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Comparison of Formstack Documents & Windward Studios

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TL;DR

A Comparison of Formstack Documents & Windward Studios

If you’re working with document generation, be aware of the plenitude of options out there. Windward Studios and Formstack Documents are two of the more popular choices. Windward’s product team has created this comparison to help you understand the merits of both.

Formstack Documents provides a Document Builder that allows users to customize their own documents with the ability to implement basic loops and conditional logic. While the Document Builder does have similar functionality to Microsoft Office products, the interface looks outdated, and is less intuitive to navigate.

Windward runs directly in the native Microsoft application which gives users flexibility to design freely in Office, while making it easy to retrieve, filter and sort data from their data sources to display in an intuitive manner.

Formstack Documents offers unique features like a Cloud option and provides a document delivery option built in, but their process lacks quick and easy data selection. In order for the Document Builder to know what to generate, specific syntax must first be manually added to the document, which creates room for error.

Windward simplifies this process by providing the user with Windward Designer. With the help of Windward Designer, table and chart creation is quick and to the point, taking advantage of Microsoft Office and building upon it. Syntax errors become a thing of the past with Windward Designer doing the heavy lifting.

There is a learning curve for first time Formstack Documents users, especially when making a template from scratch. An alternative to using the Document Builder is offered as there is an option to upload previously designed templates already populated with the required syntax. This does allow for more options than only using the provided design environment.

In terms of support, Formstack Documents provides access to many help articles, as well as Formstack Documents University, which offers access to past webinars, videos, and free resource guides.

Windward offers extensive support by providing users access to in depth training guides, free webinars, forums to discuss issues, a strong internet presence, extensive documentation, and more.

The table below provides an overview of Formstack Documents and Windward, and its selection of key features.

Feature

Windward Studios

Formstack Documents

Conditional Logic
IF/ELSE/SWITCH/CASE
IF/ELSE
Backwards Compatibility
Templates are compatible with older versions and platforms (.NET or Java).  Tags are automatically upgraded on first run.
Customization
Free form design allows users to intuitively make layout and formatting changes in Office a tool they know.  Create modern looking reports that impress clients
Templates can be created from scratch using tables, images, and basic formatting options, but not all Microsoft Word functionality is present.
Data Selection
Drag/Drop Intuitive SQL, XPath and OData wizards make selecting data as easy as creating an email filter
Lack of wizards. Must add specific syntax to document for the engine to know what to generate.
Data Source Connectivity

All SSRS supported data sources plus...

  • File Based (XML, XLSX, Access)
  • Web Based (Salesforce, JSON, REST)
  • Big Data (MongoDB, Cassandra)
    Continued support of emerging  datasources
Data Sources

All SQL supported data sources plus...

  • File Based (XML, XLSX, Access)
  • Web Based (Salesforce, JSON, REST)
XLSX & some web integrations/3rd party services.
Design Environments
  • Microsoft Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint

Document Builder within the Formstack Documents website.

Interview Capability

Not Supported

Learning Curves

Easily design template in tools you know through the Microsoft Office Suite, create tags with drag and drop design/wizards.

Fairly easy design process, but there is a learning curve for first time users making templates from scratch.
Open Formats

Templates and Output created to specifications allowing editing in native applications.  Open Office and make layout changes at any time.

Output Formats

PDF, Printer, HTML, DOCX, WORDML, RTF, XLSX, XLS, PPTX, TXT, PostScript, EPS, SVG, PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, CSV

PDF, DOCX, XLSX, HTML, Email, JPG
Reporting Components Reuse

Windward PODs

Server

Windward provides the user with live support (phone, email, & forum), tutorials, free webinars, comprehensive documentation, strong internet presence, and more.

Has a thorough support page with many articles and has Formstack Documents University which offers webinars, videos, and free training guides.
Server

Library can be deployed via .NETor Java (Office does not need to be installed)

Template Formats

DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, HTML

DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, PDF, HTML

Summary

  • Formstack Documents lacks quick and easy data selection, and requires users to add specific syntax to the document in order to generate the desired output.
  • Formstack Document and Windward Studios provide extensive support for all users in order to make the initial process as easy as possible.
  • Report as you should, directly in the native Microsoft application: Windward produces your document to spec so you can continue working with your documents even after generation.
  • Windward gives users flexibility to design freely in Office, while making it easy to retrieve, filter and sort data from their data sources to display in an intuitive manner.
  • Select your data in a single step through intuitive wizards. Don’t struggle getting data into your reports, let Windward’s drag and drop wizards do the heavy lifting for you.
  • The biggest difference: Formstack Documents users supply most of the data during report generation, where Windward users can collect and generate documents en masse from data stored in many formats and locations.

Document Automation for high-volume output and a familiar user-friendly design environment

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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.

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