Guest Blogger A Guest blogger is a special blogger who wouldn’t normally post on the blog but provides a valid and interesting insight into a certain aspect of a certain field. These are their stories!

PDF to HTML5 – Thriving in a Transitional Phase

2 min read

blog_ortopediteknikk_startIn a change from the usual blog posts, today we have a guest blog post from Sondre Skaug Bjørnebekk from am innovative company providing visual and user-friendly tools to build and deliver interactive content for interactive books and e-learning for all devices.

We all aim to find the “next generation textbook”, and as tool makers of the platform for interactive books, we sometimes find a bit too few of the opportunities of the platform being used. But then again, what is wrong with a super efficient production process and clear and valuable enrichment based on the layout of a printed book?

Recently the small Norwegian publisher Tell Forlag has impressed us with how streamlined they made the process to release their latest book-as-app. It is called “Ortopediteknikk” and is teaching orthopedics for high school level students.

A clear design goal for the title was that the digital edition could be used alongside the printed edition, with the same page references and ideally the same layout. To achieve this, Tell used the following process:

  • – Import a PDF with 99% of the design identical to the printed book (layers in InDesign helped make the 1% smooth)
  • – Enrich it with interactive elements like quizzes, image pop-outs and custom-made videos, at least a couple per chapter
  • – Use the tool’s capabilities of automatic full text indexing and dynamic table of contents, as well as zoom and simple bookmarking out of the box

The below screenshot shows the dynamic table of contents where the user can answer quizzes and watch videos directly, and also do a free text search and jump to the relevant page.


To achieve the perfect looking layout, we have licensed JPDF2HTML5 a PDF to HTML5 Conversion Library from IDR Solutions and are running this on the server side. So the user can import the PDF directly by clicking the wizard button in Then, with no human interaction, the HTML5 backgrounds are in the tool and can be enriched with interactive elements. Compared to an image-based process, the difference is very clear when zooming in and seeing the perfect vector shapes of the text. And even in casual use, the great readability on high resolution screens is striking. Below is a screenshot of a page from the book that contains a quiz that was added in the enrichment process.

blog_ortopediteknikk_pageOccasionally we have seen small details in padding advanced figures or with Norwegian characters being a tiny bit “off”. In these special cases our friends at IDR Solutions have behaved like perfect partners, or even more than that, and acted impressively swiftly and rolled out new versions with the small fixes included almost faster than we could install them!

We have talked to teachers that prefer this book-like visual layout more than reflowable pages. In out experience, it also depends on the content what fits most. So is this a “next generation textbook”? Maybe not, but it is clearly a textbook that provides great value and enrichment’s to the next generation – and is popular and recognizable for teachers.

If you want to discuss in more detail or have a title (or an entire library!) that could come to life through such an enrichment process, please do contact the guys over at

For more guest blog articles be sure to check out LabBest on working with PDF files in Java, The Open Journal Project and PDF to HTML5: Removing the barriersPDF and PDF2HTML5: The Best of Both Worlds for Teachers, JPedal thé perfect match for Qtree Solutions and JPedal used as a Smart Software in Retina.

Is there is something you’d like to blog about connected to Java, HTML5, SVG, JavaFX or PDF files? Any tips, tricks or recommendations? contact us and we would be happy to feature you in our new ‘Guest Blogger’ series.

Guest Blogger A Guest blogger is a special blogger who wouldn’t normally post on the blog but provides a valid and interesting insight into a certain aspect of a certain field. These are their stories!

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