When working in web development, building e-commerce solutions, corporate websites or websites for charity organizations, one have many times noticed that there are many features that could benefit from having content available as pdf documents. For the e-commerce solution, it could be a self service function for the customer to get a printable copy of the invoices from the order history, the corporate website can provide financial reports for investors and the charity can produce printable certificates of donations made online. This is only some of the many uses for pdf documents. There are many more, but the one thing these features on the website have in common is that it is not part of the core purpose of the website. These features are often found in the "nice to have"-part of the specification, not in the "need-to-have".
This means spending a lot of money on a license for a SDK that can generate pdf documents. Developers need to spend time learning that SDK, time coding, to eventually produce a pdf document that is pretty simple regarding layout and graphical design, meaning that only a very small part of the features of that SDK is actually needed. Instead, many times, these features are not developed because of this, and the end users gets a less satisfying user experience. But not adding these "nice-to-have" features could prove to be more costly in the end. One example could be that customer support needs to have more resources available due to unnecessary calls about this content that could have been easily downloaded instead.
This is where PdfBroker.io comes in. We wanted to create a pdf service that is platform independent, follows standards and doesn't require a developer to learn a new SDK to solve the pretty simple tasks like taking data available on the web and presenting that in a printable document format for the users who needs that.
On the home page we say that PdfBroker.io is simple, fast and secure, and here is why.
As mentioned above, there is no SDK to be learned to start using PdfBroker.io. We have based our pdf generating api on the mature standard XSL-FO or XSL Formatting Objects which is part of the XSL specification. All the major programming languages today used for web development have some sort of built in support for handling xml documents and xslt transformations. That is why the XSL-FO format is so well suited for using with generating pdf documents online. You collect your data in a xml document, transform with your xsl-fo template, send to our api and get the pdf document back. Works on any platform, no SDK. Simple!
One of the things that we started noticing a while back was, that in those cases where we actually did get to implement a pdf generator in the solution, the SDK:s out there where not up to date with how the web is built today. Perhaps the SDK:s primarily still targets desktop software, but todays modern websites should be able to host in the cloud, and for us, mainly working with Microsoft .net, it means Azure. With the legacy SDK:s we often needed to combine the website running as Azure app services with a virtual machine running for the pdf generation because the SDK:s need to access system fonts and system graphics libraries, which are not available in the sandboxed model of Azure Functions for instance.
So when creating PdfBroker.io we didn't want to wrap old ways and present them with a modern facade for you developers out there. That would not fit with the demands of modern sites and apps running out there, so PdfBroker.io is completely freed from the requirements of those legacy libraries and are now running in a modern architecture of combining Azure App services and Azure Functions to generate your pdfs. That means that our api is a high available, scalable solution that grows easily with your website or app. Fast!
When using PdfBroker.io your data is secure. We of course use industry standards regarding authentication and transport security. But what we also mean is that when using our api, you provide all content in the request. All data and images are attached in the request, and after the pdf document is generated the data is deleted. No need like in some other html to pdf generating services out there to provide username and password back to your system and data is collected meaning you need expose perhaps sensitive data online. Secure!
I hope that you will find our pdf generating api useful and we can give our users the best user experience out there and providing data in the format they need it.