HTML input in XF Rendering Server

Use cases and intended usage

Both EOS and XF Rendering Server provide some basic support for HTML input. This feature has been developed as a quick way to append HTML documents to the final PDF output as part of a merge operation. Another popular usage is to process small HTML fragments embedded in input XML:

<invoice>

              <description>

                           Please allow <b>30 NET days</b> for delivery.

              </description>

</invoice>

Use HTML input only when:

  • You cannot provide XSL-FO input
  • The tags used are fairly simple (<br>, <span>, <b>, <table>, etc.)
  • CSS (if used) is also fairly simple (no CSS3 selectors for example)

Full support for HTML5 is also made harder by the use of nested <div/> elements that do not translate well to printed media. Many HTML tags such as <frame>, <script/>, <iframe>, <video>, <fieldset>, <select>, etc. are also not supported.

Using HTML instead of XSL-FO Templates

Even if the engine supports some HTML features, it should not be used as a replacement for XSL-FO templates created in Ecrion Design Studio Publisher.

HTML is simply intended for on-screen viewing and while HTML5 provides a way to specify page breaks, it still lacks support of many features required by print/paginated media, including:

  • headers/footers
  • forms
  • script preservation (Though PDF has some JS scripting).
  • widows/orphan control
  • footnotes
  • page layouts (first, last, odd and even pages)
  • hyphenation
  • bookmarks
  • optional content
  • etc.

In addition, a lot of  extensions are not available like advanced printing options, pagination extensions, image filters, optional content, barcodes, imposition, variable data printing (VDP), etc.

Conclusion

HTML input should only be used for backwards compatibility reasons and never as replacement for Ecrion Design Studio Publisher templates.

If your input is fairly simple yet you believe the output produced by the engine can be improved, open a case with our support team. For a large number of conversions from HTML to Ecrion Design Studio templates, contact your Ecrion account manager.

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