February 24, 2012

Produce & Publish News/Plone Konferenz wrap-up

Some notes on the 1. German Plone Conference in Munich and recent developments in Produce & Publish

The first German Plone Conference is finally over. It was a great conference with about 170 attendees - both Plone developers, Plone users and interested people. Especially a lot of new people from the Plone users side made this conference an interesting event - lots of interesting people and interesting conversations.

I gave a talk on the state of producing, publishing and distribution of electronic contents using our Produce & Publish plattform (slides, German only).

By accident an attendee point me to a PDF converter with similar capabilities to our current converter PrinceXML used for professional high-quality PDF documents. The new converter is PDFreactor and is in many ways comparable to PrinceXML. It also accepts HTML/XML for the content part and supports the styling of output PDF document through CSS. In fact PDFreactor provides a similar output compared to PrinceXML when using the unmodified stylesheets of Produce & Publish by default.

Some remarkable differences (and advantages over PrinceXML) are

  • support for tagged PDFs (PDF/a)
  • support for images in CMYK colorspace
  • generates PDF forms
  • PDF signing and encryption
  • support for generating barcodes and QR codes
  • slightly cheaper than PrinceXML

Downsides of PDFreactor

  • slower (based on Java) but supports a webservice API to avoid startup times [Update: PDFreactor is usually run as a server process and access through a webservice API)
  • significant higher memory fingerprint
  • no floating of images or tables [Update: floating is possible]
  • font-configuration not possible through CSS (fonts must be configured as part of the PDFreactor configuration) [Update: PDFreactor version 6 now supports arbitrary webfonts]

What are the benefits for the Produce & Publish plattform?

  • another high-quality PDF converter option
  • more scenarios where Produce & Publish might ba  good choice
  • optional PDF generation of accessible PDF documents when needed
  • (optional) support of PDFreactor on the Produce & Publish server side (through the newest zopyx.convert2 module with support for PDFreactor)
  • (optional) support of PDFreactor through the Produce & Publish Plone client connector (converter=pdf-pdfreactor parameter)
  • no direct support for PDFreactor for generating PDF from within the Produce & Publish Authoring Environment (hard-coded PDF converter name - likely to be lifted soon)