Georgia Ingham Georgia is a Java Developer at IDRSolutions and mainly works on maintaining and improving the core product code. Her hobbies include reading, completing puzzle books and cycling.

Converting your PDF files to HTML5 with BuildVu 

2 min read

Recently we announced our updated product range for 2018 and are rebranding some existing products, like JPDF2HTML5 which has been renamed to BuildVu. It may seem a bit confusing but we believe the name changes now better reflect the product’s functionality. BuildVu does several things, so this blog post will cover just the functionality to convert PDF to HTML5, who the functionality is aimed at, and some example use cases.

What does BuildVu offer for converting PDF to HTML5?

BuildVu allows the conversion of PDF files into real, usable HTML5 so you can seamlessly integrate them into your own web pages. Which you will already know if you’ve had a look round our product pages so what more could I tell you?

Well originally this product was started back in 2011 when we were presented the task by a customer of converting PDF files into HTML5 for use on iPad. Skeptical at first at the feasibility of our challenge, we persevered and ended up creating ourselves a very capable tool.

7 years on:

It has become clear to us that there are 2 distinct use cases for those interested in our product.

Firstly we have clients who want a very comprehensive viewing solution which just works. They are not really concerned with the technology underneath – they just want it to work out of the box.

There are also customers who want to build their own SVG or HTML5 viewer to meet their specific needs. They are not interested in our Viewer, just conversion of raw content.

BuildVu allows for both of these options.

Why use HTML5?

In case you are wondering why people are using HTML5 for document display, here are some of the reasons.

Cross-Platform Compatibility
PDF files are very convenient but they have a few limitations, including the fact that any device that wishes to display a PDF requires software to either be downloaded or installed that can display them correctly. In an ever more mobile world, where people have more devices at their command (like laptops, tablets and smart phones) what’s better than using a solution that turns those PDF’s into HTML5 content so that they can simply run on any device with a browser and internet?

Rich Media Elements Support
PDF files can have a mixture of content embedded inside them including audio and video elements. HTML5 has its own structures to support these without having to use additional plugins or extensions.

Why use BuildVu?

So why should you use BuildVu? We have found our customers appreciate the following benefits that we provide:

Automate the conversion 
Got lots of files to convert? Then automate the conversion  – don’t get stuck with a solution that makes you convert files one at a time. With BuildVu you can convert entire directories of PDF files using an out-of-the-box customisable solution.

Keep your content secure
BuildVu is run on your own desktop and servers without any content passing through our systems. Build your own ultra-secure in-house system or create your own custom web service. You can even control if your text is selectable or not. Your content is yours to control, view and use even if you decide to swap to a different solution later. We’re looking to improve this even further by allowing content saved to disk to be encrypted.

Keep an eye on what matters, not your number of conversions
No need to worry about how many PDFs you can convert per month. BuildVu uses a yearly plan so you can convert as many PDFs as your server(s) can handle, with options available to increase/decrease your number of servers or cores as needed.

Quality Conversions
This is reason why our clients use BuildVu for their HTML5 conversion.  We have spent 8 years perfecting what is not always a straight-forward conversion and optimising the content that we generate. There are free tools which will attempt the task but if preferred you can have it done right…

Example use cases

Now you know a few of the reasons why you should use BuildVu, here are some example conversions.

You can easily run BuildVu from:

1. The command line (this is the simplest example with no additional customisations set)

java -jar buildvu-trial.jar "C:\theCompleteCat.pdf" "C:\html5Output"

2. From a Java class (again with no customisations set)

    //Set conversion options here
     HTMLConversionOptions conversionOptions = new HTMLConversionOptions();
     conversionOptions.setDisableComments(true);
     //Set viewer options here
     IDRViewerOptions viewerOptions = new IDRViewerOptions();

     File pdfFile = new File("C:/MyDocument.pdf");
     File outputDir = new File("C:/MyOutputDirectory/");

     //Alternative constructor exists for converting from byte array
     PDFtoHTML5Converter converter = 
        new PDFtoHTML5Converter(pdfFile, outputDir, conversionOptions, viewerOptions);

     try {
         converter.convert();
     } catch (PdfException e) {
         e.printStackTrace();
     }

Which creates the raw content:

And once you have this raw content you can:

1) Incorporate it into existing webpages

2) Create your own viewing experience. Below is our own Viewer which forms part of our BuildVu product.

If you want to try BuildVu then feel free to head over to our website and sign up for our 30 day free trial.

IDRsolutions develop a Java PDF Viewer and SDK, an Adobe forms to HTML5 forms converter, a PDF to HTML5 converter and a Java ImageIO replacement. On the blog our team post anything interesting they learn about.

Georgia Ingham Georgia is a Java Developer at IDRSolutions and mainly works on maintaining and improving the core product code. Her hobbies include reading, completing puzzle books and cycling.

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