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Thoughts on using wkhtml instead of LaTeX to generate PDF and Postscript output

The Problem:

  • LaTeX doesn't support Unicode directly, you have to switch to XeLaTeX
  • A LaTeX install to suit our needs by default on a minimal install of debian
        Packages: libtemplate-plugin-latex-perl  texlive-latex-recommended  libimage-size-perl  liblatex-decode-perl
    Will use 687 MB of disk space  DL Size: 375 MB
  • LaTeX is difficult for most people to write or modify
  • LaTeX is even harder to get top class results from (because it's hard to write)

A Solution:

  • Use wkhtmltopdf which uses the WebKit rendering Engine, the same as Chrome and Safari
  • We get up to date support for CSS3 and HTML5
  • The size of the install drops dramatically
        Packages: wkhtmltopdf
    Will use 176 MB of disk space  DL Size: 52.6 MB
    A massive saving of 500MB and 322MB respectively
  • The package that is in debian stable is the same version as wkhtml stable
  • More people know how to code HTML
  • It eliminates the need for 2 templates
    we currently have one for on screen display, and one for printing/emailing
There are many other options out there, but most have limited support for css2 and html4, and few support css3 and html5

Does anyone have experience with this or other tools for converting HTML to PDF?
such as mpdf, tcpdf, fpdf, dompdf. (NOTE: these would likely be a larger install as they require PHP)

David G
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