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Using the Muhimbi PDF Converter with SharePoint 2013

Posted at: 16:20 on 25 February 2013 by Muhimbi

SP2013 LogoOne of our key principles is that no one is left behind when it comes to our customers and their SharePoint versions. No matter how old your version of SharePoint is, we will continue to support it by making sure every new feature, where feasible, is made available on all SharePoint versions.

When the PDF Converter for SharePoint was first released, SharePoint 2007 was state of the art. Over the years SharePoint 2010 adoption has grown as expected, but a surprising number of organisations still use older SharePoint 2007 versions. We will not leave them behind.

Naturally we have to look at the future as well, so ever since SharePoint 2013 was released our developers have been working flat out to make sure we provide a first class experience, adopt the SharePoint 2013 look and feel and naturally integrate with other 3rd party SharePoint 2013 solutions such as the brilliant Nintex Workflow.  
 

SP2013-Collage

 
After all this effort I am happy to announce that as of version 7.0 SharePoint 2013 is fully supported. It can be download from the generic download page. The download contains the SP2007, 2010 and 2013 versions, the installer will automatically deploy the correct version for your environment.

 

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Using the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint with Nintex Workflow 2013

Posted at: 15:14 on 18 February 2013 by Muhimbi

Nintex LogoIncluding support for Nintex Workflow is probably one of the best additions we have ever made to our popular PDF Converter for SharePoint. The number of organisations, both large and small, that have come to depend on the combination of these two products is considerable.

Shortly after Nintex released Nintex Workflow for SharePoint 2013 our team started the process of making our existing Nintex Workflow Activities for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 compatible with this new version. As a result we are happy to announce that as of version 7.0 the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint is compatible with Nintex Workflow 2013. Any workflows created using previous versions of Nintex Workflow will continue to work as expected.

All our workflow activities, including PDF Conversion, Cross Conversion, Watermarking, PDF Securing, PDF Merging and Copying of content types / meta-data are available on the new platform. For details about enabling the PDF Converter’s Nintex Workflow Integration see this Knowledge Base Article.
 

16.-NW-Cross-Conversion---SP2013Nintex Workflow 2013 Workflow Activity for Cross-converting Documents.

 

We will continue to support SharePoint 2007 and 2010, as well as the versions of Nintex Workflow available for those platforms, for the foreseeable future.

If you have any questions then leave a comment below or contact us directly.

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Using PHP to Convert files to PDF (and other formats) with the Muhimbi PDF Converter

Posted at: 18:22 on 07 February 2013 by Muhimbi

PHP

In this article we explain how to use PHP to convert MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML and other common file formats to PDF. Read on to learn more about the Muhimbi PDF Converter and how it can assist with the Conversion, Merging, Watermarking, Splitting, Securing and OCR of documents.

Please note that the example provided in this post requires the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services to be deployed to at least one Windows based server in your environment, after which you can access it from PHP using Windows and non-Windows based systems including Linux. If you do not have access to any Windows servers then please use our REST based cloud service, which requires no custom software deployment. For details see the examples on GitHub.

 

Install PHP & PHP Soap Libraries

If you are reading this then you probably already have PHP installed. If not, then you can find details for installing PHP for various Ubuntu distributions as well as Windows on our GitHub sample page.

Please note that, as this solution is Web Services based, you will need to install the PHP Soap Libraries. Instructions can be found on our GitHub sample page

 

Installing the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services

The provided PHP sample code by itself does very little. It requires a copy of the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services to carry out the actual work. The PHP sample code simply shows how to connect to the conversion service and send commands to it.

So, as a first step Download and Install the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services on a Windows Server as described in Chapter 2 of the Administration guide.

Please use the included Diagnostics Tool to verify that your installation is correct.

 

Download the sample code

The PHP Sample code is deployed alongside the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services. You can access it via the Windows Start Menu. However, it may be easier to download the latest sample code directly from GitHub as described here.

 

Running the sample code

With the prerequisites installed, and the sample code downloaded, it is time to run the example. For details about how to do this, read these instructions in our GitHub repository. It is all very straight forward, just make sure you read the instructions, especially when you are running the PHP sample from a system that is not the one that is running the Conversion Service itself.

The sample provided is fairly basic. It converts a file to PDF and applies a couple of test watermarks. The full object model, including details about merging, splitting and watermarking files, is available in the Developer Guide.

If you need more information, or get stuck, then please drop us a line as we love to help.

 

Generating proxies

The previous sections describe how to access and execute the sample code. The following is only provided for those people who want to know more and generate their own Web Service proxy classes in PHP. Everyone else can stop reading now.

Although out-of-the-box PHP comes with a SoapClient class to interact with web services, it is much easier to pre-generate proxy classes to talk to the web service.

Several tools are available for generating PHP proxies. The one that we are using in this tutorial is wsdl2phpgenerator. Pre-generated proxies are included in the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services’ Sample Code folder. You can also generate your own proxies using the following steps:

  1. Download wsdl2phpgenerator and unzip it to a location of your choice.
  2. Make sure PHP is added to your path.
  3. Open a command prompt and navigate to the location where wsdl2phpgenerator was unzipped.
  4. Execute the following command to generate the PHP proxies:

    php wsdl2php.php -s -i "http://localhost:41734/Muhimbi.DocumentConverter.WebService/?wsdl" -o documentConverterServices

    If the Conversion Service is running on a remote machine, then please replace ‘localhost’ with the name or IP of that machine.
  5. Copy the newly generated documentConverterServices.php file to the folder that holds your PHP code.

 

 

SOAP / Web Service Debugging

The Muhimbi Conversion Service is a Windows Service based on the Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) framework. This comprehensive framework is used to expose a standards based Web Services interface that can be consumed by many different platforms including .NET, Java, PHP, SAP, Documentum and many others.

Even though WCF Web Services are standards-based, standards are not interpreted the same by everyone so from time to time you may need to do some troubleshooting when programming against the PDF Converter Web Service, especially from non-Microsoft platforms.

For details about how to debug Web Service / SOAP messages, see this Knowledge Base Article.

If you have any questions then leave a comment below or contact us.

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Set PDF Version, enable Fast Web Views, embed / strip fonts using PDF Converter Services

Posted at: 16:27 on 01 February 2013 by Muhimbi

Strip-fontsBoth the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services and the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint have had the ability to carry out PDF post processing for quite some time (e.g. PDF/A1b conversion, Applying Security settings, watermarking). Version 7 adds a number of additional post processing facilities including the ability to set PDF Viewer Preferences and the ability to embed or strip fonts, changing the PDF Version and linearizing a PDF (a.k.a. Fast Web View).

Unlike setting the PDF Viewer Preferences, the facilities described in this post require a license for the PDF Converter Professional, an add-on license for the PDF Converter Services and PDF Converter for SharePoint.

The following Post Processing settings are available in the new OutputFormatSpecificSettings_PDF class:

  • FastWebView: Enable Fast Web View / Linearization to optimize the PDF for output on the web.
  • EmbedAllFonts: Embed all fonts into the PDF. Certain fonts may not allow embedding and will therefore never be embedded. Specifying ‘false’ will remove all fonts from the PDF.
  • SubsetFonts: Specify if font-subsetting is enabled or not. Font subsetting embeds only those characters that are used in a document, instead of the entire font. This reduces the size of a PDF file that contains embedded fonts, but may make future content changes problematic. 

You can send these settings to the web service by passing a reference to an instance of OutputFormatSpecificSettings_PDF to the ConversionSettings.OutputFormatSpecificSettings (or MergeSettings.OutputFormatSpecificSettings) property. For details see the following class diagram.

Class-Diagram


Post processing is enabled by setting the OutputFormatSpecificSettings_PDF.PostProcessFile property to true. Please make sure that the Ghostscript prerequisite is installed and configured as described in this Knowledge Base Article. In order to make use of FastWebView Ghostscript 9.07 or newer will need to be installed.

When Post processing is enabled the PDF Profile / Version specified in ConversionSettings.PDFProfile will automatically be applied to the output file. This includes downgrading the content of the PDF where necessary.

As of Version 7.0 the PDFProfile property supports the following PDF Versions and Profiles:

  • Default: Use whatever PDF version comes out of the underlying converter / source PDF file.
  • PDF_A1B: Use the PDF/A1b standard for long term archiving.
  • PDF_A2B: Use the PDF/A2b standard for long term archiving.
  • PDF_1_1: PDF 1.1 output (Compatible with Acrobat 2.0 (1994) and later).
  • PDF_1_2: PDF 1.2 output (Compatible with Acrobat 3.0 (1996) and later).
  • PDF_1_3: PDF 1.3 output (Compatible with Acrobat 4.0 (2000) and later).
  • PDF_1_4: PDF 1.4 output (Compatible with Acrobat 5.0 (2001) and later).
  • PDF_1_5: Use PDF Version 1.5. For legacy reasons, out-of-the-box this is treated the same as 'Default', but post processing to 1.5 can be forced using the Config Value "PDF.PostProcessPDF1.5". When post processing is enabled the PDF file will be made compatible with PDF 1.5 (Compatible with Acrobat 6.0 (2003) and later).
  • PDF_1_6: PDF 1.6 output (Compatible with Acrobat 7.0 (2005) and later).
  • PDF_1_7: PDF 1.7 output (Compatible with Acrobat 8.0 (2006) and later).

 
Please note that when FastWebView or PDF/A is enabled you cannot specify any PDF Security settings.

If you are developing in Java then please use Axis2 (example) as wsimport (example) does not deal well with web service properties that derive from a common base class (You need to jump through a lot of hoops, seriously, don’t use wsimport in this case).

If you have any questions then leave a comment below or contact us.

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Specifying PDF Viewer Preferences using the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services

Posted at: 12:33 on by Muhimbi

PDF-PreferencesBoth the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services and the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint have had the ability to carry out PDF post processing for quite some time (e.g. PDF/A1b conversion, Applying Security settings, watermarking). Starting with version 7.0 another post processing facility has been added, which is the ability to set PDF Viewer Preferences.

Viewer Preferences are hints for the application that is used to view the PDF file, e.g. Adobe Acrobat. These hints are embedded in the PDF file and control such things as the visibility of the Menu and Toolbars, the various panels such as Bookmarks / Attachments, or even viewing the PDF in full screen mode. Please be aware that these are merely hints and not every PDF Reader supports all of them.

The following Viewer Preferences are supported by the Muhimbi PDF Converter:

  • CenterWindow: Position the document window in the center of the screen.
  • DisplayTitle: Display the Document Title in the PDF Reader's window.
  • FitWindow: Resize the PDF Viewer's window to fit the size of the first page.
  • HideMenubar: Hide the PDF viewer's menu bar.
  • HideToolbar: Hide the PDF viewer's tool bars.
  • HideWindowUI: Hide the user interface elements in the document windows and only display the document's content.
  • PageLayout: The page layout to use for the document.
  • NavigationPane: The navigation pane to display when the document is opened.
  • HideEmptyNavigationPane: If there is no content in the pane then hide it. E.g. when the bookmarks (Outlines) pane is selected, but there are no bookmarks defined, then the pane is hidden.
  • PageScalingMode: Default scaling option when printing the document.
  • FullScreen: Display the PDF in full screen mode.

At Muhimbi we pride ourselves at going the extra mile so we have implemented a flag that we believe to be unique, HideEmptyNavigationPane checks if any bookmarks or attachments are present and hide those panes if there is no content. This prevents a cluttered user interface when end users view your PDFs.

Viewer Preferences can currently only be specified when using the Web Services interface by setting ConversionSettings.
OutputFormatSpecificSettings
(or MergeSettings.OutputFormatSpecificSettings) to an instance of OutputFormatSpecificSettings_PDF and populating the ViewerPreferences property. Confused? Here is a class diagram.

Class-Diagram

If you are developing in Java then please use Axis2 (example) as wsimport (example) does not deal well with web service properties that derive from a common base class. (You need to jump through a lot of hoops, seriously, don’t use wsimport in this case).

If you have any questions then leave a comment below or contact us.

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