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Templates + Data = Documents

Andrew Elliott

Simple Client-facing Documents

We've been working on a new product, Echo Publish. ( 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, (, 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:

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. 

= Documents

  • 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? 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.