[reportlab-users] simultaneous output of pdf and bmp possible ?

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Wed Jun 21 18:00:54 EDT 2006

Sebastian Hilbert wrote:
> Hi !
> We are using reportlab.pdfgen for medical forms in our free and open source 
> medical practice software GNUmed. I started to read up and took a good look 
> at the code. While at it some questions came to mind.
> What we basically need for Germany and other countries with regards to forms
> is ideally something like this. I know that it is not yet possible but I would 
> appreciate your comments.

Can you explain what you mean by 'forms'?

We've spent years building forms solutions and as far as I can tell many 
vendors and customers mean completely different things to each other. 
The context we know best is when an organisation has lots of paper 
forms; and they want to create a web form for each one to capture the 
data, which is able to populate a 'finished' PDF form afterwards.  We 
have commercial code for doing this which we cannot open-source, but a 
lot of experience we might be able to share to help you.

Other people want Acrobat Reader to be their data-input device and 
produce forms you actually fill in.  Still more want a custom GUI for 
capturing input from various processes.

> 4.) I noticed svg output from reportlab. Googling around I found some 
> information on svg and xforms as a means of active forms. Is there support 
> for this and do you have any ideas if this is cross platform ?

The SVG output is from the graphical drawings, not whole pages; see 
below.  Also we have had nothing to do with xforms.

> 5.) I noticed bitmap output from reportlab. Is it possible to output bitmap 
> and pdf off the the same reportlab 'template' ? As far as I can see writing 
> code for the pdfgen module is not identical to writing code for the 
> svg/pdf/bitmap renderer ? Is that correct ?
> Here is what I am tyring to solve. Draw and save a form as pdf 
> but 'convert' /save as bitmap as well. This bitmap object could then be 
> passed on to PIL for further manipulation or wxpython's printing framework 
> for printing. That is crossplatform processing I am dreaming of.  

That's "ReportLab 3000" which pretty much exists in my head and I dare 
not give you a target date.  Well, maybe 2008!

In the earliest days 6 years ago, we were thinking of making PDF 
documents.  But then an early customer wanted to have the same custom 
charts we built in PDF available as bitmaps for the web too.  So, we 
made the reportlab/graphics portion 'cross platform'.  Drawings are 
shape hierarchies and can be output with very good fidelity to bitmaps. 
  But 'whole pages' are not.

In the next major version I want to go back to basics and create a base 
canvas, a PDF canvas, a Bitmap canvas and maybe others (SVG, PS); and 
any page or part thereof could then be rendered to a bitmap.

However, realistically this might be 1-2 years off, unless someone has a 
month or two to help.  As I am sure you know the license revenue from 
open source isers is nil, so we have to live off projects and corporate 
solutions, and nudge things forward a small step at a time when the 
right projects come along.  To date none of our projects or products 
needs this kind of 'whole page preview'.

Best Regards,

Andy Robinson

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