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What Users Really Think About Windward Studios

Product

Over the last year, Windward Studios has kept its spot as the top ranked document generation tool, according to IT Central Station’s user community. These Windward Studios reviews come from enterprise tech professionals from a wide range of industries, and all offer a glimpse into their unique experiences with the solution without vendor bias.

As the IT Central Station team combed through the reviews, however, we found that many of Windward’s customers highlighted similar benefits that contributed to the tool’s consistent top ranking. This post will go into four of these top-mentioned benefits in more details, which we hope will help others looking for authentic, impartial tech reviews in their market research.

Time Savings

One major benefit discussed in Windward Studios’ reviews is the time savings it provides:

“The templates used to have to be filled out individually for each file. We currently have over 5000 files active in our system, so this saves the user a lot of time.” - Paul F., Web Specialist

“It saves our time in designing reports. It creates better layouts and performance. We already have more than 20 templates. We output PDF and Word formats.” - Haleh M., .Net Developer - Data Analyst

Smart Document Functionality

Another major benefit that came up in Windward Studios’ reviews is the fact that their customers can create customized templates within the documents themselves:

“We have multiple banks using our system, and they all have different formatting needs. AutoTag allows our users to design the templates based on differing needs of the banks. So the ability Windward provides for users to have design and layout control is important.” - Paul F., Web Specialist

“Portable Object Doclets (PODs), from a usability perspective, are great. If I have a header that is needed in multiple documents, I could just create a POD for that header portion of it, then drag and drop that POD in any template that I want. I don't have to worry about recreating it in multiple places. It's simply create it once and reuse it multiple times.” - Hit M., Vice President at PSC Group, LLC

Intuitive Interface

Another benefit that comes up frequently in Windward Studios’ reviews is their interface, which is particularly intuitive due to its ability to offer templates within the Microsoft Office Suite:

“The two features that I like the best are the ability to generate Word and Excel documents, and the ability to create my templates directly inside those software sets. It's absolutely

critical for me as a user to have design and layout control, because all of my reports are very, very customized. I have to have control over the ability to generate and to control what they look like.” - Mike B., Co-owner at a tech company

“It uses Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel as base templates, so when you generate, it's easy for clients to upgrade, and maintain, and generate out either a PDF or an actual Excel spreadsheet.” - Jim A., SVP, Product Development and Quality Assurance at a tech vendor

Cost Savings

Windward Studios’ ability to reduce overall costs is another top-mentioned benefit discussed in their reviews:

“It has helped reduce costs. Maybe not in a direct way, helping us, but we are helping our customers to reduce their costs.” - Head of Client Evolution And Services at AxeFinance

“It means we can let our clients maintain the templates directly, without our involvement. Previously, it was very messy and clients were not happy with the costs of maintaining and updating templates.” - COO at a tech services company

Want to learn more about what enterprise technology professionals really think about this tool? Read more Windward Studios reviews on IT Central Station.

Want to share your opinions about Windward Studios with our community? Write your own review.

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About the author

Danielle Felder

Danielle is the Senior Social Media and Content Manager for IT Central Station. She brings four years of B2B and B2C experience to her role, with a focus on connecting enterprise technology professionals with IT Central Station’s most helpful user reviews. Danielle has a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, and applies her passion for research to learning about enterprise technology tools and trends.

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

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 process the template handling each tag in order, and each tags can pull from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select in a tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one datasource, 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. Additional details ...

This blog was written by:_

For over 10 years, Windward has lead the industry with our world-class document generation platform that creates visually stunning, data-powered documents designed exactly the way users want and are created in a fraction of the time and cost compared to existing solutions. Proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, Windward Studios is the premier solution for developers and business users adding reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in over 70 countries around the world.

© 2019 Windward Studios Inc.

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