Friday, 31 July 2009

PDF Generation with PDFJet

As mentioned previously, I have been working a lot on report generation. Where I work just now, we produce a lot of reports. A lot of them are produced manually and are very large. An ideal candidate for automation.

I need to produce them in a number of different formats, pdf is the first one I tackled. All of the reports I need to produce use tables, so I needed to find a .Net pdf library that had this functionality. I took a look at what was on offer, open source, closed source and commercial. I went for a lib called PDFJet. This is a fairly mature Java pdf library that has been ported over to .Net for C# http://www.pdfjet.com/. Its fairly cheap and whilst it lacks a lot of in depth examples, there are quite a few available on their website. The support is really good too - if you have a question, the guys are able to provide feedback very quickly.

It is very well featured, but I am basically using it to generate tables from datatables. I have been using it in earnest for about a week now, so I will try and post some examples of how it can be used here. There are two ways of creating a table with PDFJet, you can use a delimited text file holding the data you need or you can build a table programatically. Doing it in the code is quite tricky, to do this you need to build a list of lists of type cell - not as easy as it sounds... However, I am very impressed with this library and the things it can do.

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