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One of the key benefit of XpertDoc Studio is its ability to generate high volume documents very rapidly. How rapidly, do you ask? Well, we're talking about millions of pages per day.
When dealing with very large documents, one have to make sure they keep them to a reasonnable size so that they can be efficiently rendered and printed by Microsoft Word. Over the years, we and our clients have figured through experimentations that the "optimal" document size for maximizing printer output speed is between 5 and 10 thousand pages per documents. Depending on actual content, the size of those files might be between 50 to 100 megabytes.
One of our client recently brought to our attention a very odd behavior of the Microsoft Word printing engine. Printing the exact same (large) document sometimes took as little as 10 minutes and, at other time, would take as much as ... 10 hours!
It turns out that Word is at least 60 times more efficient in formatting and paginating a large document when it is first given the "opportunity" to load in memory the printer driver and/or its printing modules. After extensive testing we were able to isolate the following sequence of actions which "forced" Word to consistently complete printing at the fastest performance level:
1. Open MS-Word (empty, blank document) 2. Print this empty document on the target printer. 3. Without closing MS-Word, open a very large document. 4. Print it.
Watch our Knowledge Base in the coming weeks for the complete results of our performance analysis for printing very large Word documents.
Microsoft is getting ready to ship the latest installment of its ubiquitous productivity suite, Office 2007. It is currently available (for evaluation purposes) as a Beta 2, with the production release scheduled for the end of 2006 / beginning of 2007. Amongst the new features included in this version, of particular interest are:
A new compressed native format which significantly reduces (by more than 50%) documents file size.
An improved user interface.
More complete, robust and secured automation options.
We too are preparing for our next major release. Our plan is to launch XpertDoc Studio 2007 in time for the general availability of Microsoft Office 2007. Code-named XDX, the 10th version of our document generator will integrate all the technological advancements that we introduced in our XpertDoc Enterprise API as well as some new features geared at making life even easier for our larger corporate clients. Stay tune for further announcements!
XpertDoc Studio 2006 Service Release 2 is now available for download from our web site. It is an incremental update that straightens its position as the tool of choice for high-volume and/or complex Word Document production needs.
We are also readying ourselves for XpertDoc Studio 10 (code named XDX) which we expect to ship before the end of this year. A lot of exciting stuff coming up with this release and I can’t wait to let you know what we have in store for you (OK, my staff is begging me to wait so I’ll listen to them this time :-).
Turns out our little venture in the free software world is already having a positive yet unforeseen effect. XpertBuildDoc (I know, we’ve already confused some users between XpertDoc and XpertBuildDoc) is attracting people to our forums, which in turn is motivating us to monitor them more closely and to post ourselves there on a more regular basis. I just love these “virtuous circles” of positive feedback loops!
On Monday we released XpertBuildDoc, a Visual Studio 2005 Add-in that generates HTML Help documentation for C# and VB.Net projects. It is straightforward yet pretty slick graphical user interface and has many nifty features like multi-project selection and Visual Studio Console output. The story of why and how we came to release this product is a good example of the spirit of the team here and of what we stand for.
It all started when we needed to generate the documentation a custom release of our Enterprise XpertDoc API. The original version of our API was based on the DotNet Framework 1.1 and we very satisfied using the NDoc open source project. Unfortunately, NDoc will not support DotNet 2.0 framework on which our latest API release is based, so we needed to find an alternative.
Turns out that Microsoft had just released SandCastle, a command-line utility for documenting DotNet 2.0 projects. This still being an alpha release, we couldn’t find any wrapper to alleviate the inherent pain of a command-line interface.
Adversity being the mother of ingenuity, we rolled-up our sleeves and decided to (a) dream up exactly the tool we would have like to have readily available, (b) learn how to write Visual Studio 2005 Add-ins, (c) implement our “vision” as an Add-in and (d) make it available, free of charge, to the community of DotNet developers. All that in about… 2 business days! Now if that is not being an Agile company, I don’t know what is. :-)
Although we’re not expecting to build any kind of a business around this little tool, it was both a lot of fun and a very good learning experience.
Many thanks to Yannic (and Louis-Philippe also) for another job well done!