If you are creating or editing PDF files from Java, the chances are that you have come across IText. This library has become something of a phenomenon, offering a very high quality library provided totally free. If you have not met Itext, you need to visit the IText website now and find out just what you are missing….Many of our customers use IText and indeed we use it ourself for some optional writing functions in JPedal – no point in reinventing the wheel. If you want to see some sample code showing what IText can do, have a look at our sample class and tutorial.
IText is a very powerful tool and although easy to use, you can get a lot more out of it with the excellent IText in Action book, written by Bruno Lowagie – the original creator and one of the main developers of IText. I have a very well-thumbed and slightly tatty (but much loved) copy by my desk.
The first version was originally published in 2007 and Itext has continued in active development since then. So you will be pleased to hear that there is a new version in preparation. I have been lucky enough to see the drafts of the first 6 chapters and they are a comprehensive rewrite, bringing all the information uptodate and adding documentation on new features.
Bruno has a lot to squeeze into the new book so I found version 2 to be more fast-paced and more focussed on specific IText tasks. I found the examples more aimed at the sort of web development lots of users are likely to be involved in. So the book serves very much as both a user guide you can read completely and a set of task specific tutorials to dip into when you need something. It assumes a good working knowledge of Java development and databases but it guides you carefully through the complexities of the PDF specification.
You can now read part of the new edition electronically at the Itext site.
So even if you have the first edition, I would recommend you get a copy when the new version comes out. In the meantime, if you are using IText for serious work now, the first edition is likely to more than pay for itself very quickly. Download the examples and let us know what you think…
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