I wanted to bring this question up as I'd really just like to hear other peoples thoughts on the matter and to see how others would go about solving the issue.
Basically, there is an old windows legacy application, and the people behind it are looking at different possibilities for a re-write. It's basically a case management application which present the users with many different forms displaying different aspects of data, e.g. client managment etc. The more complex aspects of the application lie with it's integration with other tools. Document creation is based on a whole bunch of MS-Word templates, which a chosen template would be populated with data then a document would be saved and presented to the user for final adjustments in MS-Word with the filename being stored in the database. It's the document creation and the user bases reliance and preference for MS-Word that is the thorn in my side from suggesting the application could be re-written as a web based application. Which is what I would personally prefer to suggest over desktop java or .Net but I'm not so sure it would be easy/possible to do as a webapp.
I know, and often do generate PDF documents through my web-apps, and control layout etc using iText or since Grails has become my framework of choice, gsp's but that wouldn't satisfy the customer. They are so used to maintaining documents with Word that to suggest something else is a no no.
So I'm left with the possibility of creating documents in word which itself is not a problem but I cannot quite see how I could generate a document, allow the user to edit it... then track the changes and somehow upload the saved document back to the server..
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, 90% of the application would serve better as web app but these few complications have me at a roadblock so to speak.