Archive for January, 2010


Easy PDF Production

January 24, 2010

I have been looking for a good way to produce PDF documents and merge data into the documents as well as enable or disable different sections of the documents depending on certain conditions. The idea is to produce larger PDF documents for insurances and banks as easy as possible. Most of the approaches I have seen so far require one to produce a PDF with Word and then Adobe Acrobat Professional to create form fields on top of the PDF. Once that’s done, the dynamic data is filled into the PDF form by a ‘stamping’ process and the PDF fields are removed at that time.

Others just entirely produce the PDF document with a library such as iText, PDFBox or some other PDF creating making the approach very developer centric.

I was trying to find a better solution to handle PDF document creation within server based applications. I wanted to just annotate word or open office documents and use them directly to create the PDFs. No need to create A PDF from the word document anymore and no need to create A PDF form anymore. We could save a lot of time in development this way.

I thought if one can convert an open office document to FOP then you can render FOP as PDF as well as modify the FOP document on the fly to add the data into the output PDF. I found the following project on sourceforge: Office2FO – to my surprise, the creators of that project also created Inforama – a full editor and server suite to do just what I wanted to do.

Inforama can take a n open office document and your datasources, merge the data together and produce good looking, easy to maintain PDF documents

A great solution to finally make PDF production easier! I’d like to know what you think about this application and what your pain points are with creating PDF documents.