The FMH is the doctor’s union in Switzerland. It represents more than 42,000 doctors and organizes the medical education system in Switzerland. The company coordinates the activities at an operational and strategic-political level, acting as an intermediary between the medical corps and the public.

Their development team works on creating and delivering valuable software to the associated doctors and the medical education division.

The challenge

Johnny Graber, the lead software developer of the FMH, works towards reducing the complexity of FMH’s applications and making the processes as fast as possible to deliver these applications. In a previous job, he had bad experiences using Office Interop to create Excel reports and Word documents.

Johnny states that it was time-consuming and frustrating since they spent more time getting Excel to close in all circumstances than working on the actual documents. “We could not really use existing templates and had to create everything to the last detail in the code. Every tiny change in the layout took hours of programming”, he said. That’s why he had to come up with a better solution, to not repeat the same mistakes and bring more productivity to his team at the FMH.

The solution

The FMH development team started looking for a better way to create documents programmatically. After searching on Google through examples from various .NET component vendors, they found Gembox easy-to-use code examples, and were impressed by them. Then they started evaluating the products, which took about 3 to 4 weeks.

One of the main reasons they decided to buy GemBox.Bundle was the documentation. Johnny says they “found everything needed to work with a Word template and turn that into a PDF right there and could run the example without any problems on our local machine. Converting our documents to the requirements of Gembox was easy and quickly done”.

Nowadays, 7 developers work regularly with GemBox products. They use it for all the document output of their applications: 

  • They create reports in Excel and PDF
  • Produce emails from Word templates
  • Combine different PDFs and images into PDF documents

The implementation

According to Johnny, most developers get the hang of the converting Word to PDF feature within an hour. Whereas for the first time a developer starts using the Excel formatting feature, which is more complex, they usually take a day to get the result exactly as they want it.

The results

Today, all their previous pain points are gone. Johnny says the reports were done in a week in the old days of Interop at the previous company he worked for. Using GemBox, they generate reports in less than an hour of programming time. This allows the FMH team to talk to the business much earlier and change the report without losing time.

They can see how much time they gain by creating templates. For the emails they send, they have word templates that look exactly as the business wants them to look. Then they load the correct template (type and language), create a dictionary with the values for the personalization, and run it through Gembox. The result then goes out to their users. 

The return on investment also happened surprisingly fast:

“The ROI for Gembox compared to an approach with Office Interop was around a week. The first few reports were done so fast that it paid the license fees, and everything that came after was basically free.”

– Johnny Graber, Lead software developer at FMH

Overall, Johnny highlights that the team is happy to work with GemBox products. If a new document is needed, there is no problem finding someone who creates it. “It is a non-event, and we are happy about that”, says Johnny Grabber.