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):
- 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).
- 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.
- TagTree – will show you a tree of all tags that you can then go to by double clicking on one.
- 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.
- 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.
- Conditional formatting just like Excel – but you can use it in Word and PowerPoint too.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We now fully support table styles.
- We have added a wizard for setting parameter values for stored procedure calls.
- The functionality of datasets has been greatly expanded.
- 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.
- 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.
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