Interview with Full Stack Engineer in financial services using docxtemplater.

client testimonial - Full stack Engineer in Financial Services : 5 stars out of 5

In order to prioritize the privacy and confidentiality of our client, we have chosen to keep this testimonial anonymous. We value our client’s trust and understand the importance of safeguarding their identity. By keeping anonymity, we can openly discuss the client’s experience with docxtemplater without disclosing any personal information. This testimonial provides valuable insights into why they chose docxtemplater, the features they found helpful, and their overall satisfaction. Let’s dive into their experience and learn from their feedback.

Interviewer (Salah): Hello, I’m Salah. I will be conducting this interview. We would like to ask you some questions to gather feedback. I’m with Edgar, founder of docxtemplater, and we are currently two people working in the team.


Let me provide some context. docxtemplater was developed in 2017, which is our first commercial product. Prior to that, it has been worked on as an open-source project. Since quitting his previous job three years ago, Edgar has been able to sustain financially through docxtemplater. So yeah, I’m very interested to see how you are using it.


Interviewer (Salah): Firstly, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and the position you hold within the company?


Interviewee (Client): Sure, let me tell you a bit about myself. I joined a financial services company two years ago as a frontend engineer. However, in the past six months, I have transitioned to working as a backend engineer, specifically with the document automation library, docxtemplater.


Interviewer (Salah): How did your company handle document automation before using docxtemplater and its features?


Interviewee (Client): Previously, we relied on an external company to handle our document automation needs. However, we now have the intention to bring this responsibility in-house and perform it ourselves.


I believe we will continue to outsource certain reports to external sources, particularly those that are large and complex, specifically for generating PDFs. However, we plan to use docxtemplater specifically for creating PowerPoint reports internally.


Interviewer (Salah): What tools were you using prior to using docxtemplater for report generation?


Interviewee (Client): For PDFs, we were using another tool. However, upon closer examination, we discovered two limitations: the inability to generate charts and images. That tool proved to be too basic for our requirements. Subsequently, we conducted further research to find alternative tools that would better suit our needs. During this process, we came across another open-source solution.


Unfortunately, that solution did not meet our criteria as it did not allow us to modify pre-existing templates. With that solution, we could only create PowerPoint presentations from scratch, which involved coding the entire presentation, taking a lot of time. However, this approach was not suitable for our requirements. Fortunately, I discovered docxtemplater, which allowed us to generate charts and images in PowerPoint format using templates.


As a result, I reached out to Edgar,  and had a conversation with him, and eventually decided to purchase the license. Afterwards, we encountered a few minor issues that we communicated to the support team, and they promptly resolved them. Currently, I am in the final stages of completing the proof of concept, and we anticipate beginning work on the final PowerPoint presentation in approximately two weeks. This summarizes the general progress so far.


Interviewer (Salah): Are you already running docxtemplater in production, or is it still in the development phase?


Interviewee (Client): This is still in development. The project has been deployed in the development environment and is up and running. However, it is not yet in active use and has not reached the production stage. It remains in the development phase at this time.


Interviewer (Salah): Could you please share any specific challenges you encountered during the document automation process and how docxtemplater assisted in resolving them?


Interviewee (Client): Yeah. There were primarily two challenges we encountered. First, generating charts in PowerPoint format proved to be quite difficult. However, docxtemplater was the key solution that enabled us to achieve this successfully. Second, incorporating images within tables was another obstacle we faced, and we couldn’t find any suitable solution until we discovered docxtemplater.

Edgar worked on addressing this particular issue approximately a month ago. He implemented a feature that allowed us to insert those images as background of cells, which turned out to be a great addition.

I must say, this functionality is incredibly valuable as it enables us to generate a multitude of desired outputs with customisable images. Moreover, we have the flexibility to insert these images based on specific conditions. This versatility makes it highly advantageous for generating dynamic reports for any kind of sector.

Interviewer (Salah): Could you please share how you came across docxtemplater and why you ultimately chose it over other available products on the market?


Interviewee (Client): Essentially, as mentioned previously, our main objective was to find a solution that could effectively handle charts and images in PowerPoint. Initially, we came across JSreport, followed by PptxGenJs, but neither of them met our requirements. Eventually, we discovered docxtemplater through our research on Google and decided to give it a try. To our satisfaction, it proved to be the right fit for our needs. That sums up the process.


Interviewer (Salah): Did you try docxtemplater on the demo version, or where specifically did you test it?


Interviewee (Client): I didn’t personally try it out. Instead, we had a call where we were assured that it would meet our needs. Based on the recommendation, we proceeded to purchase it without further testing.


Then, we encountered a few issues related to charts, specifically the point charts, and images within tables. However, the support team promptly addressed and resolved these issues. It was through their efficient support and solutions that we were convinced to continue using docxtemplater.


Interviewer (Salah): Could you walk us through a specific example of how you use docxtemplater and what results were accomplished? And how is your app structured?


Interviewee (Client):We’re writing an app in Node.js, using TypeScript, and docxtemplater works well with that. Our app is pretty basic—it is a server that listens on a path and generates a document from the template and data in JSON format.


We also use the Angular parser, which allows us to have some helper functions. One of the helper functions we use is the “chunk” helper, which makes it possible for us to divide the user roles into multiple columns.


We also have charts that are updated by the chart module.


We also needed conditions to show an image conditionally, so we’re using a ternary operator and generating the image with the background-image feature of the image module.

Interviewer (Salah):Thank you. Were there any specific features that stood out to you? Besides the image module and the other modules you mentioned, are there any other features that you find particularly helpful or valuable?


Interviewee (Client): I believe the ability to create custom functions using the expression function is highly valuable. It provides greater flexibility in how you structure your templates. Although I haven’t extensively used this feature, I have found the “chunk” function particularly useful for generating multiple rows and slides. Overall, it’s a noteworthy feature that enhances the functionality of docxtemplater.


Interviewer (Salah): Have you observed any measurable results or improvements as a result of using docxtemplater, such as increased revenue or any other notable achievements?


Interviewee (Client): At the moment, I am unable to provide a definitive answer to that question since the implementation is not yet in production. However, based on my initial observations, the performance of docxtemplater has been impressive. It can generate PowerPoints swiftly, as demonstrated in the test I showed you, taking approximately 0.1 to 0.2 seconds. Previously, we were using a different product with the other company, but the specifics of that product are unknown to me.


We anticipate that larger PowerPoint presentations may take up to 0.5 seconds to generate, which is still an impressive speed. In the future, our goal is to integrate some of our PowerPoint templates with other client companies, allowing them to use docxtemplater for report generation as well. This integration will help reduce costs for the company, as we will no longer need to outsource the report generation process.


Interviewer (Salah): How would you describe the level of support you have received so far, based on your interactions with the support team?


Interviewee (Client): I would say the customer support was very good. Whenever I had a question, the support team responded to me very quickly. Not only did they reply promptly, but they also made an effort to understand the issue and provided solutions. If there were any errors encountered, they resolved them efficiently. Overall, my experience with customer support has been entirely positive.


Interviewer (Salah): Would you recommend docxtemplater to other businesses, and if so, why? What are the reasons behind your recommendation?


Interviewee (Client): Absolutely! I would definitely recommend docxtemplater. The reason is simple: it has great support. Moreover, you have the freedom to choose from different modules. This means that if you only need one specific module and don’t want to pay for the whole pro or enterprise plan, you can just purchase that one module. It’s a powerful tool that gives you options and flexibility.


At the moment, I can only recommend it based on the points mentioned earlier, as I haven’t had the opportunity to work with PDFs using docxtemplater. I am unsure if docxtemplater has the capability to generate PDFs.


Interviewer (Salah): Currently, direct PDF generation is not supported. However, we are actively developing a PDF module, although it functions more as a conversion tool. This module allows you to convert existing documents into PDF format, but it does not have the capability to generate PDFs from templates.


Interviewee (Client): When it comes to reports, the formats that we typically found most useful are PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint. That’s what I believe, but I’m not sure if you have many clients who generate their documents in Docx format.


Interviewer (Salah): The usage varies, but many clients generate docx from docx templates. Most of our clients use the docx format for various purposes such as contracts, invoices, and reports. Some clients use docx for technical reports, incidents reports, and proposals.


Interviewer (Salah): Are you happy with your experience overall? How would you rate your experience from one to ten?


Interviewee (Client): A ten. I’m really happy with the service. I haven’t faced any problems, and if I did, the support team would always solve them. So, I would rate my satisfaction as a perfect ten.


Interviewer (Salah): Did you have any technical issues while using or installing the software?


Interviewee (Client): Sure, we had one small issue with TypeScript. One of the main challenges is that the library is written in JavaScript, while we typically use TypeScript. As a result, I needed to make adjustments, like occasionally resorting to using “any.”


Interviewer (Salah): Ok, we will try to fix this soon. Did you see that they have a Docker image that allows you to run docxtemplater?


Interviewee (Client): Yeah, but I wrote a specific one for us because I prefer writing it myself. And also, just to learn.


Interviewer (Salah): I see, for you to better understand the internals. Interesting. And just don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Thank you very much for your time and the interview!


Interviewee (Client): Thank you very much.

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