Georgia Ingham Georgia is a Java Developer. She has spoken at lots of conferences. Her hobbies include reading, completing puzzle books and cycling.

Converting your PDF files to HTML5 with BuildVu 

3 min read


BuildVu is our software product for Converting PDF to HTML5 or SVG. In this article, we look at it in more detail.

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?

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 that 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 smartphones) what’s better than using a solution that turns those PDFs 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 the reason why our clients use BuildVu for their HTML5 conversion.  We have spent 8 years perfecting what is not always a straightforward conversion and optimising the content that we generate. There are free tools that 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();
     //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 {
     } catch (PdfException e) {

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 14-day free trial.

Do you need to display PDF files in a browser?

BuildVu Find Out More

Georgia Ingham Georgia is a Java Developer. She has spoken at lots of conferences. Her hobbies include reading, completing puzzle books and cycling.

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