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October 15, 2008 4:09 AM   Subscribe

SolutionFilter: Server-side dynamic HTML to PDF conversion - any tips?

I'm researching server-side solutions for enabling users to assemble tailored PDFs from our html content.Content is professional legal policy and legislative info and it needs to be comprehensive and updated regularly, but users may only need bits of any one section/document. I'd like to present users with an 'add to print' button which dumps that section text into a temporary file and prints all into a pre-formatted PDF template (inc. content list) when they've done. We also have associated 'tools' (checklists, flowcharts etc) already in PDF format which users may want to add as appendices to the overall print. We need something really simple for the end-user - our audience is not web-savvy.

So far I've only found activePDF but wondered if anyone knows of any other options - or indeed, thoughts on creating a custom solution, in-house (I'd be asking our developer but he's away at present and I need info asap). Current site uses Websphere but plan to move to WAMP at some point. Any help appreciated!
posted by freya_lamb to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Prince does pretty nice HTML/XML → PDF conversion, although it costs money.
posted by letourneau at 4:32 AM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: Well for what its worth our company has done this in the Financial Services area. The approach we have taken is integrated with the the intranet application from which the users might wish to assemble a PDF - from your description I'm not sure whether that's you have in mind. The hosting environment is Windows/IIS and so we have established a windows service which produces PDF's in response to 'requests' made by the ASP.Net application. As it happens our PDF production environment of choice is ReportLab (which is Python based) so the same code could be rolled out to non-Windows platforms.

Not sure if that was the sort of answer you wanted use mefi mail if you want to take it offline - it's an area I find very exciting so I'd be happy to talk ... and talk ;-)
posted by southof40 at 4:46 AM on October 15, 2008

I've used htmldoc before with success.
posted by devbrain at 5:36 AM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: The Flying Saucer project is a library that can render well-formed HTML / XHTML as PDF files. It's java code, so it would work on websphere (with coder intervention).
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:12 AM on October 15, 2008

Consider trying html2pdf
Its free, (PHP license). It Needs php 4.04, html2ps, and ps2pdf.
posted by bdc34 at 8:04 AM on October 15, 2008

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