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Generating PDFs using iTextSharp on Mono

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I was looking for a .NET pdf generator so that I could add online bingocard generation to my side project, BingoWords.  The code and website are built using .NET and I run the site under Mono on a VPS at Linode.  So, it was important that the PDF generator run under Mono without issues.  Being cheap and full featured were two other desired features.  After some research, I found that there were two major players that satisfied this criteria,  PDFSharp and  iTextSharp.  Both are open source, free, and are fully featured.

Although some posts on the web indicated that PDFSharp would run under Mono, it was a no-go from  the beginning.  It failed the mono compatibility tool – Mono Migration Analyzer or M0MA almost right away.  I still decided to try out PDFSharp with Mono after reading a few posts stating that it may work if my code avoided the non-Mono compatible portions of the code but that was a total failure.  

So, I had no choice but to use iTextSharp.  iTextSharp passed under MoMA and it worked great on my Linode VPS under Mono.  With iTextSharp, I can generate PDFs that comply with the PDF standard and are viewable on every major platform.  So, if you are planning to generate PDFs under Mono, I would highly recommend iTextSharp.  Or to get a better sense of the features, try out my free Online Bingo Card Generator!

 I noticed that weren’t many code samples available while doing my research and coding the Bingo Card Generator.  So, here are some samples from my code for those that are just getting started:

Creating a new PDF document:

MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream();
Document document = new Document(PageSize.LETTER);
PdfWriter writer = PdfWriter.GetInstance(document, ms);
document.Open();

Creating a BaseFont.  A BaseFont contains the parameters of the font that is written to the PDF document:

BaseFont bf = BaseFont.CreateFont(BaseFont.COURIER, BaseFont.CP1252, BaseFont.NOT_EMBEDDED);

Writing center-aligned text to 400pts from the left and 400pts from the top:

cb.BeginText();
cb.ShowTextAligned(PdfContentByte.ALIGN_CENTER, “Title Text”, (int)(Math.Abs(400, 400, 0);
cb.EndText();

Getting the width of a string in points:

titleWidth = (int)cb.GetEffectiveStringWidth(“Hello World!”, false);
Setting the font size of a BaseFont:
cb.SetFontAndSize(bf, titleFontSize);

Draw a line from the top left to the bottom left of the document:

cb.MoveTo(document.Left, document.Top);
cb.LineTo(document.Left, document.Bottom);
cb.Stroke();

Editing the document’s properties:

document.AddTitle(“Designed by BingoWords.com”);
document.AddAuthor(“Author goes here!”);
document.AddSubject(“Subject Goes Here!”);
document.AddKeywords(“Keyword1, keyword2, …”);

Closing your document:

document.Close();

Put this after the “document.Close()” to return your document with the name “file.pdf” when a user clicks on a link:

Response.ContentType = “application/pdf”;
Response.AddHeader(“content-disposition”, “attachment;filename=file.pdf”);
Response.Buffer = true;
Response.Clear();
Response.OutputStream.Write(ms.GetBuffer(), 0, ms.GetBuffer().Length);
Response.OutputStream.Flush();
Response.End();

I hope this comes in handy.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

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Written by M Kapoor

June 20, 2010 at 5:52 am

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