Digital Invoicing

Rendering Engine: What HTML to PDF API to Use For Document Generation

January 25, 2022

Applications and platforms that run in web browsers rely on rendering engines. Rendering engines transform source HTML into interactive elements users see on their screens. Without them, the operation of web software would be impossible.

The capabilities of rendering engines are also used for online PDF generation. Product teams integrate HTML to PDF APIs with web solutions to automatically create downloadable documents. Hence, if you develop software and wonder how to change HTML to PDF in browsers, you need an API.

This article overviews the work of rendering engines and explains how an HTML to PDF API allows automating PDF rendering in browsers.

What is a Rendering Engine? Types and Capabilities

A rendering engine is a browser component that renders the web page a user requests to their screen. It converts HTML web pages and XML documents with CSS to generate the final layout.

A rendering engine is a part of the browser structure along with a browser engine and a user interface. The browser engine connects the user interface and the rendering engine to handle queries. The interface allows users to interact with the visual elements like a home button, menu, etc.

This image illustrates how it works:

(Source)


Types of rendering engines

The type of rendering engine you will use for HTML to PDF rendering varies by browser. Every browser relies on a different rendering engine. They may also differ based on the browser version. The most common options include:

  • Blink: Google Chrome and Opera v.15
  • Trident: Internet Explorer
  • Gecko: Mozilla Firefox
  • WebKit: Chrome for iOS and Safari

Since the number of Internet Explorer and Mozilla users is comparatively low, Blink and WebKit are the most commonly used rendering engines. Hence, if you develop a web app, focus on these options.

Read Top 10 PDF Reader Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and More

Why Integrate an HTML to PDF API For Document Rendering?

Rendering engines only process HTML code to display the content on user screens. If you need to create customized PDF documents with personalized content from HTML, use an HTML to PDF API. Integrating the HTML to PDF library free API with your web application will automatically convert HTML to PDF in browsers. APIs that convert an HTML string to PDF also allow downloading the generated documents. As a result, end-users can retrieve the PDFs.

API integration is a much easier solution to convert web pages to PDF than custom development of a PDF generator. The development of a PDF generator from scratch is a challenging task. It requires specific expertise and lots of time. Learn about other benefits of HTML to PDF APIs below.

Learn What 5 Industries Need PDF Rendering

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Pros and Cons of HTML to PDF API Use

You can generate PDFs on free websites for quick HTML to PDF conversion. Yet, the free version software allows rendering only one document per request and requires manual processing. This approach doesn't work for large-scale PDF generation, which requires advanced automation. That's when HTML to PDF API solutions are the most effective.

API PDF converter for .NET and other languages enables product teams to layer automated document rendering into existing products. As a result, PDF creation happens automatically based on real-time triggers. For example, when the end-user clicks the Download PDF button, the API uses the capabilities of their browser to create the downloadable file.

Apart from automation, HTML to PDF APIs have some other significant advantages:

  • Quick integration. It takes a few days to connect an HTML to PDF API to your software and complete configuration.
  • Universal uses. You can automate document rendering to create official documents, marketing materials, or anything else.
  • Cost-efficiency. API integration is cheaper than custom rendering software development.
  • Customizable PDF documents. Add page numbers, margins, headers, footers, and other formatting elements to PDFs.
  • Smooth user experience. Allow users to create and retrieve personalized documents themselves whenever they need to ensure the ultimate user experience.
  • No on-site maintenance. API integration eliminates the need to update and maintain software since the API provider does everything.
  • Flexibility. With HTML to PDF API, you can switch to a more advanced plan once you need to increase the volume of rendered documents.
HTML to PDF API

It also has the cons you should consider:

  • You need technical skills to integrate it. Although connecting paid or free HTML to PDF APIs is easy, only software engineers can complete the integration.
  • Many APIs are missing user roles. User roles allow setting who can access the API rendering functionality and use it. Hence, data security will suffer if you choose a solution without user role support.  
  • Quality HTML to PDF APIs are paid. Even though API integration is much more affordable than custom software development, be ready to pay for a subscription plan.

Generally, the advantages of APIs for HTML files rendering outweigh their drawbacks. Therefore, API software is an excellent solution to implement automated PDF generation in browser-based applications.

What to Focus on Choosing an HTML to PDF API

To pick the best PDF format document generator, mind several things.

First, it must be compatible with your existing software. Be sure to check the technical requirements and supported programming languages before integration. Depending on your tech stack, you may need a PDF converter for еthe .NET framework, Java, JavaScript, C#, Go, and other languages. Fortunately, modern HTML to PDF API supports a broad range of programming languages, making them work with almost any web app.

Afterward, learn more about the functionality of the API you connect. It must allow customized PDF document content and display. These features enable you to set trigger-based document generation to match user needs best.

Besides, pay attention to the security features the API supports. We recommend choosing solutions like Render because of user roles. Thanks to user roles, you can create teams with different access to personal data processed by the API and its features. Whereas some people can render documents, others have only the view permission, etc.

Finally, check the available customer support options. It’s good to have someone to ask for help with API configuration and troubleshooting. Ticketed support enables you to send all kinds of questions and solve common issues by creating online requests. Phone support is an excellent addition to tickets. When something urgent happens, you should have a reliable way to contact the vendor and get immediate help.

How to Change HTML to PDF With Inkit Render

Inkit Render is an HTML to PDF API for automated document rendering and retrieval. It automatically renders personalized PDF documents for specific users, displays them, and stores the copies for record-keeping. Connect it with a web application or website to implement trigger-based PDF creation.

Render integrates with software written in top popular programming languages, including Node, Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, C, C#, JavaScript, etc. It also offers the ultimate data security through customizable user roles and encryption.

Learn about other Render features and check out pricing here. Or start a free trial now to test it.

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.