Guest Post by Jonathan Cookson:
There is a wide range of different PDF production and display software available for businesses to integrate into their products and applications. Of these programs there is a series based in the Java environment. Java based solutions are widely compatible and perform more efficiently compared to PHP/ASP libraries which need to execute significantly more code and access more files.
It should be noted that Java 1.5 can be used independently of any additional library to produce a PDF document; however this approach often yields disappointing results. Another issue with Java 1.5’s own PDF functionality is that features such as encrypted PDF documents, annotations and interactive forms are not supported. There is, however, a variety of Java based PDF software which have different capabilities.
At the basic level, Java components can view PDF documents. More advanced Java components can create PDF documents, as the high-end components can be used to generate dynamic documents from XML files.
The Java PDF Library is an extensive API which allows clients to create, edit, display and print PDF documents as part of their wider application or project. The API has wide capabilities and is able to embed all standard image files into the document and include hyperlinks. The API also supports TrueType and Type1 fonts. Other basic functionality includes converting bitmap image into PDF and producing password protected documents to ensure documents are safe.
Extended editions of this software produce web-optimized, or linearized documents to improve the client’s application performance. Existing PDF documents can be merged together or used as templates; in addition interactive PDF forms can be produced.
Converting XML files into PDF documents can be achieved using Java Report Generator. Integrated within the server-side scripts, dynamically produced PDF reports can be rendered quickly and efficiently. Java Report Generator is able to use standard HTML syntax to structure the document and supports cascading style sheets (CSS) to give the client extensive control over style and presentation. Because this component uses XHTML and CSS, developers tend to find the component easy to begin using.
An extended edition of this software enables more sophisticated features such as support for embedded interactive forms (known as AcroForms) and digital signatures. Ability to use pre-existing PDF documents as a template is also a feature of the extended edition.
Several companies offer prospective customers an extensive free trial version of their software, which can be downloaded directly from their websites. Trial functions tend to incorporate all features but also include a visible watermark of “demo” or similar notice. Many also offer their customers unlimited email support to ensure their clients fully utilise and integrate their products. If your not sure what product to use then the table below will help you decide.
Jonathon Cookson is a Marketing Manager at http://bfo.com.
image via George Armhold