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18th March, 2018

url2pdf.it - Building a new url to pdf conversion application

url2pdf.it, the new url to pdf online conversion tool costing absolutely nothing!

Recently i was working on a new project at work where the creation of a PDF was required. The system needed to provide specific features all with speed in mind but never compromising the quality of the final output.

After a while of research, a ton of testing, failing, and head scratching  i realised it wasn’t going to be as easy as i first thought.

See the problem was that the pages i wanted to convert and download were PHP pages genertated on the fly so the html was pretty confusing. This meant whenever i used libraries like mPDF and jsPDF i couldn’t fully replicate the layout. After many hours of tinkering and not really progressing i decided this wasn't the solution so started looking at other online converters.

Each one i found had its own little bugs and issues, and more often that not the complex urls i was passing stalled the servers and failed to generate the pdf. I eventually found a couple of services which worked like html2pdf and pdfonline but they wanted money!

Although my company was happy to pay for a third party service to generate PDFs they still wanted a way to do it for free. So i started the journey again looking for free url pdf converters. Found the odd one but again each had its problems and lack of support for internal coding to my own applications.

url2pdf.it was then born!

After a day of coding our new CMS system at work, i went home and worked for a further 8 hours to write my own PDF conversion server. This lasted for about 9 days and by the end of it i was empty. All out of code and glad to have finished. I always like that moment when it works as intended and you deiced to hit purchase on the domain checkout.

url2pdf is deployed and hosted on a heroku server and runs using the free dynos. Sometimes if i generate lots of PDFs it occurs a small cost but its far smaller than the third party companies i used at work so was benifical.

I wanted to offer both POST and GET for converting urls to PDF so anyone can get the PDF they desire from a simple url string. Users can either manually use the site to input a url, set parameters and generate  or you can use the PHP API for posting from within your applications.

I wanted to offer this service for free and didn’t want to associate a cost, and another new user account and so on. I want users to be able to easily create PDFs on the fly for free without the hassle.

Feel free to send your ideas across to me on what you may want to see with this tool in the future, or if you require any help attaching this to your project.

Give it a try, https://url2pdf.it/api?url=[YOUR URL]