Saturday, 13 November 2010

PDF from Umbraco | Creating PDF case studies from data in the Umbraco CMS

Last week we launched the first version of our website based on Umbraco 4.5.2 and this week we have just added a bit of extra functionality to the case studies section which enables you to download the case studies as PDF documents.

To do this we used the PDF Creator package by Darren Ferguson, this is actually a wrapper around a product from a company called Ibex, which is where you can download documentation for the mark up required.

The way Darren has made the implementation is really simple for anyone already familiar with the Umbraco CMS. You simple create a new template and call a Usercontrol macro, this then does the magic in the background and passes an XSLT file to the ibex engine.

What you need to be aware of is that you need to learn a new mark up language called XSL-FO this is actually part of the XSL 1.0 specification and is a language used to express print layouts.

As an indication of timescale, from knowing nothing about XSL-FO to the finished product that you can see on the website now has taken me 2 days of learning and just fiddling with the mark up to get the final result.

If anyone is interested I might post some code snippets to show you how some of it is done, I would also be really interested to have some feedback about the PDF layout and what you like and don't like about it.

Cheers,

Chris

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