As the world keeps being remote, online communications dominate. Companies need to send official emails, notifications, invoices, bills, and other documents electronically. They also have to store the copies of delivered communications for compliance and accounting. It creates the need for implementing automated document rendering into existing software.
Custom development of document generation capabilities is expensive and time-consuming. You need to engage software engineers, cover the entire SDLC, and maintain the document rendering functionality. Under such conditions, a third-party API document generator is an optimum solution. It’s affordable, secure, and quick to implement.
Would you like to get API document generator implementation tips? Find some in this blog post.
What Is an API Documentation Generator?
An API documentation generator is document rendering software provided through a REST API. The format of an API allows product teams to integrate ready-made document generation functionality into existing solutions. An API serves as a connecting point between a server processing user requests and integrated software that sends them. When an end-user, for example, wants to view a document, it’s a request that triggers the API documentation generator. The generated documents include personalized information tailored to the user and the rendering instance. Apart from custom document rendering, API documentation tools also provide document retrieval and some document management features.
Why Automate Document Generation Through an API
As software interoperability penetrates healthcare, financial, education, and other industries, APIs become a popular choice. It’s a reliable way to connect multiple applications, which brings additional benefits, including:
- Faster deployment compared to step-by-step custom development
- Optimized software development expenses
- Scalability and customizable functionality
- The software vendor is the one responsible for updates and maintenance
- Many API documentation generators offer free versions you can test before investing in premium subscriptions
Besides, quality API documentation generators ensure top-notch security. Software vendors implement the latest security measures to protect the personal data processed for document rendering. If you choose alternative software models, like custom development, you will need to care about data security yourself.
8 Things to Consider While Integrating an API Documentation Generator
There are some things to note when you choose what API PDF generator to connect. They will later affect the effectiveness of document rendering, API documentation functionality, and capabilities.
#1. Decide What Document Format You Need
API documentation generators support different formats. You may convert HTML to Excel or create text docs. Nevertheless, HTML to PDF rendering is the most common option. By converting documents to PDF, you provide users with official communications they can download and sign electronically. PDFs are also highly secure and look equally well online and printed. That’s why, looking for an API documentation generator, focus on API PDF generators.
#2. Choose an API PDF Generator with Document Customization
Standard document conversion tools don’t offer the level of document customization required in web platforms. They only convert the source file into another format. Thus, if you run an e-commerce store, for example, you should choose an API PDF generator with rich personalization capabilities and a template editor. The software should enable you to add headers and footers, change page numbers, margins, size, and other parameters. It’s essential to automate multiple kinds of documents and adapt PDF templates to your business and operational needs.
#3. Make Sure It Supports Document Retrieval and Automatic Deletion
API documentation generators like Inkit Render offer additional document management capabilities. They enable API developers to layer document retrieval. As a result, end users can download the files after they generate PDF documents. It allows storing PDFs locally or printing them for paper-based use. With quality API PDF generators, you can also choose when the document rendering software automatically deletes the copies of files. This feature is convenient if you handle documents with retention deadlines.
#4. Prefer API Documentation Generators with Tech Support
While integrating a document generator API, you should have someone to rely on. That's why we recommend picking a vendor that provides a detailed API reference, developer portal, API docs, and code samples. The vendor’s step-by-step instructions will allow you to connect the software without mistakes and unexpected issues. When there is tech support, you may always ask them to help with integration.
#5. Choose Paid Over Open-Source Tools for At-Scale Rendering
Open-source tools are not suitable for at-scale professional document rendering for many reasons. First, they have limited functionality and won’t allow you to achieve the necessary extent of automation. Vendors that support open-source API PDF generators don’t invest in upgrading the offered solutions. They also don’t hold responsibility for maintaining the software and regular updates. Therefore, you will have to do it yourself, which results in additional hassle and continuous expenses. Apart from that, open-source API documentation generators don’t ensure as good data security as paid solutions. And since documents usually include personally identifiable information, security is life-critical.
#6. Look for API PDF Generators with Access Control
Software interoperability enhances data sharing but also complicates access management and compliance. It may be challenging to create different access rights for different teams. To simplify it, pick an API documentation generator with user roles. It will enable you to limit access to documents across teams and grant permissions to selected people.
User roles are essential to prevent data leakage and breaches. They also help to configure document management rules as you decide what team members can perform what tasks. For example, you may allow some people to generate and delete documents, while others have only view rights.
#7. Use APIs That Allow Scaling the Data Processing Volume
You rarely can predict how many documents you will handle in several years. If you expect your business to grow, choose an API documentation generator that allows you to increase volume. It should enable you to switch from one subscription plan to another smoothly. Hence, make sure to research the document processing capabilities of the selected API PDF generator beforehand. If you see it has strict data limitations, it’s better to consider another option.
#8. Check Compliance and Data Security
Documents like invoices, bills, or medical test results, include lots of personal details. Hence, to stay regulatory compliant, you need to handle them carefully. Besides, many industry-specific regulations introduce record-keeping and data-storage rules. It means you need an API documentation generator that automatically stores reliable document copies.
Also, learn what programming languages the chosen API document generator supports. Make sure your web platform is compatible. Even though most modern API documentation tools integrate with any solution, you should double-check it.
Inkit Render API PDF Generator for Web Platforms
Render is an automated document rendering API to generate PDFs from HTML. Integrate it with existing software to automate document creation, storage, retrieval, and deletion. You can customize the content and formatting of every document generated.
Render supports all core programming languages currently used for web software development. It’s also unique with granular user roles that allow configuring permission rights for multiple teams.
Learn more about Render functionality and check out pricing plans here.