Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PDF in a Bottle - creating PDF using xtopdf, ReportLab, Bottle and Python

By Vasudev Ram is a program I wrote that allows you to create a PDF file from text, over the web, by entering your text into a form and submitting it.

Here is the program:

# Description: Program to generate PDF from text, over the web,
# using xtopdf, ReportLab and the Bottle web framework.
# It can be used to create short, simple PDF e-books.
# Author: Vasudev Ram -
# Copyright 2013 Vasudev Ram 
# Tested with Python 2.7.

# Version: 0.1

# Dependencies:
# xtopdf -
# bottle -
# ReportLab -
# Python -

from PDFWriter import PDFWriter

from bottle import route, request, run

def edit_book():
    return '''
    <form action="/save_book" method="post">
    PDF file name: <input type="text" name="pdf_file_name" />

    Header: <input type="text" name="header" />

    Footer: <input type="text" name="footer" />

    <textarea name="content" rows="15"   cols="50"></textarea>

    <input type="submit" value="Submit" />


@route('/save_book', method='POST')
def save_book():
        pdf_file_name = request.forms.get('pdf_file_name')
        header = request.forms.get('header')
        footer = request.forms.get('footer')
        content = request.forms.get('content')

        pw = PDFWriter(pdf_file_name)
        pw.setFont("Courier", 12)

        lines = content.split('\n')
        for line in lines:

        return "Done"
    except Exception:
        return "Not done"

def main():
    run(host='localhost', port=9999)

if __name__ == "__main__":

To run it, you need to have Python, the open source version of ReportLab, my xtopdf toolkit and the Bottle Python web framework installed.

Here is a guide to installing and using xtopdf.

For help with installing the other products, consult their respective sites, linked above.

Then run the program with this command:


Then, in a browser window, go to localhost:9999

Enter the details - PDF file name, header, footer and text content - in the form, then click Submit.

The PDF file will be generated in the same directory from where you ran the Python program.

This is the first version, and has been tested only a bit. It you find any issues, please mention them in the comments.

Various improvements are possible, including sending the generated PDF to the user's browser, or providing a link to download it (better), and I'll work on some of them over time.

P.S. Excerpt from the Bottle framework site:

Bottle is a fast, simple and lightweight WSGI micro web-framework for Python. It is distributed as a single file module and has no dependencies other than the Python Standard Library.

Routing: Requests to function-call mapping with support for clean and dynamic URLs.
Templates: Fast and pythonic built-in template engine and support for mako, jinja2 and cheetah templates.
Utilities: Convenient access to form data, file uploads, cookies, headers and other HTTP-related metadata.
Server: Built-in HTTP development server and support for paste, fapws3, bjoern, Google App Engine, cherrypy or any other WSGI capable HTTP server.

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises


Senthil Kumaran said...

Bottle also has pluggable backend to various high performance servers like tornado/twisted.

Like this simple program,

Vasudev Ram said...

Thanks for the info, and glad you like the program.