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.
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 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:
Note: Error Handling is limited to these tags: Out, Import, Set, ForEach, Query, If, Switch, Case, Link, and Bookmark
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 files, web-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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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
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.
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.
This is a short list of small feature improvements that can make a big difference.
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.