Re: Converting HTML docs to PDFs

Subject: Re: Converting HTML docs to PDFs
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: Renee Bornstein <rbornstein -at- AdvisorSoftware -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 20:30:23 -0400

Renee Bornstein wrote:
I've got an assignment to document an XML API. There are a few good

tools for converting the XML to HTML, where the schema shows up in nice
frames and tables, complete with helpful diagrams. But the boss says we
must produce PDFs as well. I've been researching HTML-->PDF conversion
tools and it seems there are two categories: free/cheap that don't do a
very good job, and $3K+ that do wa-ay more than I need. The first
category of tools produce PDFs that are either too small to read, or
only capture part of the page (I could just print the original HTML if I
wanted that), and don't have a clue about page breaks, etc. This
category includes tools like HTML2PDF Pilot and PDFonlin. The second
category of tools produce beautiful PDFs, including nested tables, table
header continuations, and even the capability to put a Print To PDF
button on my webpages. The best I saw was Corda HighWire. However, I
don't have a budget for $3,000. I don't really have a budget at all, but
might could talk my way into a program that's under $500. Anyone been
through this and found a good HTML-->PDF converter?

As with most things, it depends.

The middle-of-the-road and easy solution is to use Acrobat Professional. Point it to the the top-level (index) HTML page with the File > Open Web Page command, follow the bouncing ball for options you can set, and press Enter. This is a good way of capturing a Web site where your purpose is to grab a snapshot of the site at a particular time. You can do some cleanup in Acrobat (deleting artifacts you don't need), but it doesn't necessarily make a beautiful document.

The better solution is to generate both HTML and PDF from a single source. You can do this with any of several packages. Word is cheap and easy, but it produces horrendous HTML. If you can live with never looking beneath the covers of Word-generated HTML, that may be the solution for you. Otherwise, you'll need to spend something.




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Converting HTML docs to PDFs: From: Renee Bornstein

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