[ic] PDF generated invoices etc.

David Christensen david at endpoint.com
Thu Jun 11 17:48:57 UTC 2009

> Dear All,
> I am wondering which applications would work best for generating
> complex pdf invoices, preferably on the fly.
> Anyone any experience on this subject?
> Would be happy to hear from you on this matter.
> Currently we are looking at PDFlib. Looks promising but not sure yet
> if this library can handle everything we need.

Hi Ton,

I've personally used PDFlib (both the PHP and Perl bindings),  
PDF::API2, and I know that some others at End Point have success  
making some custom PDF invoicing systems using HTMLDoc's PDF output  

Last I looked (which has been a few years), PDFlib was pretty low- 
level, which gave you a lot of control over the graphics layout, etc,  
but it meant that reports and the like would need to be hand-crafted  
or have some other abstraction layer built on top of it.

PDF::API2 is similar in scope/functionality to PDFlib, and has the  
same low-level caveats; however as a pure perl implementation freely  
available on CPAN it is (for me at least) the more preferable of the  
two.  (The last I saw, you had to license PDFlib if you wanted to do  
anything non-internal with it.)  It also had a nicer API to work with,  

HTMLDoc has the benefit of being simple to use, but it is difficult to  
get the layout/appearance exactly right, plus the version that I have  
used does not support alternate character sets/font encodings than the  
basic latin-1 which may become an issue.

Some further advice from my colleague Ethan Rowe can be found in the  
archives at:  http://www.icdevgroup.org/pipermail/interchange-users/2007-July/047692.html 


David Christensen
End Point Corporation
david at endpoint.com

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