Simple Client-facing Documents
We've been working on a new product, Echo Publish. (www.EchoPublish.com) It's a straighforward product that satisfies a simple need: to let your systems generate professional client documents (contracts, correspondence, etc) from templates defined by your business experts.
Curiously, it's a market that's currently ill-served. Alternative solutions tend to be very costly, overly technical, or inflexible. (Oh, and often dependent on MS Word).
The initial development of Echo Publish was for 9yds, (www.9yds.com), a service providing full administration facilities for private and commercial landlords. They use it to create contracts and other legal documentation, as well as a myriad of emails they need for day-to-day operations. Read more about that implementation here: http://www.echopublish.com/pdf/EP_Glanty_PR.pdf.
Our goals for Echo Publish have been to make it:
- Simple for business experts to define the document templates they need using familiar tools
- Simple for IT to integrate into systems through an interface that is sensible and based on open standards.
- Versatile enough to produce documents in the formats that businesses most often require.
- Available at low enough cost so that even start-ups with small volumes can afford it.
How it Works
It really is this simple:
Templates + Data = Documents
Let's unpack that formula.
- Templates are created by business experts as documents in your own Google Drive account.
- Fully formatted Google Drive document templates result in fully formatted output documents.
- Templates in plain-text formats like HTML or Markdown result in output documents in those formats. This is very useful for emails, SMS content, etc.
- You can use a very rich but intuitive templating language to populate the templates with business data, and even to control the logical structure of your documents.
- Your applications provide the data that Echo Publish uses to populate the templates.
- This data can be in XML or JSON formats, and can be structured to suit your data models.
- For development purposes, you can define test sets of data.
+ (The "plus" in the formula above)
- Your data is merged with the templates through a simple web service call to our Echo Publish service.
- The only required parameters to this call are:
- Which template is to be used?
- What type of template is it?
- What is the payload of business data to merge?
- Additional parameters unlock a host of options.
- The response from Echo Publish, will contain one or more links to documents produced.
- Optionally, Echo Publish can upload the documents to your own Google Drive account.
- Alternatively, you can download the documents as DOCXs, or PDFs, or HTMLs or whatever format you have chosen, for further handling by your systems.
Why not take a look? www.EchoPublish.com is up and running: the website lets you play with some examples to get the general idea of what the service does. There is also a form to register your interest in a trial account - with no commitment - should you wish to explore further.