quinta-feira, 31 de março de 2011

Report and documentation software: an efficient way to save time and money

Picture this: you want to create an impressive presentation about your company's latest product, and, after you are done, maybe you'd like to send the ones who attended it some print material, or a website showing the same content, but formatted in HTML. However, when you start to create your Power Point presentation, you discover that it looks amateurish – not reflecting the excellent professional you are. To top it off, when you try to create your Word material, pictures go out of their place, and tables are simply tedious to create. HTML? Never mind that. And then, you get frustrated: isn't there anything that would do the dirty job for me?, you think.

Here comes the good news: there is software that does the dirty work for you, and this kind of software is generally categorized as report and documentation software.

How Does Report and Documentation Software work?
This kind of software offers you predefined layout: write your text, and it will choose size and fonts appropriately; insert table data, and it will be created, colored and positioned automatically; create graphs, and they'll be consistent everywhere. This is similar to what MS Word styles are, but better: this kind of software supports multiple document formats too, ensuring you can, for instance, create a wonderful, elegant presentation out of an ugly Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Beware, though: choosing the right software is not a task to be taken lightly.

What Is the Best Report and Documentation Software out There?
Mainly, we have 3 alternatives on the market: Crystal Reports, from SAP Crystal Solutions, SQL Reporting Services, from Microsoft, and Windward Reports, from Windward Studios.

Crystal Reports is, currently, among the most known software today. However, the learning curve is ridiculously high: as it can be seen here, Crystal Reports 2008 requires several tweaks to work right on Windows Vista. This flash demo, showing one of their presentation examples, isn't very impressive either: when you click the round button to do calculations dynamically, the mouse behaves in a weird way, making the button not to spin correctly. See here:

all this means you'll need to spend time fixing your install and presentations. Wasn't the whole point of this to save time and money?

SQL Reporting Services, on the other hand, is a popular Microsoft product. However, it manages to fare than Crystal Reports: sample reports are difficult to find, and you have to read a whole book just to know about what has changed when they released service pack 1 (I wish I was kidding. Look here: http://www.viciowarez.com/descargar-ebookz-15/microsoft-sql-server-2008-reporting-services-unleashed-858035/, right in the section "Understand How to").

Last, but actually the most surprising of all of them, is Windward Reports: of all three, this seems the best option to save time and money: their program can either run on .Net or Java, and integrates seamlessly with MS Office. This means that although there is a learning curve, it is negligible compared to what Crystal Reports – or worse, SQL Reporting Services – demands of you. And since you don't need to learn as much – not even how write a single line of code, in fact – you are saving a lot of time and money. This is the whole point of why you are buying reporting and documentation software, isn't it?

The Bottom Line
Among all of them, Windward Reports seems to be the most promising: it offers near-seamless workflow integration and it's extremely lightweight. And as mentioned before, no programming required! Frankly, leave programming to programmers and don't worry about getting a new book every time a new service pack of your software is released so you can learn "what's new." Do what you do best: talk about business and your latest products – and then, profit.

Publisher's site: http://www.windwardreports.com/

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário