The ability to generate enterprise wide, consistent and personalized documents is a common challenge when authoring business software. Typically, these applications need to output documents as diverse as a single page form letter, all the way through to complex reports with hundreds of pages.
Using a modern server side approach to such word processing applications, enterprise level software consists of a web interface to choose a specific dataset and a template with which to merge.
We believe that server side template based document automation is the key to the next generation of enterprise level word processing applications.
Template Based Documents
Document are based on a template, which can be created by a designer to ensure enterprise wide consistency. These templates are merged with data from a multitude of data sources and can even be personalized, based on the current recipient or the sender.
The following diagram illustrates this process:
Pre-prepared templates (upper left) are loaded by the compilation engine (center). Data, entered by an end user into a web form (bottom left) is merged with the template by the compilation engine.
In addition to this data, information from a database (bottom center) is loaded into the compilation engine and merged. The compilation engine combines all data from all sources with the template to generate the final document (upper right). Using TX Text Control Server for ASP.NET (incl. Windows Forms), the resulting documents can be saved in a wide range of formats (DOC, RTF, PDF etc.)
Introducing TX Template Designer...
In order to generate the templates described in the previous paragraph, we have developed a new application called TX Template Designer.
Consider the following screenshot. It shows TX Template Designer in action:
The aim of TX Template Designer is to enable template designers to insert fields into a template with specific field names. In the document compilation process, these field names are used in the server side application to merge data and generate the resulting, populated document.
In other words, TX Template Designer does not need to know the name of the database, nor the name of the selected table: The only function of the database at the template design stage is to assist the template designer in getting the proper field names into the template.
The template itself does not save any logic or further information. The complete logic and the database name must be integrated into the end user server side application.
Try It out for Yourself
In order how to learn how to use TX Template Designer, please take a look at the quick-start tutorial located in TX Text Control Server for ASP.NET (incl. Windows Forms)'s online documentation.
The tutorial walks you though all the steps required to implement sever side documentation automation processes within your enterprise.
In brief, you will learn how to:
- Load an RTF framework as the base document for the template.
- Create a template with several text fields from a database.
- Save this template to your local hard disk.
- Merge the template with data, using TX Text Control Server for ASP.NET (incl. Windows Forms).
TX Template Designer is installed by default when you install either the full retail version or thirty day, free evaluation version of TX Text Control Server for ASP.NET (incl. Windows Forms). You can start the application in the default start menu entry TX Template Designer.
The source code for the TX Template Designer is contained in the
Samples\ASP.NET\TX Template Designerdirectory.