by Dave Thielen
The coolest part of Windward, to me, is creating new products and extending the functionality of our existing products. That’s my main driver – creating exceptional software.
So let’s talk about what’s coming the rest of this year. First for the engine and desktop designer—Q2 our goal is to make them cloud complete. This encompasses a number of things, first of which is to port the .Net Engine to .Net Core. Second is to add functionality to the designer so it can provide a U.I. into the Hub from the designer.
There’s also a number of smaller things, completing the RESTful engine API to fully match the .Net engine, providing RESTful clients for every programming language of interest, and seeing if we can come up with a .Net Core RESTful engine (that requires a .Net Core app server with the functionality we need).
We’ll also likely be adding to the RESTful engine a messaging API so your code can then handle queueing document requests in whatever priority you prefer to feed those to the RESTful server. This will provide much better control than just posting a ton of requests to the server and then polling to see when they are complete.
In Q3 & Q4 for the engine we’ve got a number of items we’re considering, and we’ll likely do most of these. In no particular order we have: full support for Excel custom formatting, add support for the new chart types in Office, add an XQuery datasource, and support all properties for charts, pictures, & text boxes for DOCX -> DOCX, XLSX -> XLSX, & PPTX -> PPTX.
Fundamental to a lot of the Q3 & Q4 work will be a significant refactoring of the datasource, Open XML parsing, and Open XML building (output) code. The refactoring will result in code that is more straightforward which both reduces bugs and makes it easier to add functionality. It also helps us complete support for additional properties.
Now onto Windward Hub. With the release of the initial MVP (Minimum Viable Product) we’re now into heavy listening mode with our customers and prospects who are interested in it. Step 1 is to add to it based on this feedback.
There are three big things we will be adding to it over the rest of this year. First is tying it tightly to Microsoft’s PowerPlatform (and likely other standard frameworks like this). We will not write components for forms, workflow, routing, etc. Instead we will use this capability in PowerPlatform. This way we deliver a better and more extensive solution using any industry standard.
Second, we will be adding “runners” to have it work as an integral solution inside existing web apps. We already have this for Salesforce and will be adding Dynamics, SharePoint, and JIRA in the near future. Prime candidates after that are NetSuite & Zoho.
Third, we will be completing our web-based designer. This will be our designer component running on top of the web version of Office. This will provide the same great template design experience via the browser that is presently only available with the desktop version of Office.
And that’s it for the big picture. There will be a lot of other items, some of which may be significant. And as we decide to do those, we’ll post additional roadmaps on our blog.
This is on track to be our best year ever for new products and additional functionality in our existing products. It’s fun.