This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I'm looking to hear other peoples thoughts on a nagging puzzle I've had in the back of my mind for a while.
One of my clients uses a software product, a windows application which is a general CRM/customer database, along with document production, and automated document production. There are many other aspects to it such as user to user messaging, a calendar. Synching with MS outlook and audio recording.
The product was written using a win16 product and with growing frequency meets problems because of either the latest OS, or the API's & Other software it uses to function, which sometimes require major rewriting of code to work with whatever may have change in either the OS, or the latest version of Word etc.
If the system was purely data input and retrieval, a web alternative would be fantastic for us to move to, cutting down the laborious maintenance task it is for us when we have to upgrade users, and having all the work done on a server cuts down the problems we've had with individual users systems.
I've tried to see us moving towards a web version of the application but the document production side seems to be my biggest wall to get across.
We generate documents with Word, and give out hundreds of word templates to our users as part of the application, which they can then edit to their content if need be or just use straight out the box, data gets merged with the templates producing a final document. I've no real idea at the moment how this would be carried out using an online system. I cannot imagine an instance of word running on a server generating documents again and again for many customers/users would be very efficient or reliable. But on the other hand I'm not sure what else to do to retain the complex formatting in the templates.
I'd be very grateful if anyone can share with me any similar requirement experiences and what solution worked best for them.
Regards, Dave Brown
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