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Here is a guest post from this month’s featured partner, Aspose, a leading vendor of .NET, Java and SharePoint development components, and rendering extensions for platforms such as Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and JasperReports.

How often do you hear that a document someone’s exported didn’t come out quite right, or that someone wanted the information you sent them in a different format? If you’re an IT manager, or software developer, these are common complaints.

Converting documents from one format to another without losing layout and formatting should be simple, but it can be frustrating.

  • Extracting data from a database and delivering it to the sales team as a report, maybe even with charts and corporate branding is fine. Until the sales team says that they want it as a Microsoft Excel file.
  • Taking information from online forms and putting them into letters that can be printed and sent is fine. But what if you also want to add tracking barcodes and archive a digital copy as a PDF?
  • Sometimes the native file format support of your system lets you down. When that is the case, use tools that extend that capability. A good tool should save you time and effort.

What are the options?

  • Microsoft Office Automation: Microsoft Office Automation lets you use Microsoft Office programs server-side. It can work well but often has implications for the stability, security and speed of the system, as well as cost. It is not how the Office products were designed to be used.
  • APIs: If you work in a .NET or Java environment you can probably find an API that gives you the features you need. The API market has lots of free and commercial solutions, some very focused, some feature-rich.
  • Extensions/plug-ins: If you work on other platforms, for example SharePoint, install a component that gives you the features you need.

Introducing Aspose

Aspose are file format experts. They create APIs, components and extensions that work independently of Microsoft Automation to extend a platform’s native file format manipulation capabilities.
Aspose have developed APIs for .NET and Java that lets developers convert, create and manipulate Microsoft Office files – Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio and Project – and other popular business formats, from PDFs and images to emails. They also have APIs for working with images, barcodes and OCR. The APIs are optimised for stability, speed and ease of use. They save users weeks, sometimes months, of effort.

.NET and Java are not the only platforms Aspose support. They also have components that extend SharePoint’s native file format support, and rendering extensions for Reporting Services and JasperReports.

Finding the Right Tool

To find the right product, take a systematic approach:

    • List must-have and nice-to-have features
    • Research the market
    • Ask for recommendations
    • Select a few candidates
    • Run trials
    • Evaluate (ease of use, support and documentation, performance, against current and future needs)
  • Make your selection

We are now supplier of Aspose products. If you would like a quote or have any questions about the above, feel free to contact us.

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