At the last Amicus Consultant’s Conference I demonstrated some innovative ways of improving the way HotDocs and Amicus interact. A recent post on the LinkedIn user’s group, Amicus Wizards, has prompted me to post some pictures from that demo. The question was asked why is the HotDocs interview generated automatically by Amicus so long with so many dialogs. The answer is that the automatically generated interview DOES NOT HAVE any dialogs, it is merely a list of variables that are used in the template in the order that they appear in the document.
The answer to the question is “MatterInfoSpareLong2”. After several hours of searching, calls to former PCLaw product managers and tech support directors, I got the answer I was searching for. My odyssey had started with a simple request: “Produce a report that combines File details in Amicus Attorney with billing and receivables details in PCLaw. Having presented a seminar on integrating Amicus Attorney and HotDocs, I thought it a simple matter to integrate HotDocs and PCLaw.
On the surface, it was easy. In PCLaw there is a MattInf table that stores the Matter information. You can use the MatterID from within HotDocs to query the SQL database and get file information. On the MattInf table there is a ClientID that links to information on the primary client, allowing you to pull in client data. For current statistics, there is a MattBal that contains data on each file regarding account balance, receivables, billings etc.
Previously, I have written about XpressDox integration with Salesforce.com and Advologix from a technical side, how from Microsoft Word you can access your template library, launch a template, and pull data from a Salesforce.com based practice management system. Such approach is very powerful and cost effective. But it also requires you to have Microsoft Word installed with an XpressDox plugin.
This post, however, focuses on implementation of a completely cloud-based assembly engine integrated into Salesforce.com. A prototype has been tested and implemented on a client site; however the tool is not yet ready for public distribution. In this system, a simple button would be added to the Matter object (or any object) in Salesforce.
At the recent Gavel & Gown consultants conference, I demonstrated a new way to access data stored on Amicus Attorney Premium Edition. Because Premium Edition is run on SQL Server platform, there is a way, through a secure connector to access the data for document assembly through HotDocs. More on that later.
HotDocs has for years had a connector to Microsoft Outlook. It is an effective tool for importing data. However, the data that comes in, often needs to be “cleaned up” before it can be used.
Working with Outlook
- State Field: The state can sometimes be entered as Abbreviated (e.g. NY) or as a Full State (“New York”) which causes problems on import if you importing into a Multiple Choice field
- Street Field: The “Address” in Outlook is different from the BusinessAddressStreet field. And that field can have multiple lines in it, affecting how that text appears in your template where you may have coded Street1 and Street2
Further, some of the mappings in the tool are confusing because of the terminology used by Outlook and that used by most HotDocs coders can be quite different.
- Which Address: In Outlook there is a MailingAddress, a HomeAddress and a BusinessAddress. If you are importing into a primary address, then you would choose MailingAddress. If it is a Business, with a Company, you should use Business Address.
- Salutation, Title and Job Title: These fields are confusing since Title is “Mr.” or “Mrs”, Saluation is non-existent, and JobTitle is the positon someone holds at a company.
Salesforce is a powerful tool for practice management. It’s implementation by AdvologixPM brings that power in a digestable form to attorneys. Until now, your main option for document assembly has been to create basic merge templates. The DrawLoop addin allowed you to create packages; multiple templates with designated outputs. But in the end, you were still restricted to Word-Merges.
XpressDox 4.0 introduces the Salesforce.com Data Source Configuration Tool
Now there is another option, XpressDox. This tool is a power document assembly engine (with most everything you would expect from rival products), but at a very competitive price point. What I want to show here is live and dynamic connection between the desktop version of XpressDox (NOTE: it also works with the Server version as well).
Yesterday, I had a long meeting with the developer of XpressDox to review recent additions to XpressDox document assembly platform. In this meeting, we reviewed recent developments to XpressDox’s hosted web-server offering ($29/month) and additions to its desktop development platform.
For 15 years I have been working with HotDocs and Time Matters, working to ensure the smooth data-flow between those 2 programs. We have used several methods, including (1) template registration and field mapping, (2) active integration (lookup from HotDocs), and (3) SQL database integration.
Have you ever tried to add an Access database as a new “datasource” in Vista64 and Windows7? In most cases, you will go WINDOWS START -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Data Sources (ODBC). When you click ADD, you will get SQL Native Client and SQL Server. There will be NO opportunity to add Access or any of the OLDER data types. These 32-bit datatypes are effectively banished from the system. Quelle disaster!!! Well we have a solution, one that is REAL EASY
The Source of the Problem
The problems is that the Data Sources (ODBC) is really limited to 64-bit drivers. MS Access uses a 32-bit driver and so DOES not show up in the Administrative Tool. Lucky for us, Windows stores all the old tools in a special legacy folder: C:WindowsSysWOW64. Yes, WOW!!!!! That could stand for “where is my OLD Windows” Who knows. Here is how you get to the key file.
- Create Shortcut
– Name: ODBC 32bit Admin
– Path: c:WINDOWSSysWOW64odbcad32.exe
- Launch shortcut and ADD Access database as a data source just as you would in the past.
Imagine a world where the “digital world” merged with the “physical world”. Combine a mini-lcd projector, a ccd camera, a cell phone, and a micro-processor in a device the size of an iTouch. And then add software that support “multi-touch gestures”. What you get is the vision of Pranav Mistry (a MIT professor) for what he calls a “sixth sense” device. Check out the video presentation on TED.com (or click on the link below in the article).
The vision of Pranav is mind blowing. Imagine projecting a number pad on your hand and dialing your phone with your fingers. Imagine converting a blank piece of paper into a gaming device. What he has done is expand the vision and role of computers beyond the “devices” into something that is ubiquitous and integrated into the real world.
The implications of his breakthroughs, and whether they are “ready for market” can be debated. But you need to see these videos to regain the “gee wiz” about computers. He gives new meaning to “gestures”. Just as the invention of the mouse and the GUI (graphical user interface) revolutionized computing in the last 3 decades, so to will the gesture technology put into concrete form by Pranav revolutionize computing in the next fee decades. Check it out.