XfleX implemented RTF to PDF conversion solution using Word APIs

About XfleX

XfleX company logo

XfleX is a brand new business solution available as SaaS to the market by mid-2015. Of course for business software, document production is crucial, because it is needed for offering, invoicing, correspondence and much more. The layouts can be designed by the users with any RTF editor (such as MS Word) and they can choose if the final document should be RTF or PDF.

XfleX covers business processes for small and medium enterprises with special care towards the needs of professionals, commercial and manufacturing sectors. It includes CRM and ERP functionality.

Designed on the green field, it delivers 20 years of experience encapsulated in a solution where the designers have not produced an easy to use, but an extremely flexible business web application. Usability has been a great priority in the implementation process. Built with the best industry standards (ASP.NET, MS SQL Server) we plan to make it available as SaaS, offering full scalability and reduced costs.

Problem

Offers, contracts, invoices, etc in the sectors XfleX is designed for can be very complex documents. Often there were multi-page structured documents with chapters and sub-chapters (up to 9 levels), different types of items with different rendering, intermediate totals, different types of text components and more.

Each enterprise demanded to apply its corporate identity to the document layout by inserting logos, graphics, and choosing their desired font. Thus XfleX gave users the ability to completely design their own layout for the documents. Since the users can use any RTF Editor (such as MS Word etc), and any other functionality as per their requirements, so the document layout can be complex.

A layout of Word document
Image 1:- Preview of a custom word document

The final document can even be more complex as it merges the basic layout with the specific document data from the database. XfleX enabled to create the final document again as an RTF document.

A crucial requirement though was that the user shall not be allowed to change the final document he received as a download from the website. So XfleX provided the feature to convert RTF files to PDF format, before offering them as a download.

In a SaaS solution, MS Word cannot be used to make this conversion as it is a desktop application and not a server software. So we were looking for a tool that we could integrate as a component in our .NET solution.

Solution

We evaluated many tools out there and most of them were not able to convert the complex documents and XfleX had a requirement to produce pixel-perfect PDF documents. Furthermore, some other tools either required MS Word or an OpenOffice installation and that was neither useful nor a possible way for SaaS solutions.

Experience

Finally, we found Aspose.Words for .NET and were happy with the 1:1 conversion from RTF to PDF. Even happier was the programmer who had to integrate it. It took him not even half an hour to implement the process of converting documents using Aspose.Words for .NET.

What is very nice is that with the installation of Aspose.Words for .NET, the component is immediately registered with MS Visual Studio and can easily be attached to the project simply by selecting the entry in the Add Reference dialog.

This made the entire namespace of Aspose.Words for .NET available so Visual Studio auto-completion works and the code could easily be written. In order to generate PDF files from the RTF template where the content was loaded from the database, only two function calls of Aspose.Words for .NET were needed: load the RTF and save as PDF.

Aspose.Words for .NET do not even need to be provided with plenty of parameters. The file extension defines the file format expected by Aspose.Words for .NET when loading or saving the document. Our programmer was ready with the solution after half an hour.

Summary

The benefits of selecting Aspose.Words for.NET were:

  • Ease of implementation
  • User-friendly software
  • Straight forward & painless
  • Quality of conversion
  • Met our specific requirements to enhance the functionality of our product

Reto B. Camenzind
CEO, CIO Camenzind Information + Organisation