Friday, December 08, 2006

PDF Generation with Big Faceless Report Generator

Big Faceless Report Generator is a commercial Java API for generating PDF files from XML input. The report generator is built on the Big Faceless Java PDF library. It has a very easy to use API, but the one thing that I like most about it is, for it is more than a bargain for the price you pay for it. It easily out performs the open source PDF generators (iText and XSL FOP) and also has a lot of intersting features.

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  • HTML-style Tables - auto-sized nested tables with full control over padding, margins and borders
  • Support for CSS2 Style sheets
  • Create inline graphs and charts with XML, direct from the database
  • Includes a servlet and a servlet filter for simple generation of PDF's from XML or JSP pages.
  • Auto pagination of content with page headers and footers
  • Familiar HTML syntax - <a>, <ul>, <p>, <table>, <td> and so on - simpler and faster than FOP
  • Unicode support, Encryption, TrueType fonts, Barcodes and more
  • Load existing PDF documents as templates
  • Digitally sign documents
  • Create and edit interactive Forms, or "AcroForms"
The following is an example of how to use the Report generation library to create PDF files using an XML for input Data, and an XSL as a template. Follow these steps to implement the example
  1. Download Big Faceless Report generator from here. You only have to include the bforeport.jar file in your classpath.
  2. Create the input XML file as shown below:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <Org>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>Asif</firstName>
    <lastName>Mandvi</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>James</firstName>
    <lastName>Baker</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>Jon</firstName>
    <lastName>Stewart</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>Stephen</firstName>
    <lastName>Colbert</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>Samantha</firstName>
    <lastName>Bee</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    <Employee>
    <firstName>Jon</firstName>
    <lastName>Oliver</lastName>
    <dateOfBirth>1/1/1900</dateOfBirth>
    </Employee>
    </Org>
    test.xml
  3. Create the template for the PDF(XSL) as shown below.
    <xsl:stylesheet version="2.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
    <xsl:output indent="yes" />
    <xsl:preserve-space elements="true" />
    <xsl:template match="Org">
    <pdf>
    <body>
    <table font-size="12pt" width="700px">
    <tr font-weight="bold">
    <td>First Name</td>
    <td>Last Name</td>
    <td>Date of Birth</td>
    </tr>
    <xsl:for-each select="/Org/Employee">
    <tr>
    <td>
    <xsl:value-of select="firstName" />
    </td>
    <td>
    <xsl:value-of select="lastName" />
    </td>
    <td>
    <xsl:value-of select="dateOfBirth" />
    </td>
    </tr>
    </xsl:for-each>
    </table>
    </body>
    </pdf>
    </xsl:template>
    </xsl:stylesheet>
    test.xsl
    This XSL file will be used to create the final XML file that will sent as input to the Report generator.
  4. Transform the XML to the format required by the report generator: The XML file cannot be used as input to the report generator directly. It has to be first transformed into the required format. That is reason for using the XSL.
    public class ConvertXML {
    public void renderReport() {
    try {
    TransformerFactory factory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
    StreamSource stylesheet = new StreamSource(new FileInputStream("c:\\pdf\\test.xsl"));
    Transformer transformer = factory.newTransformer(stylesheet);
    Source src = new StreamSource(new FileInputStream("c:\\pdf\\test.xml"));
    Result res = new StreamResult(new FileOutputStream("c:\\pdf\\intermediate.xml"));
    transformer.transform(src, res);
    } catch (Exception e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
    }
    }
    }
    ConvertXML.java
  5. The following code can be used to generate the final PDF: The PDFGenerator first uses the ConvertXML to transform the input to the report generator input format (intermediate.xml), and then invokes the report generator.
    public class PDFGenerator {
    public void createPDF(String xmlfile, OutputStream out) {
    ReportParser parser;
    try {
    parser = ReportParser.getInstance();
    InputSource src = new InputSource(new FileInputStream(xmlfile));
    PDF pdf = (PDF) parser.parse(src);
    pdf.render(out);
    out.close();
    } catch (Exception e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
    }
    }

    public static void main(String args[]) {
    PDFGenerator gen = new PDFGenerator();
    OutputStream os = null;
    try {
    ConvertXML cx = new ConvertXML();
    cx.renderReport();
    os = new FileOutputStream("c:\\pdf\\test.pdf");
    } catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
    }
    gen.createPDF("C:\\pdf\\intermediate.xml", os);
    }
    }
    PDFGenerator.java

2 comments:

  1. Hi All,

    I am using weblogic 9.2 and i am consuming one webservices and it gives,

    weblogic.xml.jaxp.ChainingEntityResolver.popEntityResolver


    Please help me out,

    Thanks,
    Vijay.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How to print this generated pdf? Using same BFO libraries........

    Thanks,
    Kaustubh

    ReplyDelete