Hack 85 Use HTML to Create PDF

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Format your content in HTML and then transform it into PDF.

HTML pages are easy to create on the fly. PDF pages are hard. One simple way to create dynamic PDF is to first create the document in HTML and then use HTMLDOC to transform it into PDF, as shown in Figure 6-15. This works for single pages and long documents.

Figure 6-15. Using HTMLDOC to create bookmarks and TOC pages from your HTML headings, and to convert hyperlinks into live PDF links

HTMLDOC creates PDF documents from HTML 3.2 data. It provides document layout options, such as running headers and footers. It can add PDF features, such as bookmarks, links, metadata, and encryption. Invoke HTMLDOC from the command line or use its GUI. Visit http://www.easysw.com/htmldoc/software.php to download Windows binaries or source that can be compiled on Linux, Mac OS X, or a variety of other operating systems.

The detailed documentation that comes with HTMLDOC also is available online at http://www.easysw.com/htmldoc/documentation.php.

In Perl, you can automate PDF generation with HTMLDOC by using the HTML::HTMLDoc module to interface with HTMLDOC.