Need help with report building. PDF or IMG or what?

This is real important, so I hope you can help!

Okay I have to take this report:
http://www.ub04.net/downloads/UB04_10-23-06_B%20W%20PDF.pdf

and fill it in with ruby on rails. I need advice on the best way to do
that. They are basically only going to need to print the document, that
makes it somewhat easier, but still this ain't easy.

So what should I do? Last time I had to do something like this I just
reverse engineered an HTML version of the form. This probably won't
happen this time because the report is so complicated.

Could I add my text with some sort of positioning to the PDF? With like
PDF writer? And can you get me started on how to do this?

Should I just treat the whole report as an image and try to figure out
how to draw the text I need. And can you get me started on how to do
this?

Or what?

Thank you all so much if you can help me!

This is real important, so I hope you can help!

Okay I have to take this report:
http://www.ub04.net/downloads/UB04_10-23-06_B%20W%20PDF.pdf

and fill it in with ruby on rails. I need advice on the best way to do
that. They are basically only going to need to print the document, that
makes it somewhat easier, but still this ain't easy.

So what should I do? Last time I had to do something like this I just
reverse engineered an HTML version of the form. This probably won't
happen this time because the report is so complicated.

Could I add my text with some sort of positioning to the PDF? With like
PDF writer? And can you get me started on how to do this?

Should I just treat the whole report as an image and try to figure out
how to draw the text I need. And can you get me started on how to do
this?

Or what?

Thank you all so much if you can help me!

Hi Alex,

Alex Williams wrote:

Could I add my text with some sort of positioning to the PDF?
With like PDF writer? And can you get me started on how to
do this?

I did something very similar using PDF::Writer. You can see a demo at
YourTimeMatters.com and, if you're interested in seeing how I did it, the
code's at rubyforge.org/projects/ccredit. Feel free to contact me offlist
if you'd like. Note that I seem to have something screwed up a little bit
with the CSS for the fieldset around the 'reports' on the final page in
FireFox. Looks fine in IE ;-p.

HTH,
Bill

Bill Walton wrote:

Hi Alex,

Alex Williams wrote:

Could I add my text with some sort of positioning to the PDF?
With like PDF writer? And can you get me started on how to
do this?

I did something very similar using PDF::Writer. You can see a demo at
YourTimeMatters.com and, if you're interested in seeing how I did it,
the
code's at rubyforge.org/projects/ccredit. Feel free to contact me
offlist
if you'd like. Note that I seem to have something screwed up a little
bit
with the CSS for the fieldset around the 'reports' on the final page in
FireFox. Looks fine in IE ;-p.

HTH,
Bill

Thank you Bill and Craig. I've been trying to get PDF::Writer to work
for a little while now. HOWEVER, it looks like it can only create them,
it cannot open an EXISTING PDF file and edit it.

Is there a way to do that?

Thank you again!

Hi Alex,

Alex Williams wrote:

Thank you Bill and Craig. I've been trying to get PDF::Writer
to work for a little while now. HOWEVER, it looks like it can
only create them, it cannot open an EXISTING PDF file and
edit it.

Is there a way to do that?

Your original post didn't mention the need to read / edit existing PDF
files. If you do, the answer depends primarily on whether those files are
ones you generated, or ones generated by third parties.

If you need to edit PDFs that you generated, you can follow the route I
took. I used PDF::Writer to create PDF files that Acrobat understands and
can display, and pdftk to attach XML files containing the data that's
displayed via the PDF. The PDF itself essentially becomes an image, but my
app (or any other that understands the XML schema) can extract the XML data
from the PDF, edit it, and create a new PDF (or overwrite the old one).

If, on the other hand, you need to read / edit PDFs that were generated by
someone else, you're probably going to have to use Adobe's tools. There are
some tools around that can read / extract form data from older versions of
Adobe's PDFs, but Adobe's changed the whole way that's handled in recent
versions. The old approach was known as FDF, I think. I can't remember
what the new one's called but the bottom line is, AFAIK, there are no open
source libraries to generate / consume the new format. The standard's open,
so you could conceivably generate your own. But be careful. Adobe's
license says something like "if you use any of our tools, you can't use any
of anybody else's".

HTH,
Bill