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goon (3162)

goon
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload

lives ~ melbourne [csiro.au], australia.

breaths ~ perl monger [pm.org] and LUV [luv.asn.au]

writes ~ bootload [netspace.net.au], groking software, bit by bit into plain english

codes ~ www.perlmonks.org [perlmonks.org] and slashdot.org/~goon [slashdot.org]

Journal of goon (3162)

Saturday January 24, 2004
10:17 PM

complex HTML-->???-->PDF?

[ #16986 ]

the problem

  • but the current Word doc (the catalogue) has tables, graphics and was 'built' with Word templates, so I have no idea how ell it would all convert.

the site that got me interested in pdf was Stas Beckmans site, www.stason.org. He gave a talk to the melbourne pm last year. Through the course of his talk on mod_perl 2 he showed the notes from his site in html with pdf downloads of the site.

So I tried to re-create this html->ps->pdf so that I too could have a printable version of a project I'm working on called Ratpile (make a directory that has *stuff* stored in it searchable by stuffing information about it into a relational database - data mining some may call it.) using perl+DBI+TT2. The template I created is a *bare bones* html page sans images. This is the technique Stas is using with his docset.

the point I guess I'm trying to make is I've used text only and not images. I've done a bit of research and this is what I've come up with...

  • graphics are supported in postscript (3?)
  • others better (ybiC) than I, have hacked together html->PS->PDF code and appears to handle images via html2ps but not html tables (Create PostScript and PDF versions of all HTML files in given directory )
  • one approach could be to use Matt Sergeants, PDFLib (load_image method) a oo wrapper around pdflib by www.pdflib.com. but I seem to remember has restrictions for use under OSI (has to be opensource, private use or researcher).
  • or use Alfred Reibenschuhs - Text::PDF::API where I found via an old page PDF-API2-0 which has some image (jpg,png,handleing capabilities
  • logreport has an interesting set of observations about html->PDF generation. Namely problems with html formatting and tables

building html->PDF with images and troublesome html tables

now given what we have found above I would suggest the following (unless anyone has a better idea) of using:

  • extract word document to html
  • extract table data (word document via OLE) or (via html via Html-TableExtract - like latter better.)
  • remove html tables in html documents
  • reinsert data into a simple table using <pre> tags for layout and html tags for bolding, emphasis. Or find some other method by experimentation in html for representing tables (text)
  • PDF-API2 as the PDF renderer. This can all be done in code.

the real problem maybe rendering the tables generated from word. complicated layout in word (re-rendered to html) will have to be modified to the postscript syntax then rendered to PDF. The problem is defined by converting the html tables to pdf.

it is not rocket science to create a bit of code to extract the data from the table, re-create a table using PDF-API (and its child modules).

but is there a shorcut?

of course you could forget all the above and take your chances with Michael Frankl's HTML-HTMLDOC and convert you html files directly to PDF :)

the rocket science bit is trying to get this to work on cygwin or win32

credits

damn I love cpan.

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  • Use HtmlDoc [easysw.com] from Easy Software products. We have a plugin for AxKit that allows you to use this, and it's much easier than anything else at converting a site to PDF. And the results are very very good.
    • thanks matt.

      had a look at the site and I'm pretty impressed with the license and docs and I'll checkout the ax plugin. I found a gnu tool available for multiple platforms - Antiword [demon.nl]. It claims to convert "... Word documents to plain text, to PostScript and to XML/DocBook ...".

      might be interesting to have a showdown between the two and see the results.

      --
      bootload [netspace.net.au], groking softwa