[reportlab-users] TinyRML and like stuff

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Mon Dec 14 07:32:52 EST 2009

2009/12/13 Peter Mott <peter at monicol.co.uk>:

> Am I being overscrupulous here? Does Reportlab deprecate the creation and

> distribution of programs that turn HTML into PDF using its toolkit?

HTML to PDF programs are fine. Dirk Holtwick's Pisa is a good example
of someone using our layout engine, other Python libraries and a lot
of code of his own to meet an obvious, but technically difficult need.
Roberto Alsina's rst2pdf is another great example. Similarly, if
you have some other XML standard or your own project-specific data
representation, and you write something using our open source code
base to render it to PDF, great.

As for TinyRML: taking our RML standard, our engine, our
documentation, and strapping on a parser to create an alternative
'RML2PDF' implementation which supports about two thirds of the tags
(without documenting the differences or giving due credit) did strike
us as rather unsporting and unoriginal. RML is our trademark and we'd
rather people actually bought it if they want to work with it ;-)

It's clear now that there are several PDF-parsing-and-reusing
libraries, which is fine too. Just be prepared - the more popular
they get, the more queries you'll get about some file with obscure new
options in it which won't parse, or parses but gives errors when
opened ;-)

We don't plan on releasing our PageCatcher code as there's no point
repackaging a lot of code and answering questions about it; our code
is probably less pretty than yours, but probably due to handling a lot
of real-world issues with strange PDFs over the last ten years, and
also because speed really matters to us. Our market is the people
who just want to do something this easy in their document templates..

{{if needs_small_print}}
<includePdfPages filename="small_print.pdf" pages="1"/>


<inage filename="beautiful_logo.pdf" x="blah" y="blah" .../>

We sincerely hope that many more teams will decide to try out and buy
our commercial tools (RML2PDF et al) because (a) it's easier to learn
and faster to code at that level, (b) features like the above are
built-in, and (c) if a page won't go through it, we'll investigate
why. The more that adopt it, the more time we'll be able to put into
products - which ultimately means more features in the open source
library. I'll be posting more on that in the next couple of weeks.

Best Regards,

Andy Robinson
CEO/Chief Architect
ReportLab Europe Ltd.

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