Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




why PDF is soo complex

Hello,

In trying to produce end-user reports in my Deplhi app
I found out ( and convinced every day more ) that it is much more easier to cretate files for MS Office , natively, MS Word (RTF file creation) and Excel (BIFF 8) without even to require Word/Excel at client PC. For viewing purposes they can use any RTF /BIFF 8 viewe, but than again all of them have MS Office/OpenOffice installed. With all this bashing at MSFT for keeping the closed format of their Office documents, it is just unbeliavably easy to do it (download documentation from MSFT site and do it or get a free/shareware component to do this for you)

On the other hand, I am not aware of any free/cheap shareware component that allows you to directly create PDF files without eiher carrying DLLs around or some limitations on what you want to generate, or having to comply with Printer object programming paradigm

I just do not get it...

Seemore
Monday, July 15, 2002

Hi!

PDF is not that complex, but as it was derived from PostScript, it's very low-level.
If you don't have a high-level library which does it for you, you have to code all the layout code yourself. (I did this once - in PHP).
At least for Java there are some higher-level libraries available which can make PDF creation easy.

Sebastian

Sebastian
Monday, July 15, 2002

[On the other hand, I am not aware of any free/cheap shareware component that allows you to directly create PDF files]

ppdf.zip (550,424 bytes) 

PasPDF - Native PDF Creation for Delphi
txt2pdf - Text-To-PDF Converter

.. source code included for Delphi 1-4 and TP7/BP7
.. freeware for "non-commercial use"
.. "commercial use" : USD19 (up to v1.4xx) USD39 (up to v1.5xx-v1.9xx) (ver. 0.943, added 1/3/99, updated 1/30/99, Initial release of v1.0 will supporting Text Processing only in 16.jan.99-28.feb.99.

available at http://ftp.sunet.se/delphi

This is a Delphi Super Page Mirror, so you will find it on
any DSP-mirror.

Maybe this is what you want?

Patrik
Monday, July 15, 2002

<< On the other hand, I am not aware of any free/cheap shareware component that allows you to directly create PDF files without eiher carrying DLLs around or some limitations on what you want to generate, or having to comply with Printer object programming paradigm >>

IIRC, the gold standard for this is PDFLib, found at http://www.pdflib.com/

Chris Winters
Monday, July 15, 2002

There are plenty of free Perl modules for creating and manipulating PDF.

http://search.cpan.org/search?mode=module&query=pdf

Matthew Lock
Monday, July 15, 2002

Also check out waler (waler.com) and report builder by digital metaphors.  Why not simplify your life.  I don't work for them.

delphi bro
Monday, July 15, 2002

wPDF from http://www.wptools.de is quite good, especially if you're already using WPTools.

The aforementioned Waler add-on for ReportBuilder is also excellent.

Tim Sullivan
Monday, July 15, 2002

Not exactly what you're looking for, but might come in handy -

Htmldoc, which you can find at [ http://htmldoc.org ] reads HTML input and produces astonishingly beautiful PDF and PS output. It comes with source so you can tweak it to your heart's desire (but it's in C, not Delphi, so you'll have to sort out linkage issues if you insist on linking it).

Oh, and it's cross platform, just in case you wondered.

HTMLDOC + SDF (Simple Document Formatter) have long replaced Word in my book - I write a simple file in a text editor with very light WYMIWYG markup (What you MEAN is what you get), and pass it over to SDF (which, in turn passes it to HTMLDOC) to get wonderful results.

Ori Berger
Monday, July 15, 2002

um, if you're really that PostScript challenged, you can easily kick your stuff out to LaTeX or DocBook and then convert away to your heart's content.

Alex Russell
Monday, July 15, 2002

The w3c method for replacing paged content is XSL:FO. It's an XML file with overzealous style="" definitions. You can process the XSL:FO file into PDF using Apache FOP.

Matthew
Monday, July 15, 2002

http://www.pdfzone.com

Bella
Monday, July 15, 2002

www.est.hi-ho.ne.jp/takeshi_kanno/powerpdf

Superb.

Szasz Attila
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Wow, all these posts and no once mentions ghostscript?

Even for me who develops with Microsoft tools all the time, the most popular approach to create a pdf file (next to purchasing tools from Adobe) is to use the open source GhostScript stuff.

I even use GhostScript on my pc right now to create pdf files. I saw no reason to purchase the distiller from Adobe when a free alternate exists.

For sure Ghostscript takes a bit of hopping, since you send output to a postscript printer (that sends the PS to a file). You then convert this PS file to pdf via GhostScript. It is a extra step, but the price is right!. If this is too much, then just purchase the distiller from Adobe, and send output to a printer that creates the pdf file for you.

As for Microsoft being easier in this regards...yes. Even the whole office suite will output stuff to RTF, and it does it with great ease. A report in ms-access can go to rtf, or even Excel with a mouse click. As usual, MS has that knack for making these things easy....

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Friday, August 02, 2002

Totally Free PDF Creator, no ads, no nag, easy to install and use.  Based on Ghostscript so the full source is also available. 

www.primopdf.com

Doug Saltsman
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home