Saturday, May 5, 2018

How to choose the best PDF SDK for an enterprise

Find out how to chose the best PDF SDK


Software developers have a choice of multiple SDKs and libraries to manage files in PDF formats. There is no single solution which could satisfy everybody’s needs. I have selected the most popular kits on the market and compared them to find the best one. But before continuing further, it is necessary to find out what PDF is, and why so many software developers convert documents to and from it.

Over the last 30 years, Portable Document Format (PDF) has become the most popular way of presenting and exchanging electronic documents. PDF uses PostScript, a language which describes the layout of everything that can be embedded in a document; vis-à-vis text, fonts, raster images and vector graphics. It also includes all the information needed to display it; like fonts, colors, etc. Once created, the PDF document cannot be edited unless you have the special tools. Thus it is tamperproof.

PDF is an open format, which does not require any royalties. It preserves the document integrity across all platforms, so no matter where you open the document, be it on a Windows or a Mac or a Linux machine, the document shows exactly the same. This format also comes with multiple options for security, such as access, watermarks, and digital signatures. Finally, PDF has an ability to contain an unlimited amount of data, which is compressed into easily-exchangeable file size, while maintaining image quality.

SDK is a software development toolkit designed to work with PDF documents. It is a tool which lets programmers create applications which can convert documents between formats (PDF, HTML, Word, etc.). PDF SDKs are the foundation for enterprise PDF management.

For enterprises, the price-performance compromise has now shifted in favor of performance. Most SDK’s on the market today offer similar quality of conversion. So speed and reliability are more important. Engineers also look at what platforms and programming environments the SDK supports. Local support within the continental U.S. is important as well.

Five major SDKs have been selected for a comparative analysis: Aspose, easyPDF SDK, iText, PDF Tools AG and Foxit. There are plenty of other players on the market who offer PDF API and SDKs but those have SDKs focused on professional software developers and engineers and provide multiple features for file manipulation in PDF format.

Out of the many SDK’s available today, the following five have been selected for comparison. Others do not have the sophistication needed for manipulating PDF documents.

PDF SDK Comparison analysis, as of January 2017

easyPDF
iText
PDF Tools AG
Aspose
Foxit PDF
Platforms
Windows
Windows
Windows, Unix
Windows, Android
Windows, OS X, Linux
Programing environments
Java, .Net, PHP, Python
Java, .Net
Java, .Net
Java, .Net
Java, .Net
File formats supported
HTML
Word
Excel
RTF
Images
HTML
Word
Excel
RTF
Word
Excel
RTF
HTML
Word
Excel
HTML
Word
Excel
RTF
Images
Main PDF APIs
PDF Printer
PDF Manager
PDF Viewer
PDF Data Extractor
PDF Printer
PDF Manager PDF Calligraphy
PDF Viewer
PDF Data Extractor
PDF Printer
PDF Manager
PDF Viewer
PDF Data Extractor
PDF Printer
PDF Manager
PDF Viewer
PDF Printer
PDF Manager
PDF Viewer
PDF Data Extractor
Conversion speed (3 MB HTML file)
1.9
2.4
-
3.5
2.9
Conversion speed (3 MB Word file)
1.7 s
2.1 s
1.9 s
2.7 s
2.6 s
Installation
Application and components (MSI)
Components
Separate installer for each API (MSI)
Libraries
Application and components (MSI)
Customization
Advance
Intermediate
Basic
Basic
Advance
Error handling & recovery
Advance
Intermediate
Intermediate
Basic
Intermediate
Free Trial
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
US based support
Yes. Phone Free & Premium plans
Yes. Phone Free & Premium plans
No. Phone Free & Premium plans
Online. Premium plan
Online. Premium plan


PHP being the most popular web programing language, the comparison benchmarks should be established using PHP as the programming framework. However, only one SDK supports PHP (easyPDF). That is why C# was used, which is also popular environment for desktop and server applications. We also tested Word to PDF conversion for speed benchmarks.

Each of the five SDK’s has been tested on the same Windows machine running Windows 7. In each case a Word and HTML file with tables and images have been converted to PDF. easyPDF was the easiest to install and had the best performance. It has GUI with multiple conversion parameters options, automated code generation and debugging capabilities. Thus novices can use this SDK without any need to code the interface. It provides two levels of support, a free basic support and paid professional support. Support engineers are eager to help customers kick start their enterprise PDF projects.

Most important criterion for enterprise users is error handing and recovery. easyPDF SDK has the most robust error handling built into it. It has cloud based high capacity deployments which process thousands of PDF conversions every day, and are used by fortune 500 companies

In conclusion, all the SDK’s we tested performed will for mundane day-to-day operations. But the differences emerge in customized conversions, and the reliability expected of enterprise grade software. Add US-based local support to the mix, and we have one winner. Download easyPDF SDK today for a free trial. In case you need a helping hand, easyPDF’s support team is always ready to help.

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