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Thomas Bushman
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Default Best recommendation for Windows XP SP2 mail merge application

I have a project that has gone on NUMEROUS iterations of trying to find the
right approach for. At this point, I would like some feedback for other folks
who might be able to point me in the right direction.

I have an intranet web application that they enter data into, then would
like to print out a form. This form has very particular formatting to it,
complete with requirements for certain pages needing particular data in the
footer and header, etc. Word seemed perfect for this application.

I went through a number of iterations with this project developing either
complete working code or demos for (or at least attempted):

1) At first, I was going to have the web server code create the document
based upon a template and the data in the database. The document would be
saved on the web server then browsed, thereby being brought down to the
client PC. This solution was ruled out by our IT folks since they did not
want Office installed on the web server, for the sake of performance of the
web server.

2) I tried putting Word into an ActiveX container class, however none of the
containers I could find would would take a Word object. This has been
deprecated in favor of the new InterOp API.

3) I tried writing a page that made use of the InterOp API, however the IT
folks once again said that everytime there was an update to Office, they
would need to reinstall the InterOp API again, causing problems with keeping
all the desktops in the company updated. So this approach was ruled out.

4) The IT guys then pointed me at using OWC controls and gave me sample code
that would run this at the server side. Well this of course did not work
since the OWC controls do not have a Word control in them.

5) I then wrote a server side section of code that got the data from the
database and wrote out a dynamic client block that set variables. The client
code then opened a Word object, set the bookmarks, saved the document to the
local drive, then redirected the response to the newly saved document. This
worked since all the desktops in the company were Windows 2000 workstations.

6) Now the company is starting to roll out Windows XP SP2 as the company
standard for desktops. My application does not work now since I get an
"Access denied" on the response redirect to the document on the local file
system. To solve this problem, I saved the document to the
C:\inetpub\wwwroot directory on the local filesystem and instead response
redirected to http://localhost/document name. This works HOWEVER we are now
in violation of the new VISA security requirements since this requires
running personal IIS on each desktop, thus allowing other people to browse
the workstation. VISA requires all sorts of regulations locking down the
workstations now, so this solution has been ruled out.

I realize this has been rather long winded so far, but I wanted to lay out
all the approaches I have done so far. Can anyone think of a direction now
that does not require Office to be installed on the web server, does not
entail a lot of workstation maintenance, does not violate security by having
a web server running on the local workstation, but yet will work under
Windows XP SP2. Is there a simple way to just via an ActiveX control contain
Word and dynamically fill in the bookmarks and still give the user the
ability to edit and save the document.
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