can offer secure file sharing.
  • It can be used to automate document quality.
  • Document sharing is flexible to enable easy upload and sharing regardless of document formats.

Box Online Storage

For busy people that like to access their documents on the go, Box online storage is the perfect solution. With the app installed on your phone, tablet, or any other mobile device, you can quickly access your files. It also helps to organize your device and free up physical space on your phone since files are stored online.

Box for Business

Small to medium businesses can make use of the Box for business plan. With unlimited storage space and other starter plan features, there’s a lot that can be accomplished especially when working with teams. Collaboration is made easier when they utilize Box cloud storage. The pricing is also easy on the pocket.

Box Features

The majority of Box features make it ideal for businesses even though it can also be used by individuals who just need extra storage space and a solution to manage files across their devices. These key features include:

  • The tool can be run on all browsers.
  • Secure file sharing that supports all formats.
  • Flawless document collaboration.
  • Supports improved document automation.
  • Enabled permission settings for file sharing.
  • Integrates with other applications.
  • Adherence to privacy guidelines.
  • It can be scaled up or down to suit any business size.

As you use Box, you will discover more features that make it great for business as well as private use.

Box File Transfer

Box file transfer is described as hassle-free and that is accurately put. Whether you need to transfer a large file or a small one, you can do this securely and not even have to worry if the other person has a Box account. You can share a link via email and it will authorize the receiver to gain access to a file. With over 120 file formats supported, this is an easy solution for file transfer.

Box Free Storage Limit

Box is very generous with its free storage. A user will get 10GB free cloud storage once they sign up for an account. The Box free storage limit can also be bumped up to 50GB for people who download the iOS Box app. This was an offer that the company provided to celebrate their iOS app.

Box Vs Drobox

The battle of cloud storage providers will rage on as they try to impress users with different features. Box vs Dropbox is a common comparison and the competition seems fairly matched.

Let's take a look at some key defining comparisons:

Free storage: While Box offers a 10GB free storage limit, Drobox is a bit tight-fisted with a 2GB limit. If you are looking for personal storage, 2GB is okay but let's face it, Box is on a roll here.

Pricing: Box pricing plans accommodate 4 tiers. They are targeted at businesses with 3 to 10 person teams. The 100 GB storage may be a bit of a disappointment but an upgrade can give users unlimited storage. Drobox on the other hand has 3 plans. On a standard plan, a user has access to 3TB storage and it caters to a minimum of 5 users. The more you pay, the better it gets. Box cloud service and Drobox offer competitive pricing though some people feel Box may be on the higher side.

Security: Safety of user’s data is a main concern for cloud storage providers. Box and Drobox are aware of this and offer more than convincing security with encryption, password protection, and administrative features that ensure control of who has access to files. However, Box complies with HIPAA guidelines and that could be a deciding factor for some industries.

Verdict: It is a photo finish here, both Box and Drobox have features that make them great options. In the end, it may come down to small features that suit a business best. Determining which cloud storage is best might be a never-ending debate. Users simply need to find one that meets their needs.

When all is said and done, Box can give a user more than just file sharing and storage. In a fast-paced world, it is a relief to know that the Box folder can also be used for automation. Content stored in the folders can be accessed for document automation. You can also create workflows that incorporate cloud storage into daily tasks.

Box Review

In the end, most Box reviews focus on its generous 10 GB storage that every user gets once they create an account. There is however more to take note of such as its ease of use, collaboration abilities, and how it integrates with other third-party tools. Overall, when put head-to-head with other competitors like DropBox, it puts up a decent challenge as seen above. On average, user reviews indicate they are happy with its performance even though some paid customers feel they should have more storage space.

If you’ve just discovered us, we’re excited. Try Windward Hub for free and take it for a spin. Start automating documents in just a few clicks starting today.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

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SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

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Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

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Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

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Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

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Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

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Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

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PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

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Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

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Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

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Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

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Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

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Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

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Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Written by:_
Genesis Abel

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