We're thrilled to have found this product! We recently finished a large PHP project and used Windward Reports (Autotag and Javelin Rest Services) as the reporting engine. Much of those reports employed some very large and complex scenarios. "Many" logical branches (If, Case, Loops). What the reporting package didn't have, we were able to create and add in the form of our own C# custom functions to fill the gap to handle everything from JSON Arrays to specialized functions to manage complex English linguistics. The ability to create a live report (WYSIWYG) right within Word, use styles and native MS Graphs lets Windward reports really shine through! You'll love it!
While we built our reports upon one data source (MySQL), the package itself easily handles dozens of data types to import and work with. The speed at which we are seeing these reports generate is also worth noting. Extremely fast considering the number of iterations for the number of calculations. Autotag (the report designer add-in) also allows for variables to easily get passed into the reports and lets you create PODS to share variables and data you've used between users and designers.
The real magic though is their fantastic support team backed by some A1 developers. What we didn't understand, Windward always explained to us and if something didn't work in the product, support made sure we had a work around or the product itself was able to perform at the required level.
If you're looking for a reporting solution that backs onto Microsoft Office, can be built in as a service to run independently or from a user workstation (Autotag), I highly recommend you check out Windward Reports before investing time in other products!
Of course, every rose has a few thorns and Autotag is without exception. We did find a few things!
1. Expect a learning curve. Debugging a report or figuring out why a report might not run can be challenging as your reports grow in complexity.
2. Graphs do not always appear as they should when output into PDF and other formats. However, Windward is addressing this now developing a new PDF engine to output with.
3. If you use a lot of complex formatting and styles, expect some challenges and minor nuances.
NCC has been using Windward products as the reporting component of our land information system for over a decade now. It has always worked well for us, and we're planning to continue using it following a major system upgrade this coming year. Customer service and tech support has been great over the years, so we're pretty happy. Their developers have been responsive to requests from us regarding certain features, which is really nice.
Integration into Microsoft Word is great. Very easy connection to our corporate SQL Server databases, and report authoring is very intuitive. Our developers have no issues working with the engine component either.
We've had no real issues with the software suite since we acquired it.
Thank you for the nice words and we love having you as a customer. And you've had some great suggestions for us for features over the years.
I have been using Windward for nearly 2 years now and it has been the root cause of us being able to achieve what we set out to do. Needing to eradicate a number of repetitive Excel based reports, Autotag allowed us to build robust templates and improve our reporting ability and have greater control over our data.
I love the fact that it sits in Microsoft products so easily. I feel this helps reduce a lot of the burden of learning a new piece of software as you are halfway there through your knowledge of programmes such as Word and Excel.
Like most reporting software there are a few nuances that need to be understood to be able to work around them, but ultimately there are only a few of these and they generally aren't of a critical nature.
1. The ease and speed of the design of our document and report templates. Directly from our Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), we have our analysts designing the templates.
2. Linking to numerous data sources and enabling of ODATA querying.
3. Wrappped as a webservice can be used by any 3rd party system in your organisation to become your universal document and report generation system.
4. Bring reporting capabilities to legacy and new systems.
Documentation could be updated for even more improved guidance in more complex templating and integration projects
Thank you for the nice review. And we are working to improve the documentation even more - there's (always) a lot more we can do with it.
The purchase of the software was straight forward. Software and licenses were easy to install. Windward software is as advertised. Support is great. Windward recommended a professional services vendor that delivered as well as the Windward product. I strongly recommend Windward as a document generation solution.
Windward design studio has put the ability to develop new documents in the hands of operations, and frees engineering resources.
The engine delivers output as promised. We have not seen the engine struggle to produce everything sent that way.
The support is great. We encountered our barcode was custom and needed Windward support. They responded quickly, worked through the issue and after a few attempts solved the issue, quickly.
Support was responsive but encountered a barcode issue that required multiple attempts to solve. It is a reality of software, but is the only con I could provide.
It turned what had been a painful battle of both trying to schedule in time to create reports for users and to somehow figure out a way to actually create their desired report into a smooth, easy, fast process that quickly gives the business users what they want.
It got us out of the template design business. We set things up so the business users can design their own templates. We occasionally have to help when it comes to understanding the metadata, but 95% of the template creation and editing is now self-serve.
In addition you can do almost anything for layout and formatting. It's Word & Excel (we're not using PowerPoint) and so there's not much in the way of limitations.
Our previous reporting library was free and Windward we have to pay for. With that said, the amount we save in developer time is about 20x/year what Windward costs.
The experience has been excellent! Support is superb!
This service is easy to use. I have worked with windward for nearly 2 years now and each version gets better. They update nearly every 2 weeks and the integration with Word and Excel makes it easy to create reports with some advanced Microsoft Word features such as Charts.
They documentation was not great although in recent months documentation has taken a full overhaul and is getting better each day.
We use the Java engine to generate docs (PDF & Word) through a web application, and it's quick and straightforward to implement. Overall it's a great tool to create automated reports for web applications.
Good customer support
Continuous improvement on the features
You need to tweak the template a lot to get a pixel-perfect output for both Word and PDF.
I've worked with a number of different report tools. Nothing I've seen comes close to Windward. I'm only bummed I didn't find them 2 years ago.
I make complex report outputs that need to pack in a lot of data, and communicate complex results graphically. My biggest issues with other systems are overflow, brittleness, and overall template hell. With Windward, I'm no longer getting pages with large empty patches. Editing in Word, I get to leverage a ton of power that's built into Word. Not every permutation you can think of in Word works properly, but so much of it does, that you can pretty much do any graphic layout. Word makes styling tables and whatnot a breeze. And you can leverage things like font/paragraph styles, which is really great. It's super easy, intutive, and flexible.
Bottom line for me - in 5 days, I was able to generate a beautifully branded template with full-bleeds, nested tables and loops, and fairly complex conditionals. This new template was a substantial improvement on my previous report templates using other systems. And I did it in a fraction of the time.
That's the product, but the customer support also deserves some serious kudos. Whenever I've had any issue, they have been super on top of it. Their response has been immediate and they're actively developing to meet my stated needs. When the issue has been tough, they've offered work-arounds until their team gets the issue fixed.
I'd highly recommend Windward.
Windward studios is an interesting product if you want to flexible yet sound template making without the help of IT. The support team reacts very quickly although they can not always accommodate.
Windward offers the possibility to let skilled users create and maintain templates for their organization without the help of IT, unless new data input is needed.
We had some issues with license pricing being far less attractive in an otherwise beneficial technical setup, without change in number of users.
Thank you for the very nice review. On your comment about the pricing, we have now switched to subscription pricing which both delivers a lower price point and allows you to easily adjust your pricing month to month to match your needs. Please let me know if this does not address this issue for you.
Superior service. Originally, the engine server failed to generate document output for our AutoTag templates. Windward analyzed and found that an exception was being thrown: "please see 'v16 RD exception received.txt'." They resolved the issue quickly with a patch and later added the fix to an updated formal version of the engine. The support team member helping me was very helpful and courteous. I have found the tag tree very helpful since it allows me to copy and paste code from other tags. I can then make some quick modifications to that code to suit the tag I am currently working on.
The tag tree is very helpful for making quick modifications to the coding. The wizard is very handy in creating code for the tags.
More complex coding is sometimes easier to modify manually, then view in the wizard.
We need to create commercial quality operation reports. Windward is a perfect fit. It reduced our report development time a lot. The support is very good.
1. Never crash
2. Easy to use and set up
3. Able to support complex reporting logics
4. Fairly fast
5. Good support
1. Need to use Word/Excel to build the report, no web based report builder for Java Engine. It can be a good thing, as most of our reports are in PDF, Word or Excel format.
2. It doesn't have built-in JSON format, we have report data that are in JSON format.
Thank you for your very nice review. On the JSON issue we do support JSON datasources (added about 3 years ago). Please upgrade to version 15 or later to see this functionality.
Again, thank you for the very nice review.
Implementing Windward to manage our invoicing and customer communications is a breath of fresh air! Unlike XSL templates, anybody can easily create and update templates using the Report Designer. It is a piece of cake – it didn’t require me technical knowledge or even a formal training… just applied simple logic and it was like something I’ve been doing for years!
As a portfolio lead and business analyst, I’ve seen quite a lot of applications/tools that end up making the business adjust to satisfy how the application works. But not Windward, it is an application that adjusts to work for the business!
I like that even a non-technical person can use the product. And that the licensing model is perpetual!
Having the Report Designer integrated with MS Office is a PRO. However, it is also a CON because of MS Office's limited design capabilities.
Thank you for your incredibly nice words. And I agree, using Office as the design tool has both large advantages and some disadvantages.
The product is great. Much easier to grasp than other reporting tools as it embeds itself with Microsoft programs such as Excel and Word. The support network provided by the vendor is second to none. They have regular training videos and webinars to keep you updated and ensure your maximising the product as much as possible.
The outputs can differ between formats. This can be a little frustrating but, it can be resolved easily with a little manipulation of the template.
One of the most important features of using the Windward (Auto tag ) for us is its compatibility with Microsoft Office and generating dynamic "Table of Content".
Moreover, It is easy to use for the end user to edit and modifications after generating the template by developers.
In some cases, it doesn't display the exact error message and it is difficult to troubleshooting in these cases. Totally, it has covered all of our needs.
Haleh - thank you for the very nice review.
I agree that the error messages could be more informative in places. When you do get an error message that does not provide full information, please submit a support ticket via firstname.lastname@example.org with the specific error and what additional information you would like to get in that case.
We regularly extend the information returned on errors from suggestions users give us.
Again, thank you for the wonderful review.
We replaced a self built reporting system in our SaaS product with the Windward solution, when we were struggling to find another solution which could do the same. The engine integrated with our data sources in a snap, and AutoTag allowed us to replicate the reports quickly. We now have a hybrid system, which sometimes has to use our older reporting engine (for very specialised reports) but uses the Windward engine as much as possible.
Integration was quick and painless, and the ease of building new templates with Autotag has really taken the pain out of rolling out new reports for customers.
Nothing really, the costs can look high, but talk to Windward to see what other options there are. And it really is worth the money.
Powerful tooling, with easy to use wizards to help you select and preview your data. Hides the complexity of data selection and document generation.
The easy of use and marking engine for templates.
The missing libraries for processing of pictures from cameras.
Thank you for the very nice review.
Can you please tell us more specifically about what you mean by "processing of pictures from cameras?" We do have fill bitmap support so I assume this is something in addition to that?
Please post your suggestion about this (and anything else) at http://ideas.windward.net.
thanks - dave
If someone can use Word, they can use AutoTag. It is very easy to build a templates and use them right away. The vendor has a fantastic support team. They answer simple questions for beginners and they strive to understand your particular business problems and needs for your more complex
There aren't detailed error messages coming out of the RESTful engine. When a report isn't generated for any reason, the same generic error message is returned.
It is the best reporting tool I have ever seen. One of the best tools they have is the document generation tool that allow to generate you report out of any data source you have and in any format you want.
In addition to there autotag template design which is really awesome.
They need better marketing experience to show more what they really have, They have many features and tools they need to show more about it.
In addition from time to time they need to make changes to there website so The user when accessing it he can tell that they are doing more new stuff.
Windward AutoTag is easy to use, especially the tag wizard to quickly tag content in your documents from various data sources, XML, SQL, etc... The vendor is great and always on their toes when it comes to replying back with open tickets or updated releases.
Vendor, no issues. Product, some inconsistencies in PDF vs Word output, just need to do some extra formatting on the templates to get them to look similar when outputted.
Quick to use but powerful and customizable. Easy to integrate with a nice API.
Really great people behind the scenes who are willing to help and knowledgable about how to best utilize the software.
We are not a large client to Windward, but they always make us feel that way. Every time we have a question or suggestion, we get an impressively timely response. Even things that other vendors might charge us for, if Windward feels it would improve the product, they roll it into the next release. Their service greatly exceeds that of vendors we pay seven figures a year.
From a product respective, it is exactly what they advertise. A Microsoft Office design environment for enterprise data. And the server engine makes Crystal Reports look like a dinosaur from a speed perspective.
The major downside I've seen has been in the server pricing which only has a "per core" option. This has caused us to have to engineer our datacenter / redundancy design differently than if we did not have this constraint.
CodeObjects is a cloud based SaaS solution for insurance process management that goes beyond the core of policy, billing, and claims to include all the ancillary functions. One of the ancillary services that we provide is document generation and we use Windward for this. Before windward we were using an Adobe based document rendering engine. Switching to windward helped us with the following:
- Reduced the time it takes to create document templates by about 80%
- Reduced the time it takes to configure complex form generation rules by more than 80%
- On an average our customers were able to learn the windward tool by about 70% faster compared to the Adobe product.
Overall it provided a great advantage to us in this competitive Landscape.