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Comparison of Text Control & Windward Studios

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TL;DR

Text Control uses an in-house text editor, essentially meaning they use a more limited Microsoft Word for docgen. As a result, Text Control lacks the wizards and tools that Windward provides with an already familiar Microsoft Word interface. Text Controls lack of wizards complicates the docgen process, while Windward has an abundance of tools and wizards to help the user make a good-looking document without it being too confusing.

-- Erik P.

Comparisons & Features of Two Top Document Generation Tools

If you’re working with document generation, be aware of the plentitude of options out there. The Windward Solution and Text Control are two of the most popular choices. Windward’s product team has created this comparison to help you understand the merits of both.

Throughout its lifetime, Text Control has done one thing consistently: It surrounds the user in a great ecosystem, but then fails to capitalize on it. Text Control gives the user limited software on a text editor that looks like Word but will never be quite as good.

Although Text Control has features unique to itself, like the ability to track changes made in a template and create reports without the need of a third-party text editor, that’s about it. To get started in Text Control is a struggle, since they have a very limited number of tutorials, leaving the user to have to look through pages of specifications and follow photos and guides. After barely getting started, I realized that Text Control also lacked a lot of functionality. They failed to make wizards to help the user along and only added five types of tags. Sure, you can choose to go for Text Control and spend hours trying to work with their extremely limited tools, but in the end, it’ll feel like a watered down version of Windward Designer.

Windward helps with this process by providing the user with a huge database of tutorials along with more functional tools. Getting started with Windward Designer, is quick and easy with the help of Windward’s tutorials. The functionality of Windward Designer is great, since it’s capable of creating complex documents in easy steps, with the help of multiple Wizards, whether it’s for setting up a data source or creating a new tag. Windward Designer also provides sixteen tags, ready to go. The table below provides an overview of Text Control and Windward, and its selection of key features.

Designer Environments

Text Control uses an HTML5-based rich test editor that is eerily similar to that of Microsoft Word. However, the biggest difference between the two is Text Control’s ability to be define a document template, without the restriction of a third-party editor. When it comes to placing charts, shapes, SmartArt, and other Microsoft Word features, Text Control’s editor works just as well. However, that’s when the similarities end. Although looking like Microsoft Word, Text Control’s editor will never match the level of sophistication and practicality that Microsoft Word has attained over the years.

For Windward Designer, the environment is within Microsoft Office, ranging from Word to PowerPoint and even to Excel. By simply navigating to the Windward Tabs on the Microsoft Ribbon, the user has access to all the reporting tools. From there on, the user can create a report with Windward Designer without the worry of having to learn any new software.

Tag Creation

When creating a tag in Text Control, the user must first choose from one of five different tags. Once selected, the user sets the properties of the tag and then the tag is placed where the user’s cursor is. The tag selection is limited however, with only IF, IncludeText, Date, Next, and NextIF tags, and the lack of wizards makes creating tags tedious and difficult. I found myself constantly having to look at tutorials and online guides for the creation of a simple table that iterates over data. Given the rather limited toolset that Text Control provides, the user is left hoping for more functionality.

Meanwhile, creating a tag in Windward is simple and easy. By simply going to the Windward Artist tab in the Microsoft Office Ribbon, the user can select from a plentitude of tag options and edit the tag properties through simple steps thanks to the Tag Editing Wizard. Once a tag has been created, Windward provides the option to save the tag within a POD, allowing for the tag and it’s properties to be reused in a simple and efficient manner. With these advanced reporting tools, creating a complex document is a breeze.

Coding Knowledge

Both Text Control and Windward Designer require no knowledge of programming when creating a new report. Instead, they allow for an Engine to do all the heavy-lifting, saving the user time, money, and resources.

PDF Templates

Text Control allows for the use of PDF’s as a template, however, since PDF’s don’t store the information of the original file, it’s impossible to get the original formatting. Text Control made a nice and innovative attempt, but in the end, this feature will most likely be unnecessary.

Feature

Windward Studios

Text Control

Conditional Logic
IF/ELSE/SWITCH/CASE
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
Only has five default tags, no tag specific handling, no POD’s, no scheduled reports, no debugging option, no color-coded tags, etc.
Data Selection
Drag/Drop Intuitive SQL, XPath and OData wizards make selecting data as easy as creating an email filter
No data selection wizards. Drag and drop is not supported.
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)
  • SQL
  • ADO.NE
  • ODBC
  • XML
Design Environments
  • Microsoft Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Web
  • TextControl (HTML5-based rich text editor)
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.

Minimal video tutorials. Need to follow pictures in the beginning to understand the product. Follows the basic design of Microsoft Office Suite.
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

CSS, PDF, PDF/A, DOC, DOCX, HTML, RTF, GIF, PNG, JPG, BMP, WMF, EMF, TIF, XML
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.

Minimal internet presence. Lacking video tutorials on how to get started and more advanced report generation.
Server

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

Template Formats

DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, HTML

DOC, DOCX, PDF, XLSX, RTF

Summary

Windward offers convenience and a host of ease-of-use features unavailable to Text Control users.

With Windward you can:

  • Free your templates from formatting restrictions.
    Use Office’s styles, charts, tables, shapes, and more to add life and clarity to your documents.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Combine tags, styles, and formatting all in reusable components.
    Windward’s PODs feature allows capture of data sources, tags, text, charts or any combination of each, even entire documents.

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

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Call us with questions at 1.303.499.2544

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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