During a current project, I needed a tool for generating PDF documents for reporting on pre-printed forms. The majority of reports in the system use this form. I wanted to find a solution that fit my needs and nothing more. Other systems do so much and very well, but for just developer needs, they are a bit much. I found a utility call Siberix PDF Library and it's counterpart Siberix Report Writer. If you need a tool for PDF generation, I highly suggest these products. At the current time, the price is $149 for the PDF Library and $299 for the Report Writer which is amazing in this day of third-party software tools for reporting. If you purchase the Report Writer, it is actually the Report Writer + PDF Library for $299 so no need to purchase each product separately! Not only is the pricing amazing, but the licensing is tremendous. You would expect utilities like these to have a server license per-install or a per-developer license, but the license states:
The Corporate License includes unlimited number of company's developer seats, unlimited number of company's web servers and unlimited number of distributions as a part of your application.
To break out how these products work, we need to understand their propose. The PDF Library is an API for .NET 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 that allows you to programmatically build a PDF document with all the bells and whistles you would except in a PDF API. As stated, the code is compiled and ready for .NET 2.0, so there is no waiting if you have already moved on. The API is very similar to other vendors and could be used by anyone with a basic understanding of .NET. The process for building a PDF is build a Document class, assign styles and properties to the document, and start adding text in free form or tables. Once you have the Document class where you need it, call the Generate method and get a stream for your use to save, or push back to an ASP.NET Response.OutputStream.
If you are like me, you love to work with XML natively and building documents like this makes more since with an XML Editor and XSLT to build a template for transforming an existing document like an RSS feed. This is where Siberix Report Writer comes in to play. This tool takes a XML document, based on their schema, and will generate either the PDF stream or source code for you to integrate with you application. If you use XSLT, you might as well generate the PDF, but if you want the ability to design the template in XML and then use .NET to link in your data, building the source is a highly valuable tool. If you are like me and have a requirement for both, the Report Writer interface supports the ability to Callback into source during the generation of the document for a good mix of the two.
During my evaluation of the product, I contacted their support not excepting to hear back from them anytime that day as I have been used to from other vendors. Instead, 10 minutes later I had an open dialog with their support and was able to get the solution I needed. Other companies could learn from this kind of support.
If you are looking for a PDF API for .NET, I would highly suggest this product. There is a free evaluation online at siberix.com for each product with a user guide and sample source code for you to try out.