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Upgrading to Windward version 10


This post comes out of a discussion we had at work today where I discussed why I would like to get all of our customers to upgrade to version 10. I think the reasons are compelling and so I want to share them.

First off, for anyone on version 7 or earlier, the SQL and XPath wizards in AutoTag alone are a gigantic reason to update. In version 9 we took a totally different approach for both and the new wizards make creating selects a lot faster and a gigantic amount easier. With the version 8 wizards any business user can easily construct moderately complex selects. Watch the video for the SQL Wizard and XPath wizard and you'll quickly see how this will save you big-time.

Now let's discuss what we get in version 10 (some of these came in version 9 but many of those were further refined in version 10):

  1. Macros – you get all of the common macros in Excel. These can be used in Word and PowerPoint as well as Excel and can be used in any tag. In addition you can write your own macros. This replaces beans and the function tag (which are both being removed in version 11).
  2. PODs – you can drop in anything as a POD in your templates. As little as a single tag and as much as a 1,000 page template with hundreds of tags, tables, charts, etc.
  3. TagTree – will show you a tree of all tags that you can then go to by double clicking on one.
  4. Chart tags are charts and bitmap tags are bitmaps in Word 2007/2010. (This will be in Excel and PowerPoint in version 11.) This means you set all chart & bitmap properties directly in Word using Word's menu commands to set the properties. All the tag does is provide the data.
  5. Enhanced forEach tag abilities including column major iteration (creating columns based on data rather than rows), paired tables, etc. Anything you need to do over a set of data with a table – you can now do it.
  6. Conditional formatting just like Excel – but you can use it in Word and PowerPoint too.
  7. We now set parameters (optionally) in selects as variables using setParameter() instead of using string substitution. (Note: for XPath on the Java engine we still do string substitution as dom4j does not support this.) This both increases security (no SQL injection attacks) and handles all necessary escaping and quoting of parameters.
  8. XPath selects can now be sorted. So a forEach loop using XML data can now have those results in the order you want instead of the order they appear in the XML file.
  9. A much more powerful search/replace for your tags. This is a life-saver at times when you're trying to find a tag with a problem select and you don't know where it is.
  10. We now fully support table styles.
  11. We have added a wizard for setting parameter values for stored procedure calls.
  12. The functionality of datasets has been greatly expanded.
  13. A ton of little things. For example, one of our customers needed section breaks inserted before/after an import tag imported a sub-document. So this is now available as a property. New features like this can save a lot of time and/or make it possible to do things that previously were complicated or impossible.
  14. The reporting engine is now available in a SAAS model.

What makes version 10 so compelling is that last 4 months we have been focused on tweaking every feature to make sure it works in the best way possible and adding any little touches needed to complete functionality. This has meant nothing major in new features so that we could tighten everything up. The result is a consistent complete product. And a feature set that will significantly increase productivity.

So please, upgrade to 10.2 as soon as possible. And once you've upgraded, please remove any use of beans and the function tag – they're supported in version 10 but are going away in version 11.

If you have any questions about upgrading, please call us or shoot us an email.

Thanks – dave

Ps – For version 11 & 12 they will mostly be about new features. If you need those features then yes upgrade. But if you don't, then version 10 will remain a very good platform for the next several years.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Know more about Windward and get your 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.

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
Windward © 2021 All Rights Reserved.


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