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Learn the role BackOffice components should be playing your applications.

, 15 Jan 2007
This article acts as an introduction to BackOffice development components and explains the role they should play in application development. It also helps to present some unique ideas on report design and document security.

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This is a showcase review for our sponsors at CodeProject. These reviews are intended to provide you with information on products and services that we consider useful and of value to developers.

What are BackOffice components and how can they improve my software?

I remember when I first started as a developer how exciting it was to begin a new project. One area that I always seemed to neglect was actually one of the most important: output. As developers we instinctively become focused on the tasks that are the most fun: form design, database design, architecture design and implementing those extremely cool features that are sure to save the end user tons of time. However, in the eyes of the end user the truly most important piece of any application is output. Do not misunderstand; a great user interface is extremely nice, but without good output the user’s excitement over a well designed interface will quickly fade. That is where BackOffice components shine the brightest.

BackOffice components are exactly what their name describes; they are non-visual components that play a role in applications similar to the role of an engine in a car. They allow developers complete and total control over file input and output; empowering them to deliver information in the form most desired by the end user. Aspose currently offers the most robust BackOffice component suite on the market, Aspose.Total.

So what are some common tasks of BackOffice components you may ask? Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses…

Document Management

A good set of BackOffice components provide a feature-rich API for creating, opening, editing and saving some of the most common file formats in business; formats such as Word documents, PDF documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and Flash presentations. Many times developers may consider automating an external application for document management features, but most often that is not the best solution. Automation is plagued with a list of problems ranging macro viruses to no licensing options for web servers. True BackOffice components are completely standalone with no external requirements. They empower developers to create or modify documents on the fly in a quick and easy manner.

Document Conversion

Another very common use for BackOffice components is document conversion. For example, an end user may request that an application supply a downloadable Excel spreadsheet, designed as form, which can later be uploaded and sent to a client as PDF. What sounds like an easy, everyday task has suddenly become extremely complex. Because as we all know there are no nice, intrinsic functions that helps with those types of conversions. For situations such as this BackOffice components are a must.

Custom Reporting

There are a slew of great reporting packages available for developers. Inevitably though, you will find that some end user, usually an important one, who requires some feature that is not supported by the standard reporting package. How do you deal with that? BackOffice components should be your immediate solution. Let’s take for example how Aspose.Words and Aspose.Pdf work together. With those two components one could quickly develop an application that would allow users to create report templates in Microsoft Word®, upload them to the web server, use Aspose.Words powerful mail-merge feature to create a report and finally convert the document to a PDF file using Aspose.Pdf. BackOffice components are your open door to unlimited file flexibility.

Document Security

One of the hottest topics in almost any area of life today is security. Programming is no different; all of us have seen countless blogs and articles about how to make IT elements more secure. You files should be no different. Many of the most common file formats are the guilty culprits who bring Macro Viruses straight into our workplaces. BackOffice components can help to provide a better alternative. Unlike traditional applications BackOffice components do not execute macros stored within files when they are opened. They can even be used to remove such macros, avoiding any further risks. Through BackOffice components you can truly control every aspect of files, ensuring they are good and safe before they reach the hands of your end users.

Conclusion

BackOffice components are probably the most commonly overlooked, essential tools. They offer developers a wealth of options sure to meet any output or input requirement. If you would like to learn more about the BackOffice components in the Aspose.Total component suite please be sure to visit the product homepage.

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Aspose Team

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