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Well it's time for another roadmap with version 11 about to drop. So first let's cover what has recently shipped:

  1. Javelin – provides the engine including scheduling reports to run and be saved and/or emailed running as a RESTful web service. We're providing this as both a server a customer can install and a SAAS on our server. It's not only great for scheduling reports, but it makes our reporting engine available to languages that cannot call the Java or .NET engine directly (like native Python).
  2. AutoTag JAX – can talk directly to Javelin pushing up templates to be scheduled and looking at the results of scheduled runs.
  3. AutoQuery – Our new B.I. product. This is an awesome product where it provides the same functionality as Microsoft Crescent, but does so entirely in Microsoft Office so unlike Crescent you do not need to install SharePoint, Delphi, etc. and then configure and administer the server.

Shipping in mid-October are the following two products:

  1. Wishbone – a web app that searches twitter feeds to see what words are being used in conjunction with the word entered.
  2. Version 11.0 – This brings the following functionality to our entire family of products:
  3. Native charts – charts in the template that are not chart tags but rather are just plain old office charts are now carried over to the output. If the output is the matching file type, it's an Office chart. If the format is not Office, it's a rendered PDF chart. Either way it's super cool.
  4. AutoTag Debugger – from AutoTag you will be able to run a template and stop in the debugger as it extracts and/or applies tags generating the report. This should help a lot in tracking down subtle errors in the run-time logic of a template.
  5. Bookmark tag – you can now place bookmarks in the template using a select. These can be linked to from hyperlinks.
  6. Support for Office 2000 has been dropped – We have dropped this because Office 2000 is rarely used and has some serious limitations in the API it provides to AutoTag.
  7. Function tag removed – this was deprecated in version 9 and is now removed. Please use custom functions instead.
  8. Beans deprecated (replaced with IEventHandler) – this, along with custom functions, provides a cleaner and more powerful way to provide a run-time response to the reporting engine.

Coming over the rest of this we'll be shipping the following features:

  1. Nickname support for tags in PowerPoint templates – The number one request from PowerPoint users is to reduce the tags from the long full text of a tag to a nickname (as we can do in Word and Excel). One of our developers came up with a really interesting way to do this – we're making them hyperlinks.
  2. Chart and bitmap tags in Excel/PowerPoint will be charts/bitmaps – We added this first in Word and customers love it so we're adding it to Excel and PowerPoint.
  3. Cubes as a datasource – Up till now accessing a cube required using a connector that pretended it was a SQL database. This works ok but adds some complexity. We are adding native support for cubes including a wizard for the native selects.
  4. AutoQuery on Javelin – AutoQuery is great but it does require Office to perform your ad-hoc reports and drill-down. This will push the functionality up to our Javelin server so that you can design the B.I. template in Office, push it up to Javelin, then anyone with a browser can run their queries.

And then there's next year. Well first we have to rest from the Christmas break and digest all the excess food we ate. And then we will probably be writing our own chart renderer to perfectly match the output of Office and provide interactive drill-down/pop-up functionality in the charts in AutoQuery. Aside from that, we will probably take a look at what we have seen in feedback from version 11 to determine what else.

As always, if you have a question, please ask.

Thanks – dave

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.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

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

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"

Rename a Datasource

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

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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

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).

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

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.

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.

Tags are Color Coded

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

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.

Advanced Image Properties

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

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

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

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.

David Thielen

President/CEO at Windward Studios

From his early years as a Senior Developer at Microsoft, to legendary designer of the popular Enemy Nations strategy game, to reporting and document generation guru, Dave has never lost his passion for building superb software and teams.

Written by:_
David Thielen
President/CEO at Windward Studios


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