[nycphp-talk] Working with PDF

Dan Cech dcech at
Fri Jun 9 14:17:31 EDT 2006

Aaron Fischer wrote:
> Greetings!
> I'm beginning a project that will involve creating PDF documents.  So 
> far my research has turned up PDFlib 
> ( and FPDF (
> So far it seems that FPDF will do what I need.  It has the added benefit 
> of being free (as opposed to PDFlib which would run at least $450).
> Have folks used FPDF?  Would you recommend it? 
> Are there are any other means to generate PDF that you would recommend?

I would heartily recommend the R&OS pdf class:

It's broadly similar to fpdf and I've used it on several different
projects without any problems.

Another approach that could work very well for what you're describing is
to use fdf/xfdf to dynamically fill fields in an existing pdf document.

There are quite a few good examples of this to be found in the book
PDFHacks by Sid Steward, with an online example and source code
available here:


> If helpful, here's a brief project summary:
> I am developing an application that will allow nontraditional students 
> to apply for admission to our college.  The user will be able to create 
> an account and work on her application, saving and returning at any time 
> (data will be stored in MySQL).  The PDF aspect comes into play when the 
> applicant would like to preview the application with her data populating 
> the fields.  It will also be used for our support staff to print the 
> applications once they are completed.
> Here's the blank application which would need to be created and 
> populated with student data (application is pages 2-4, instructions are 
> on page 1):
> Cheers,
> -Aaron

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