EmWeb: Why we’ve been happy DocRaptor customers for 3 years

The below case study was written by EmWeb, an online educational platform that uses DocRaptor to convert complex course descriptions and heavily formatted tables into ready to print PDF documents.

Example EmWeb PDF

Download a sample study program PDF generated by EmWeb

We provide a suite of study program management tools for higher education called EmWeb. It consists of three main parts:

  1. An overview of the study program, typically divided into 15 chapters detailing the contents of the program, prerequisites, and what kind of job you could get when you graduate.
  2. One or more heavily formatted tables with all courses offered during the study. These table display which semester the course is offered, along with important information like credits and exam dates. This is what students see and the design is crucial for readability as it can be information-dense.
  3. Course descriptions containing perhaps 40 different bits and pieces of information detailing each course.

The plan was for EmWeb to be a true online tool. However, our customers thought differently, and one morning our biggest client called us and asked how they could produce a printable document. They wanted to ship a well-formatted PDF to a printing press, and the deadline was very close. They thought “We already have all the data. How hard can it be?” Anyone that has tried making true reproductions from screen to paper knows it’s hard, very hard. Especially when you’re talking about documents with potentially hundreds of pages.

My first thought was “How on Earth can we produce a high quality printing press-ready PDF with consistent design across all browsers?” I had worked on printing issues before, but not PDF. I turned to Google and learned about the several libraries that exist to solve this exact problem.

If you want perfect PDFs, you need to reproduce design, structure and color. We couldn’t check off all those boxes until we found DocRaptor, a PDF generation service that uses PrinceXML.

I have always been a huge fan of the Opera browser. When I read that Håkon Wium Lie, father of CSS and co-founder of the Opera browser, was on the development team behind PrinceXML, I knew this was as solid as it could be.

DocRaptor offers a PDF-generating web service that removes all need for local installations of any kind. The documentation and code examples in several different programming languages are clear and concise.

DocRaptor takes all the hassle out of perfect PDF generation, and it really is perfect. All our complex layouts, tables, colours and fonts are preserved. I don’t think our clients appreciate how hard this is, but I certainly do.

Download a sample study program PDF generated by EmWeb

Also, I have contacted support two times since we started using DocRaptor. The response is quick, professional, and courteous. After longer sessions with emails flying back and forth, pitching ideas on how to debug the problem, the tone of the emails started including a bit more friendly banter. This will happen between developers working together, even halfway across the globe via email. This reduced some of my stress and gave me the impression that this guy must enjoy working with what he does. This is always great news for someone in need of support, and I felt well taken care of.

If you need the best, the quality of the PDFs are reason enough to use DocRaptor. Great support also makes it easy to recommend DocRaptor to anyone looking for a hassle-free top-quality PDF-generating service.

Agnar Ødegård
Norweb AS