MSOffice Dependency?

I have had a few enquiries recently asking why there is a dependency on MSOffice to create templates for publisher - actually there is no dependency. Yes, we have invested in Office by producing a plugin to MSWord to help you build templates, but there is nothing to stop you using an alternative editor to build templates. That said we have not certified on the alternatives but some early testing has shown some promise, there are some issues but we have pinned some of these down to the RTF version that we certify on not being supported in the alternative application.


The biggest difference is that the alternatives either do not have formfields or they have their own versions of them that are not compatible with MSWord's versions. Open Office is a prime example - they do have formfields but they do not have a 'help' tab in which to embed the code for the template thus you end up needing to write the command directly into the document. This leads to a very busy template but it will work. 


Of course, there are alternatives,


  • PDF templates - these lack the conditional logic available in RTF templates but are great for static documents.
  • Flex templates - a new and exciting template type - not great for paper but for building interactive reports its great.
  • XSL-FO templates - under the publisher covers lies an XSLFO engine that conforms to the W3C standard.
You therefore have further application choices in which to build your templates.


There is another alternative on the horizon - the Online Template builder - not a greatly imaginative name at the moment but this is going to be an all singing, all dancing DHTML/JScript application that allows you to build templates. It's not yet production and its not quite to the level of the RTF template sophistication but the gap is closing fast. Its a drag and drop environment with Office 07-like toolbars - very friendly and we hope pretty intuitive - currently going through user testing as I write.  I think Im allowed to at least provide a couple of screen shots:


OTB1:


Based in the browser, first thing you'll get are some default layouts to work with.


OTB2:


Now, you can create objects - charts, tables, sub totals, etc - with the drag of a mouse. Notcie the ribbon tool bars and the property palettes for minute control.


You're gonna have to wait a little while longer for this ... it'll be worth it I promise.

Comments:

Wow! Any idea when it will become available. Two years waiting already!

Posted by Basarat on May 09, 2009 at 11:58 PM MDT #

Still nothing ? Is this extension dead ? It's seems to be promising !

Posted by Adrien on June 09, 2009 at 10:53 AM MDT #

We have been waiting also for 2 years .....any status update on this product ?

Posted by Yesh on July 02, 2009 at 10:46 AM MDT #

Its coming folks, gonna be with 11g now :0( Can not give you a date on that at the moment thou. Tim

Posted by Tim Dexter on July 02, 2009 at 11:01 AM MDT #

Tim - Any more status updates on the template builder .... we are on 11g database ... Yesh

Posted by Yesh on April 23, 2010 at 03:46 PM MDT #

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