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O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Sheraton San Diego Hotel, San Diego, CA
July 23-27, 2001

News Coverage


Document Generation with PHP

Luke Welling, Security Analyst, OmniTI
Laura Thomson, Mozilla Corporation

Track: PHP Conference
Date: Monday, July 23
Time: 8:45am - 12:15pm
Location: Bel Aire North

On service driven sites, we sometimes need to deliver personalized documents, generated in response to input from our visitors. PHP is routinely used for generating HTML documents, however, for some applications, a print-oriented format or one that is difficult to alter, is required. Common printable document formats in use today include Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and Microsoft Word (DOC or RTF). A dynamic HTML document is easily generated using PHP but for applications such as providing a paper form or generating legal documents, letters, or certificates HTML has important limitations. Generating RTFs and PDFs from PHP is more complicated than generating HTML, but can add significant value to a web site.

Tutorial Outline:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of using alternative document formats
  • Technical details of these formats
  • How to use PHP's string processing functions to integrate a template with a user's data to create a rich text format (RTF) document.
  • How to use a similar approach (but using regular expressions) to generate a Portable Document Format (PDF) document
  • How to use PHP's PDFlib functions to generate a PDF document
  • Comparison of approaches

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