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Windward 2019 Customer Feedback and Survey

From the CEO

These are the results of the anonymous survey sent to the primary and technical contact at all of our customers.

Question 1

Rank our offerings by most important.

Bar graph showing Windward's most important values
Windward Survey Results

A clear first was exemplary support. This was nice to see as we are proud of the support we deliver and it is important to us too. So yes, we will continue to deliver that support.

What came next was lower price followed closely by new features and 24/7 support. To speak first to the lower price ranking: we can deliver exemplary support, new features, and 24/7 support. Or we can dial all that back and lower our prices. We can’t do both. You deserve a direct answer from us.

Windward is built around some core principles. Awesome support and constantly creating cool functionality are core to our culture. To deliver that means we cannot lower our price. For those that are happy with what we presently have and would prefer we switch to offshore support, no new features to deliver lower prices – I’m sorry but that’s not us. With that said, we do now have lower subscription pricing (flex) and I am happy to talk with you if you’re interested in converting over.

To those that are willing to pay for the awesome support and new features – I’m happy to see that this is very important to a lot of you.

On the 24/7 support issue. We can do 24/5½  support which would be Monday morning Asia Pacific to Friday afternoon California time at double the present maintenance charge if about 20% of our customers are willing to pay for this. It would mean support people in Ukraine & the Philippines would be handling questions during those off hours. If this is of interest, please contact me.

The last item that received a high ranking was training & webinars. We will be increasing this. We are also in the process of creating more training material. And for those of you unaware of it, please check out our Quick Start guides. These are detailed training guides to help new users get up and running quickly.

Everything else ranked pretty low and so we won’t be putting much effort in on those.

Question 2

NPS Ranking: Would you refer us to a co-worker?

Fundamentally a 9 or 10 is love it, a 7 or 8 is like it, and a 6 or lower is a no. The results were:

Windward's NPS Ranking
Windward NPS Ranking

So breaking it down, 15% are no, 34% are like it, and 51% are love it for a NPS of 36. It could be better, but this is not bad. Based on the comments those that are unhappy mostly fall into two groups, one that wants more features & fine-tuning of the existing features and another group that wants lower prices. We’re doing our best to make the first group happy on improving the product.

Question 3

What new thing should we do?

There were a lot of good suggestions and not room to list them all. But I want to speak to a couple:

  1. There were a fair number of suggestions to provide more information in the documentation, more training, more examples, etc. And yes, we are working on that. We are very focused at present on making it a lot quicker and easier to first learn the product.
  2. A request to finish the report in case of an error with an error report. We have this – please go read (java& .net).
  3. Several asked about enhancement requests. Those are handled on our ideas page and if you don’t see an update of the status of one of yours, please reach out to support.
  4. A few suggested a stronger focus on quality. It’s a fair point, and over the last 2 years, we have both improved our process and hired additional QA people. The code is more solid now than ever before and you will see even more improvement over the next 6 months as the new system & people deliver new releases.

If any of you felt you were not heard in my response, please call (303-499-2544 x1185) or email me. I won’t promise to agree with you, but I will listen to you.

Again I appreciate everyone taking their time to fill out the survey. We do make use of it. It specifically was a strong vote to us here to: 1) Keep support in-house here in Colorado, 2) Put even more effort into documentation & training, & 3) That we made the right decision spending more on our QA effort.

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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