Pathagoras differs significantly from other programs in its category. We think that it is helpful for you to understand at least a little bit about the different approach we took in building our systems, and how Pathagoras distinguishes itself from its competitors.
Differences in clause and form development:
With most other document assembly programs, you are urged to create a large ‘master’ document (sometimes called a ‘template'). This master contains every possible variation which will might be contained in a final product. They are typically 'over-built' documents from which the end user will pare away the sections not needed for the immediate project.
There is no ‘master document’ required by Pathagoras. Pathagoras can use master documents, like the others, but, being a true ‘paragraph assembler,’ Pathagoras can just as easily assemble documents from the ground up. The choice is yours.
Differences in How Clauses are Stored: Pathagoras stores its 'building block' text as standard Word documents in standard Word folders. You can easily access, edit, copy, paste to and from, etc. your source text using your current Word skills. Storing source text as Word documents in standard Word folders allows you a degree of flexibility and control (not to mention intuitiveness and comfort) that cannot be provided by other approaches.
Differences in how personal data is collected: Other programs require that you design data collection forms before you can begin document production. Creating these input forms can be quite daunting. You essentially need to know from the outset all of the variables that each of your future documents will contain. And current and future documents can contain only the variables that you hard-coded into the data collection form. (Of course, you can later add and edit those variables, but that, too, is challenging and needlessly time consuming.)
Not so with Pathagoras. Variables in source forms are composed in plain-text. Pathagoras data input form is created on-the-fly, typically after the document is assembled. Pathagoras does so by scanning the document for bracketed variables and presenting those variables in a dynamic data collection screen called "Instant Database." And it truly is an 'instant' database. The data you collect can be saved and reused with other forms containing the same variables.
Pathagoras allows you the option of creating a more stylized data collection tool called a 'Mask'. Masks are entirely optional. They are, however, based entirely on the Instant Database module, so creating an Input Form 'mask' is very simple.
Differences in document creation process:
Most other document assembly programs demand that you follow a specific order for document creation. Typically it is:
(1) Complete a personal data form (or recall an existing one) for the client or customer for whom the document is being drafted. This creates an unbreakable connection between the document being built and ultimate recipient of the document.
(2) Assemble your document. Document variables will not be shown since they will be completed automatically during assembly.
Pathagoras’ approach to document assembly does not have this 'must select client first' orientation. More often than not,
(1) you assemble the document and then
(2) personalize the document. (It can be done the 'other' way as well, but this is the most common approach in Pathagoras.)
Pathagoras rejects the idea that connecting a client to the document about to be built should be a mandatory first step. The link can wait. Sometimes you will want to compose a document without all (or any) of the client's data. This flexibility allows you to experiment in designing your clauses. You never have to link with a client, not even a ‘dummy’ client, in order to test your work.
Our customers have commented that they prefer Pathagoras‘ approach. It is more intuitive because it more closely mimics the flow they followed before using a document assembly program.
Differences in Document Management styles:
Pathagoras enhances and speeds up document storage and retrieval by augmenting Word and Windows functionality, not supplanting it. It preserves the standard Word and Windows screenage and functions with which you already familiar. The Word-centric approach means that you do not have to learn an entirely new system.
Pathagoras does not, however, provide a document indexing system as many of other document management programs do. Retrieving a specific document by typing key or indexed terms is not possible with Pathagoras. But free or inexpensive indexers are offered by, for example, Google®, Copernic® and others. We didn't create an indexer because such powerful ones were already on the market.
Differences in 'philosophical approach':
Our overriding philosophy is 'simpler is better.' Just because a new technology exists, it doesn't mean it has to be used. Operators in the field tend to reject technologies that are difficult to implement, and for good reason.
Pathagoras has affirmatively opted for the plain text, what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach to document assembly and management.
•Variables are holding places for words you want to add when you are ready to personalize your document. Variables are created simply by surrounding words with square brackets. [Client Name] is a variable.
•Optional text blocks are 'keep it or leave it' blocks of text that may or may not remain in the final document. The decision is made at document assembly time. They can be created simply by surrounding words, sentences or entire paragraphs with curly braces.
•Options text blocks is commonly known as 'multiple choice text. They are text blocks from which you want to select at least one choice from several that are provided. Options text blocks likewise are words, sentences or entire paragraphs surrounded by curly braces, with the choices be separated by "/OR".
(We describe the simplest iteration of Options and Optional text blocks in the above sections. More robust alternatives are available for the advanced user, allowing complex selections and promptings for the end user.)
Just a note here. Some competitive programs also claim that their editing for automation is done in 'plain text.' There is a half-truth to their assertions. Initial automation markups can be done in plain text. The problem is that when you have finished editing and press the buttons to make it part of their systems, they convert your work into a new document, replacing your typing with their hidden fields and links. They sometimes move the document to a new location and almost always rename it, assigning a foreign extension and creating a tag-along document which contains additional instructions for processing the file.
None of that happens in Pathagoras. When you have finished editing your document, just save it. When you need to edit it again, you recall it from its same location. It starts as a Word document. All intermediate steps are done in Word and the final product is a Word document. We call this "All Word, all the time."
Facial text: The culmination of the above 'rant' is Pathagoras' concept of faciality. What you type is what you keep. No conversions. No fields. Document automation triggers are typed on the document's face and remain there until the document is automated. If your document does not process correctly, you can 'read' on the face of the document what went wrong. You do not have to consult the ancillary files (where ever they may be), edit the fields, convert and then reconvert. So 'Word-like' (here we are referring to Microsoft Word) is the process that when something goes wrong, you can simply press the Undo button on the assembled document. This lets you step backwards through the process to see what Pathagoras did with the variables and options text you provided. This makes it very easy to see (albeit in reverse) what Pathagoras is doing with your markups so you can correct the original if the need be.