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WKHTMLTOPDF: A Free PDF solution

As any other developer we often find it difficult to get a Website to print something accurately, specially when printing labels for mailing as they are outside the default print area for most browser and no client want to adjust or memorize the print setting to adjust them manually. Also it doesn’t make sense to relay on client to do adjustments.

So the only universal solution I found is.. of course PDF files. But how do I create PDF. Well easy enough use some library. I did that I use iTextPDF very good Library that works for my C# project well for couple of years. But then what is the problem now? Well iTextPDF is now have commercial license at ridiculous pricing in fact it is now most expensive to any other paid software. Yet another Open Source project going paid on success. 

Also, there is a problem with library like iTextPDF that they need you to draw each and every element programmatically more often or not. And you find yourself caught in a web of long written code. I remember one of my report’s PDF generation code goes 1000 lines. I hate it. So, the best solution is to Generate PDF from a HTML source. We can handle HTML much better way and rather easily with our skills as web programmer. And even a designer in team can change PDF design giving time for programmer for other work. 

In this regard I look for free alternative of iTEXTPDF, which does have HTML parser to generate PDF from HTML file, and my search for now ends on http://code.google.com/p/wkhtmltopdf/ (wkhtmltopdf ) project. A Simple Executable that I can call from a my code to execute and it does the parsing. 

It is not really a good idea to call it through web page, but we should create a Windows service and use it there, but I have successfully test it to work on web server with quite a load and at least with my limitation to access Windows Service I can live with it running through HTML page, after all my PDF is just 1-2 page and it works fine. Will post code for it some other day. But do try it if you want a good and quick solution to your problem.

By Sumit Gupta

Sumit Gupta, born on 7th Feb 1981 in NCR, India. He lives a quiet life until he turn to a developer. Once he is in his professional life people start recognizing him for his work. Sumit Gupta is always keen to learn more and share his knowledge to anyone who deserve it. His goal of life is to code at least one 3D action game by itself or with his company Vikasumit [http://www.vikasumit.com].