Windward Studios Pros and Cons
Windward Studios Pros
The most valuable feature is that it provides good, dynamic document-generation performance and the documents are being generated reliably.
For the designer we use AutoTag which is a Microsoft Word plugin. In general, it's easy to use, it doesn't have a very steep learning curve. It's not difficult, for people who know Microsoft Office well, to start using the AutoTag tool... It feels just like you're in a Microsoft Office environment with some extra functionality.View full review »
One of the features that we have found most important is that the report builder is in Word, so it was very easy to get into it... We could also use some of our existing Word templates.View full review »
Another thing our clients absolutely love is the ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office suite, because of how simple it is. They're building off of something that's familiar. When they can build off of that feature, on top of something that's very familiar, that's a plus for them.
Some of our clients are looking at the nested filtering which is coming out. That's going to be a huge benefit for them because they're going to be able to nest and loop while they're also looking at filtering out certain data elements.View full review »
The quality of the layouts and designs is second to none. Windward's ability to help us generate templates, for which we can actually tag documents, is the key feature that we use.View full review »
It's easy to create templates and reports using Microsoft Word, so we don't have to learn something new to create a template. That makes it very user-friendly... they have integrated the product with Microsoft Word. People can easily start working on it without too much training.
One of the things they added in the last two or three years is PODs, Portable Object Doclets. One of our clients said they wanted to use PODs. They're a good way to make some constructs modular and keep things in one place.
It's very feature-rich. You can create tables, you can create graphs, you can import pictures, and those features are also easy to use.View full review »
You can use Microsoft Office as your designer interface. There is very little programming. You can have nontechnical people create reports.
From an integration perspective, they provide the code for you to easily integrate with existing applications.View full review »
The most valuable feature is the fact that 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.View full review »
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.View full review »
We ended up going with Windward for the level of support we got from them during our proof of concept.View full review »
Thanks to Windward, our documents need very few tweaks and are usually "customer-ready" right out of the box.View full review »
Windward Studios Cons
Regarding AutoTag, we do notice that when you want to refactor a little bit of your template design or when you want to implement changes, sometimes you need a lot of clicks to get the change done. For instance... it would be helpful to be able to find all the identifiers with the old name and replace them with the new name. We haven't found a way to do that with the find-replace tool. Throughout the user-interface of Windward, you need a lot of clicks to get that done.View full review »
One thing that frustrated us a little bit is that we have to use the Office PDF generation, because the native PDF generation is always slightly different compared to the one in Office. The formatting is just a little bit off here and there... This means that we need to have Office installed on the server to be able to generate these documents via API.View full review »
They're not a gigantic company, so they just don't have all the capital to do whatever they would want to do. That's the only reason I would hold back even that one point. I know that if I do ask for something, I'll get it. I just know that it will take some time.View full review »
The reason it took us so long to get the system up and running is that the APIs could be improved a bit. It could be a little bit more interoperable with software, without having to do a lot of the heavy lifting that we had do to get it in.View full review »
They could make the document creation performance faster. I'm not saying it's slow but it takes time to create the PDFs. If they could make it faster, that would be one area for improvement.View full review »
Their PDF needs improvement. We've run into some issues when we tried to generate a Word document. If we try to generate the same document in PDF, sometimes it doesn't look exactly the same.View full review »
The only thing I can think of, that we'd like it to do, would be the ability to "burst out" reports, meaning one section of a report could be sent out as an email to a manager of a department, say, without having to run multiple reports to do it. As it sits now, we have to do multiple reports to do it.
It is software, so there are always times where things don't work. Most of the time issues happen when trying to move to a new version. There might be problems with reports that were created in an older version, so either we have to make a tweak to the templates or we report it to them and get them to make an adjustment to their software.View full review »
There is always room for improvement in the speed, especially with the complex, multi-line Excel spreadsheets. They made some improvements in the last version that are quantum-fold faster than when I first started. But there is always room for improvement there. You always want reports faster and faster.
There are some Excel formatting things that you lose when you implement a template: some default Excel validation scripts, macros. You could create them in Excel if you were just using Excel, but in creating a template that generates a report, some of those validation things are lost.View full review »
I have to deal with VERY long lists of properties contained in our XMLs and it would be nice if Windward offered a way to alphabetize this property list.View full review »
About six months ago, we raised the possibility of improving the way they manage the HTML 5. Sometimes, when you insert a lot of data in the data source, you get an error because it is not managing HTML 5 features well. I believe they have addressed this in later versions of their product.View full review »