Creating advanced PDF's

Posted by Admin on 28-Aug-2007 09:26


Are there any other way of creating PDF's from Progress than PDFInclude? We've used PDFInclude successfully for simpler PDF's but when we start working with things like templates its not working that good.

What we basically want to do is create a PDF cataloge based on data we have in our DB so would like to use pictures, tables, different fonts etc.

Any inputs?

Best regards


All Replies

Posted by Admin on 28-Aug-2007 09:39

You may have a look at Combit's List & Labels (

List & Labels comes with a Graphical designer, Declaration progress include files, pricing per developer and no runtime costs. PDF Export is among other options.

They have a free trail version.


Posted by Admin on 29-Aug-2007 03:47

Thank you, I'll take a look.

It might be worth mentioning that what we want to create is something in the line of a broschure for a travel agency (i e lots of big pictures and stuff like that).

Also: it would be nice if we could have the PDF's generated on a Solaris server.

Any one got more ideas?

Posted by Admin on 29-Aug-2007 03:57

Also: it would be nice if we could have the PDF's

generated on a Solaris server.

List & Labels is pure Windows.

Posted by Sweetensuk on 29-Aug-2007 10:04


We use VpXprint from 4GL.

Their website is



Posted by Admin on 07-Sep-2007 09:34

Of course if we could get PDF Include to work it might be an option - the problem is that whenever we use a PDF as template I get an error:

pdf_use_PDF_Page Invalid Page # for PDF ID = template stream = Spdf

This is the code:

RUN pdf_new("Spdf", "c:\temp\test.pdf").

RUN pdf_new_page("Spdf").

RUN pdf_set_PaperType("Spdf", "A4").

RUN pdf_open_PDF("Spdf","c:\temp\test_template_arial.pdf","template").

RUN pdf_use_pdf_page ("Spdf", "template",1).

RUN pdf_close("Spdf").

The template (test_template_arial.pdf) looks alright if i open it in Adobe Reader - its just text in Arial.

If this isn't the right forum to ask - where should I ask?

Posted by kevin_saunders on 10-Sep-2007 02:52

Try the PDFInclude list on the PEG.. and

Posted by Admin on 10-Sep-2007 04:23

Will do, thanks!

Posted by dmerrett on 01-Oct-2007 10:57

Hi All,

There is a good Java tool I have looked at called Big Faceless Java Report Generator. It is from a company called BFO and their website is

The tool can be downloaded as a test and it is fully functional but it does watermark the output until you licence it.



Posted by Thomas Mercer-Hursh on 01-Oct-2007 11:33

There is a good Java tool I have looked at

So? This thread is about how to create a PDF from ABL. If one wanted to go to a third party reporting tool, there are many, many choices.

Posted by Admin on 01-Oct-2007 11:46

So? This thread is about how to create a PDF from


Not sure if it is... The original question was if there's a solution for creating PDFs from Progress (not ABL). One of the good things using Progress is that it's open enough to talk to most 3rd party software.

I had a quick look at the Java component Doug mentioned. Looks like it can be using with Progress in a number of ways (i.e. running the JRE as a command line tool, posting an XML to a web service etc.).

Posted by Alon Blich on 02-Oct-2007 04:02

Isn't PDF well ... an aging technology ? And if we're talking about XSL-FO isnt it even more unsure ?

I think, we need to start an open source OpenXML project. Theres a few hurdles to overcome but in my opinion it has the most advantages.

If someone could help take care of a cross platform ZIP libraries, I think, I could put together a bunch of useful utils and get the project rolling.

If anyones interested please contact me offline Thanks

Posted by Alon Blich on 07-Oct-2007 06:13

Am I the only one that believes its important ? at least nice to have

For one the format is a hell of a lot richer, graphs, charts, pivot tables and pivot charts and a long list of features designed for reporting.

Its ideal for using Word or Excel or other as the WYSIWYG slash design tool and filling the form with 4GL (just inserting or replacing the custom data XML file) and doing it all on UNIX, Linux or other.

Growing and widespread support, MS Office 2000 or better, Open Office, Star Office, Lotus you can even open an OpenXML file in your iPhone. Not to mention OpenXML to other file formats conversion utils.

IMHO its going to kill PDF (not completely but the change is coming), not only that but agencies like governments are going to require it one day.

Posted by Thomas Mercer-Hursh on 07-Oct-2007 23:43

It is clear from prior exchanges that you are a very "enthusiastic" person, Alon ... a quality which I appreciate since I can be very enthusiastic myself on a number of fronts. Which said, I think that one has to understand that, whatever the virtues of other technologies, there is a certain attraction to PDF for two really big reasons. One is that it is THE dominant technology for distributing formatted documents to people who have unknown document viewing technologies. ... if you are on the internet and reading anything, you almost certainly have PDE reader installed. Secondly, it tends to be a defacto read only technology. For most purposes ... e.g., sending someone an invoice or statement ... you really have no interest in having the recipient edit the document. Oh, perhaps 1% or less of the time there could be a reason for a computer-knowledgeable person to add comments to to a disputed invoice but if you consider that only 1% of the invoices are likely to be disputed and only 1% of the users who get invoices they want to dispute, that's a really, really small percentage of cases where being able to edit is a virtur.

So, whatever attraction some of these other technologies may have in terms of document sharing where there are multiple contributers to the same document ... those virtues are not necessarily real virtues if one wants the document to be read only and to be readable by anyone without having to get software specific to the source.

Posted by Alon Blich on 10-Oct-2007 12:22

I can be "loud" sometimes

Pretty sure theres more then one way or feature to lock, password protect, encrypt etc. Office docs.

And I'd venture saying that today you could send anyone around the world a Word doc and expect them to be able to view it.

Theres free viewers, some level of support for the old binary formats in other office suites and now that the new formats are standardized and well documented wider and growing support in office suites, utils etc.

But overall its a richer format with much more possibilities and because of the clear data presentation separation it is very suitable for working with forms and complex forms among the other possibilities for working with documents.

To make it happen we need ZIP (the file format) support in 4GL. Shared libaries and dll's seem like the better option.

Posted by Admin on 25-Oct-2007 01:30

Hi again all,

I've looked a little more into this - a post to the pdf peg group resulted in nothing so we've moved on with some third party software.

Actually I think the discussion about various XML formats should be handled elsewhere. I posted here with a specific question and that was how to create PDF's. If PDF's are dated or not isn't really the question.

Thanks for all answers.

Posted by rstanciu on 25-Oct-2007 03:19

Here is an example to create a PDF in 4GL.

First I create a HTML page (you can use images too), after that I use

a free tool (htmldoc) to convert the HTML file into PDF.

may be helps

This thread is closed