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What Can I Expect in Version 15.1, 15.2 and Javelin?

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Version 15 has been mainly focused on its central theme of improving product usability.  In the recent months, our development team has been hard at work improving several core features as well as creating new ones, all to make working with Windward smoother than ever.

A lot has been accomplished and while I would like to list everything, I am only going to focus on the major improvements and additions. 

Introducing Windward’s Error Handling and Verify Feature

A client came to use with a unique feature request.  The ability to be able to allow a report to continue running that contained errors but also have the ability to view these errors in full form listed from the Engine as well as visually resolve them in AutoTag.  Windward’s development team worked through several iterations alongside project management and the client to deliver the Error Handling and Verify feature.

Error Handling must first be setup on each tag you wish to log errors.  Afterwards, you can run the Verify option to display any errors in your report to start resolving them.  Error Handling and Verify have been added to AutoTag, .NET, Java and RESTFul Engines.

Error Handling            

Error Handling has the ability to be set individually on every tag in a Windward template.  It can be set under the Properties pane in the Tag Editor Window by clicking the 3 dots icon (…).  You will be presented with the following options:

  • Incorrect Data Type Issues
  • Incorrect Formatting Issues
  • Bad Select Statements
  • Referencing a Node that Does Not Exist
  • Referencing a Node that Returns a NULL Value
  • Treat the warning as an Error

Note:  Error Handling is limited to these tags: Out, Import, Set, ForEach, Query, If, Switch, Case, Link, and Bookmark

Verify

Verify is a visual tool that will allow users to see more detailed information about each error as well as additional common issues listed below.  These common issues do not need to be enabled on each tag and will always be reported.

Verification Issues

  • Unused Data Source
  • Undefined Data Source
  • Elements Generating Off Page
  • Invisible Tags Detected

Verify can also be enable to run by default on report generation by turning on “Verify On Report Generation”  setting in the AutoTag Options Menu.

 

Redesigned Data Connection Editor

Originally announced in our version 15 release blog, we have continued to improve the functionality of the Data Connection Editor.

  • Updated status icons to easily identify if you are connectednot connected or there is a problem with the connection.
  • New Connections are easier to create as the connection types are organized into three categories SQLWeb/File and Apps.
  • Existing Connections and New Connections are now separated into two distinct tabs
  • Connections are sorted into Active and Inactive areas with the ability to connect or disconnect data connections
  • Upon renaming a data source connection Name, you will be prompted if you want AutoTag to automatically update all tags to the new Name.

Resolve Connection Issues with the New Connection Debugger

We have also introduced a Connection Debugger button when the connection you are trying to create has a problem.  This button will appear to the left of the Test button when an error is encountered.   More details on debugging SQLand XML connections are found in the links to each.

 

New SQL Stored Procedure Wizard

Previously working with a Stored Procedure meant you had to replace all input parameters with values or variables by hand.  Worse yet, you could not be sure of the type of data that each parameter needed.  With the new Stored Procedure Wizard, AutoTag visually guides you through the process of selecting both the type and value of each input parameter.

Hone Your SQL Query Writing Skills

We know that writing SQL is not always the easiest thing in the world and some queries can become what seems infinitely long and just as complex.

Not to worry.

Whether you need to get a clearer view of your queries or you just want a different look, the new options in the Query Editor Pane will make writing your inconceivably complex queries satisfying.

  • Format queries in native SQL format
  • Change the color scheme to be easier on your eyes
  • Increase of decrease query fonts for those times when you lose (and then find again) your glasses.
  • Turn on query format checking underlining to get your attention when you query logic just doesn’t add up.

Preview your Data Directly in the Data Bin

Ever wondered what data was stored in that item you were about to drag out to the template from the Data Bin?  Now you don’t have to, with the Preview Top 20 Rows feature you will be able to see a preview of your data directly in the Data Bin.

One Access Provide to Rule All Your Data Connections

When we constantly try to increase the number of data connections Windward can support; eventually, the issue of the different ways in which you can connect to each enters the picture.   For us, that time is now.   We have just implemented a Universal Access Provider for all Web and File based Data Connections.

OK, that’s great but what does this mean?

We realize that you can store your XML files, JSON files or even pictures of your dog Wombat in places and access them in different ways with different security.  We have now added these security options when you need to retrieve that crucial picture of Wombat’s destruction of your holiday party 6 years ago.

So rest assured that you will now be able to retrieve your data in all the super secret secure ways you were trained in Ninja school.

Windward Access Providers framework now gives you the following options to connect to your filesweb-based data or content your retrieve from your import tags.  You just need to select the Authentication Protocol you are using and provide the proper connection credentials so successfully authentication with a username, password, Windows Identity or token.

Output to PDF Using Microsoft Word

PDF layout has always been tricky.  Windward made signification strides in the last year rewriting its PDF Engine internally in order to move away from iText.  It gave us much more control and the ability to make corrections much faster.  However, we still had clients that were creating very graphic intensive reports.  In order to address the alignment issues now while we continue to add advanced support for Windward PDF output, we created the Office PDF render mode.  This feature uses Microsoft Word’s  Engine to create the PDF output of a Windward generated report. To enable this feature you will need to turn it on in the AutoTag Options window, selecting Use Office for PDF Output.

Another note, when you output to Windward PDF, we now use WMZ files to convert to PDF Primitives.

 

Updated Output Options

As with each release, we are constantly improving the ways our users can generate reports from their templates.  This release is not different, we are proud to introduce the follow output format additions!

Direct to Printer

After implementing our direct to printer output we received a lot of feedback about how we could make it better.  In answering the call we have added the following features.

  • Ability to assign and reference the Print Job Name
  • Duplex printing (we are helping to save a few more trees!)
  • Ability to print the first page only.

More Output Formats

It has long been requested that we add support for image based output as well as increase support for output options in the Unix landscape.  Here are three output formats that should make those users very happy.

Javelin is Growing Up

Javelin is being used more and more by our clients and through that increased usage have come several requests for additional functionality.  Among them were security, report history and SELECT input parameter support.  More detail below

Added permissions for users and Active Directory and LDAP integration

  • Read
  • Write
  • Run
  • Schedule
  • Read generated report

Registering and Editing New Users in Javelin

 Report History tab

Our users wanted the ability to see not only who had run a report at which times but also what the report looked like at that time.   The reports history tab allows you to see this information, download past reports along with viewing errors during running scheduled and manual reports.

Select Drop Down Input Parameters Support

AutoTag can create input parameters that return a list of values to pick from when running your report.  This functionality has been extended to the Javelin interface to enable drop down lists to propagate from Select input parameters that return multiple values.

Miscellaneous Feature Improvements

This is a short list of small feature improvements that can make a big difference.

  • Additional RESTful sample code options added to Generate Code
  • Prompts for automatically updating any tag that references a variable when the variable name is changed or updated.
  • Import tags now use the default URL in its AutoTag Preview
  • PODs now automatically display the POD Bin after loading a new POD and it will only show PODs created for the same Microsoft Office app (IE, no more showing Excel PODs in Word POD Bins)
  • Installer has been updated to show whether it is the 32 or 64 bit version of the installer for easier identification.
  • The Equation Editor no longer requires quotes to be placed around string values or select variables when used with OData data sources.
  • Clean Template
  • All samples shipped with Windward have been updated to the new tag color coding format
  • Now keeps bitmap and chart tags instead of converting them to fields upon conversion.
  • Performance
  • Find/Replace has a new and improved algorithm for better performance
  • Calculation of Word tables has been vastly improved for better accuracy and report generation speed.
  • JSON
  • You can now set the character encoding of a JSON data source.
  • SELECT input parameter support was added.
  • Metadata abilities were enhanced.
  • Query Editor and Wizard were improved.
  • Now handles connections to just a filename or a URL (XML as well).
  • OData
  • Added a connection debugger for OData using the odata.org website.

 

We Had to Remove a Few Things…

As with any release, the more we pack into the product the more we have to look at what should stay and what should go.  We have given notification of the features that are being deprecated and removed previously.  So this is just a formal announcement that those features will no longer exist in version 15 going forward.

  • RTF and WordML templates are no longer supported.
  • WordML output is no longer supported. However, RTF output is still supported.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited! Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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.

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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"

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Rename a Datasource

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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.

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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.

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tags are Color Coded

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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.

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Advanced Image Properties

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Version 13 New Data Sources

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

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

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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:_
Roman Matskiv
Product Marketing Manager at Windward Studios

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