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callas software - Logo

Solutions for Prepress, Print Production, Publishing, and Document Exchange

callas software pdfChip - Logo

Solutions for dynamic creation of high quality PDFs from HTML
(including PDF/A or PDF/X).

When to Use and Not to Use callas pdfChip - Details

    What callas pdfChip is
    callas pdfChip is a command-line application that implements a
    highly-optimised HTML + CSS + JavaScript to high-quality PDF converter
    (with support for more advanced features such as SVG, MathML, barcodes and more).

      HTML + CSS + JavaScript
      The input of callas pdfChip is an HTML file.
      As any regular HTML file used on the internet, it can use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
      to apply styling and it can use JavaScript to perform all kinds of tasks.
      Because callas pdfChip is based on the Qt WebKit HTML rendering engine,
      it is familiar with modern HTML syntax and is in essence as flexible as a browser
      in the type of HTML it can handle.

      But callas pdfChip also understands extensions to the HTML and CSS languages which
      allow it to support features that regular HTML and CSS would not have an answer for;
      this includes support for pagination, extended color spaces, metadata and much more.

      High-quality PDF
      The output of callas pdfChip is a high-quality PDF document.
      The high-quality aspect means that:
      • the PDF code is highly efficient, so that documents with many thousands of pages
        can be generated that are still very compact.
        The conversion engine is optimised so that it doesn't generate unnecessary content
        and includes elements which are used multiple times only once in the PDF document.

      • the PDF can be generated in such a way that it is immediately usable for publishing,
        print production, archival and other professional uses.
        The ISO PDF/X and PDF/A standards are supported, custom metadata can be included,
        colors can be specified correctly for a wide range of applications etc…

      A Command-Line Application
      callas pdfChip does not come with a user-interface.
      Instead it has to be controlled through its command-line interface (or CLI),
      either by using it in a terminal or command-prompt window, or by
      integrating it through scripting or a high-level programming language.

      With its lack of external dependencies, small footprint and fast operation,
      this makes callas pdfChip especially suited for integration in web-based or
      cloud-based applications where it can be used to turn any information
      into high-quality PDF for further processing.

    What callas pdfChip is Not
    Because there are a number of products out there that could easily be confused with callas pdfChip,
    it's important to realise what one should / should not try to do with callas pdfChip in a workflow.

      callas pdfChip is a Tool, not a complete solution for everything
      However powerful callas pdfChip is, don't expect it to solve all of your workflow issues.

      callas pdfChip is a specialized tool to convert HTML files of any level of complexity
      into first-class PDF documents. It can be an awesome addition to your workflow
      (see the "Use Cases" section below for ways in which it can help), but it will
      always be an addition to the workflow or the application where it is used.

      callas pdfChip is Not a Report Engine
      The first thing that might come to mind when thinking about callas pdfChip
      is to use it to generate simple documents such as reports or receipts.
      While callas pdfChip can definitely be used to accomplish this,
      keep in mind that callas pdfChip is not a report engine.

      If your documents are very simple, you might not need a
      specialized tool such as callas pdfChip to create them.

      And is it really reporting you are after, keep in mind that callas pdfChip
      doesn't have customized functionality out of the box to support that.

      Of course it's possible to write an HTML file which will produce nice reports
      including tables, lists, graphs and everything else you might want.
      But in the end it will probably take a lot of time to accomplish this and
      the cost for callas pdfChip and its implementation might become prohibitively high.

      callas pdfChip is Not a Web Site Conversion Tool
      Yes, callas pdfChip takes HTML and converts it into PDF using a Qt WebKit engine. But no,
      that doesn't mean it will convert arbitrary HTML or web site pages into nicely printable PDF.
      callas pdfChip was designed to take a specially crafted HTML file and provide a range
      of functionalities that a web site grabber / converter would not possess.

      If your need is to just convert existing web pages into PDF,
      you'll likely find better tools out there.

    callas pdfChip Use Cases
    There are a number of obvious use cases and workflows where callas pdfChip can easily add value:

      Imposition and content aggregation workflows
      The fact that callas pdfChip is capable of 'importing' PDF files into the final
      output PDF it creates, makes it ideal for workflows where impositioning or
      any other composition of PDF documents needs to be done.
      In such workflows it is of primary importance that the imposition or
      composition process doesn't break the PDF files that are combined and
      callas pdfChip is an excellent tool to ensure that.

      On top of that the support for SVG should be taken into account here as well,
      SVG is ideal to add additional information to imposed sheets, whether they
      are printer or registration marks, color bars or various bits of text.
      Together with the built-in support for barcodes that provides an excellent
      environment to decorate the final PDF with all necessary information.

      Creating downloadable web content
      In many cases web sites contain or generate information that at some point
      needs to be printed or delivered in printable format to a visitor of that site;
      PDF obviously is the ideal medium for that.

      The fact that callas pdfChip consumes an HTML template is ideal in many ways:
      • Simply changing the CSS file is sometimes enough already to provide a nice,
        printable view on the information on the site.
        callas pdfChip can then be used to convert that printable view into
        a perfect PDF document.

      • If the information comes straight out of a database, the HTML template can
        use JavaScript to read the correct data and modify the HTML template.

      • Because callas pdfChip can produce standards-compliant PDF/X or
        PDF/A documents, it is ideal for documents that need to go through a publishing
        or archival workflow afterwards.

      • callas pdfChip works with HTML templates;
        the skills to edit such templates are wide-spread and the templates are easy
        to maintain, fit into a version control workflow and share.
        callas pdfChip is also a self-contained solution, it does not need other libraries
        or tools (such as Adobe InDesign Server for example) to fill the templates
        with actual data.

      The environments where this could be used are very diverse;
      it could range from generating sales literature on the fly
      (and customised for the web site visitor) to the generation of receipts,
      tickets, real estate property information, recipes...
      Anything that is normally shown on the web site itself, but at times
      needs to be available in a printable form as well.

      Magazine and Newspaper publishing
      In many cases magazine and newspaper publishing workflows entail a fair amount of
      composition, ranging from adding advertisements, to titles, page numbers or barcodes.

      The same advantages for imposition workflows play here again,
      PDF files (with ads for example) can be added without any loss of quality
      or fear that the placed ad might be changed and the HTML templates
      with its JavaScript support are extremely flexible when it comes to adding
      additional content to the publications.

      In some workflows (think of specialty magazines or newspapers for example)
      the complete template could be done in HTML;
      with the support for CSS regions in callas pdfChip that certainly becomes a possibility.

      Online editing
      More and more web sites provide the possibility to select a template
      for a publication and then customise it in more or less complex ways
      - ranging from adding text to changing fonts, colors and images.

      The challenge is to provide an online tool which lets the user make choices
      and then provide an instant customised PDF of the final piece.
      Because callas pdfChip uses HTML templates, the editing part could be built simply
      using those HTML templates and callas pdfChip could be used in the background
      to convert the template into PDF.

      callas pdfChip is fast and uses little resources, so it could be called while editing
      to provide instant feedback. When using the PDF to give feedback to the customer,
      there are no surprises at the end of the cycle
      (no differences between the preview of the template and the actual printed final piece).

      Book publishing
      The challenge of book printing (and even more so for on-demand book printing)
      is to take lots of relatively simple but structured content,
      and produce a relatively long, nice-looking, PDF.

      The advanced pagination features of callas pdfChip come in to play to deal
      with page numbers, running headers and so on.

      Because callas pdfChip can convert multiple HTML files into a single PDF file,
      it's ideal in environments where a book is delivered in pieces
      (one HTML file per chapter for example).
      The JavaScript support even lets the template pull the information
      out of an XML file making links with a database easy.

      Variable data PDF creation and transactional printing
      In these workflows the HTML template is typically relatively simple.
      The challenge is to produce a thousand, or a million pieces that are all customised
      and to do so in a speedy way while producing an optimised PDF document.

      callas pdfChip can easily read data from XML or CSV and can repeatedly output
      the same page or pages into a PDF document, where each copy is customised.
      Because this customisation uses JavaScript it's fast and very flexible;
      it allows customisation of text and graphics with ease.

      Creating long documents is a stronghold of callas pdfChip,
      its processing time scales up nicely with longer documents and
      the PDF documents it creates are optimised as much as possible.
      Images that appear multiple times for example, are included in the generated
      PDF document only once which helps keep the generated PDF file as small as possible.

      Finally, in variable data and transactional workflows,
      the ability to include barcodes used for marketing purposes (such as QR codes)
      or administrative purposes (such as data matrices) is of great benefit.

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