Our product generates large amounts of statistical data and reports, such as course evaluations, student performance data, attendance statistics, etc. The product also correlates the data to provide short term and long term predictors. Our customers need the ability to generate easy to read reports quickly and easily from a web-based interface, and those reports must be provided in both editable Microsoft Word DOCX and read-only PDF format.
Initially, we experimented with using Microsoft Office automation, but quickly determined that relying on the Microsoft Office object library at the server level for each of our clients wasn’t a desirable solution.
Aspose.Words for .NET met our need to export to DOCX, so that documents are easily editable outside of our platform. In academia, DOCX is one of the most widely used document formats available. Providing a standard, editable, known, and easily editable format. Additionally, the simplicity of Aspose.Words for .NET to export DOCX to a PDF in a single line of code was an enormous bonus. Our clients desired read-only distribution of these reports, such as course evaluation data for faculty, student performance data for individual students, attendance reports, etc.
Finding a solution
We explored a number of other products over a period of several months. This included TextControl, GrapeCity ActiveReports, iText, and ComponentPro. We really liked the idea of TextControl and ActiveReports, which allow users to completely customize the layout and content of their reports through a web interface. We had begun with the assumption that our customers would want the ability to fully customize their reports but, as we worked with those customers, we learned that most of them weren’t as interested in layout control as we had anticipated. For the most part, they wanted predefined reports with the ability to add their organization’s branding. For our customers, simplicity and ease of use were much valued than extensive customization. What we really needed then was Word automation without Word. This is where we began exploring iText, ComponentPro, and Aspose.Words for .NET.
Onc we started using Aspose.Words for .NET API, our users managed to easily select a generic predefined template, customize branding and report title, then with a simple click of a button, output reported was generated. In essence, they managed to generate a report with very little effort and export to the best formats, quickly and easily. This was exactly what we needed and Aspose.Words for .NET did this very well.
After evaluating each of these solutions, we determined that Aspose.Words for .NET was the best fit for our needs due to API’s stability, feature pack, licensing options, and excellent technical documentation to aid our development team during its implementation into our product.
Aspose.Words for .NET provided everything we needed in a single API. The very first requirement has been to dynamically generate reports from statistical data from within our program. Aspose.Words for .NET allowed us to automate the completion of predefined templates with the single click of a button. The ability to simulate Microsoft Office Automation, without the need for the Microsoft Office object library, provided a quick and stable method of creating dynamic documents on demand.