PDFreactor is a powerful tool for producing PDFs based on web content. My task today is to find out what it can do and how it compares to other expensive web-to-PDF tools.
“pdfChip and PDFreactor are two high-performance PDF-generation options, which were created by German developers and which both have their strengths. There is ample requirement for such professional PDF tools in the web-to-print and eCommerce sectors; the importance of fast, flexible PDF creation from web content, be it for transaction printing purposes or for larger print documents, is set to increase in the future.” – Bernd Zipper
Example applications for PDFreactor include large documents of more than 150 pages. To create this size of PDF document you need to opt for the M version of Callas´ pdfChip, which after all will set you back by 10,000 Euros plus sales tax plus 2,000 Euros in the first year for the maintenance agreement. In contrast, RealObjects’ basic package costs “only” costs around 2,680 Euros, including maintenance and support during the first year of use. Well now, it sounds as if what both tools can do is almost identical – so where’s the difference? I checked briefly with Dietrich von Seggern, a member of the management board at Callas.
What this statement makes clear is that pdfChip’s focus or rather its strength lies in high-volume creation of template-based, dynamic pages featuring customized data. In this respect it’s not the length of the individual documents that’s important but rather the delivery rate. In the case of pdfChip that means the S Version is good, but quickly reaches its limits, if high conversion rates are required. The M version in contrast really makes sense for providers that require more than an average conversion rate of 16 pages per minute. In terms of output formats the PDFreactor is just as interesting, even if quantitative output seems less important than the quantity and complexity of supported functions.
In profiling these two tools, I have not really even scratched the surface of all the options available. So what’s the story with other similarly powerful tools? During my research I came across other, to some extent similarly effective options – but to profile them all in detail here would exceed the scope of this blog post. But I’m not saying they don’t deserve to be profiled… That’s why I should like to mention a couple of other commercial-use tools for converting web content into ready-to-print PDF files, which you can do your own research on: Prince, Antennahouse and DocRaptor.
My take: There is always more than one solution for achieving one’s objective, in this case professional, ready-to-print PDF files. When choosing the right tools, you have to decide what range of functions and what speed of web-to-print performance you require. And last but not least: beware – apparent cost savings can definitely be deceptive. In other words, performance has to be right. And anybody, who, for example, has to supply several thousand transaction print items in PDF format per month, sometimes not just during so-called peak periods, requires supreme performance and therefore a professional tool.