Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guest Post from Paul Calhoun: Aspose Java Tools Review

Let me start by saying that I am a huge proponent of open-source software, specifically The Apache Foundation collection of code.  I’m a Java developer who writes code for IBM platforms, and I almost always find their tools to be adequate for the task at hand.  

So if I’m going to purchase software, it requires the following:
  1. Better functionality / fidelity than an open source equivalent.
  2. Superior documentation of API and example code.
  3. Responsive support for questions / issues.

I can say without pause that Aspose software’s suite of products for working with Excel, Word and PDF file formats exceeds any expectation I might have had.

We have the requirement to dynamically produce Word Documents, Excel reports and PDF documents from our customer content.  Up to this point we have been able to accomplish this with an open-source solution, but quite frankly it took a LOT of code and was not as easy to maintain as we had hoped.  

We needed to add some additional functionality to this system this year to provide one click download of files in multiple formats and that is what has led us to choose Aspose as our vendor for these tools.  



Our primary goal was to be able to produce Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and PDFs from the same stream of HTML.  This was impossible to do in any other tool without hundreds of lines of code and separate logic for each. 

Aspose Words, Cells, and PDF allow us to accomplish this task in one code stream with less than a dozen lines of code.  Simple to implement and simple to maintain!

In addition to simply providing an easier path to what we already have, Aspose tools will allow us to implement new functionality we could not provide before:

  • Via Aspose Words, automatically provide a much-needed red-line (track changes) process for our customers to visually track document changes from one submission to the next!
  • Provide content in Word Document format, not just PDF.
  • Via Aspose PDF, automatically create merged PDFs and PDF Portfolios.
  • Via Aspose Cells, provide Excel spreadsheets that contain dynamic formula logic, so reports are now live workable spreadsheets.
  • Automatically provide PDFs, Word documents and Excel reports with password protection.



We are now able to concentrate more on providing solutions than maintaining code with a faster, more maintainable code stream.

Aspose makes it easy to review their tools with a free download of the fully functional API, as well as a temporary license for all products.  This allows developers to put the tools through their paces and get questions answered prior to making a purchasing commitment.  

I was having an issue with one of our code streams and placed a question in the forums expecting an answer in several days, as I was not a customer yet, but just kicking the tires, so to speak.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received a clear, concise response to my inquiry in less than 24 hours. 

As a Java developer with more than 30 years of programming experience with many different languages and platforms, I can highly recommend these tools!!