Monday, October 15, 2018

PDF API – Open source or Premium?


What PDF API to choose - open source or premium

As PDF files and their use in corporate world is ubiquitous, so is the need to edit or modify these files. Developers have a choice of many tools which give them access to PDF file contents through APIs.

With these APIs you can edit the PDF files to some extent, and perform some operations like split, combine, stamp, etc. Unfortunately, standard programming environments like .NET or Java don’t support such operations. Short of a full-fledged editor, for which you need Acrobat, the APIs can let you programmatically manipulate the PDF files to a limited extent.

For software developers, who need to add PDF functionality to their applications, but don’t have the time to develop their own PDF tools, there are two ways to acquire the API – Open source (free) versions, and premium (paid) versions.

Open source PDF libraries give you most of the editing features which premium versions do. However, software developers still prefer premium PDF libraries. The difference lies in the versatility, reliability and support.


Premium PDF APIs are designed to work on most platforms – Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. Also, they usually contain sample code on each of these platforms to get to you up and running quickly.


Premium versions support intense computing environments like those that exist in the corporate world. For example, an insurance company may need to process thousands of claims every day, submitted as PDF files. Even a low failure rate in such a case is unacceptable, due to the legal liability issues.


Premium PDF API products offer a limited amount of free support, and also offer paid support. This de-risks the use of these products. Open source products rarely offer any support, and the engineers are on their own to make their applications work. Of course, there are forums and user communities these developers can turn to, but that is hit and miss.

In addition, open source PDF libraries usually have fewer features than premium PDF SDK and API, and lack customization as well. With these limitations of open source PDF libraries, software developers can waste a lot of time trying to customize their applications.

There are several good open-source PDF APIs and libraries on the web, which can be very useful for simple projects. But when the quality and performance matters, the pros use premium, corporation-backed solutions.

BCL easyPDF SDK is one premium SDK which gives you a rich set of APIs to address most business needs. The PDF APIs have matured over the years and is battle tested with business-critical applications deployed by fortune 500 companies around the world. This PDF SDK is developed and supported by Silicon Valley professionals who can help you to customize your PDF application and align it with your business needs. To know more about easyPDF SDK, and to try it for free, please visit

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