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How to create beautiful PDF from Pod

by Tux (Abbot)
on Oct 26, 2012 at 13:25 UTC ( #1001077=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Tux has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I am well aware of Pod::Pdf, but that generates PDF with horrible fonts: Times and Courier are unacceptable for me. The module and has the font-metrics builtin in the module. I do not understand how Adobe could have picked these fonts as defaults.

The module has no option(s) to choose other fonts. My font of choice would be DejaVu Sans + DejaVu Sans Mono or Kuro, but any non-serif font would be a huge improvement.

What I currently do is convert pod to html with pod2html, open that in Opera and print as pdf. The result is exactly what I want, but it is hard to imagine that I cannot do this in/with perl.

Beauty is withing the eye of the reader and thus very subjective, but companies do have standards for how their docs look like and I am very happy that Times and Courier are not in our company standards.

Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: How to create beautiful PDF from Pod
by tobyink (Abbot) on Oct 26, 2012 at 13:53 UTC

    I'd go with your current solution, but swap out Opera in favour of the Python xhtml2pdf library. No, you don't need to learn Python; it's bundled with a command-line script.

    Or instead of xhtml2pdf, wkhtmltopdf.

    perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'

      The pyhton stuff installed but failed due to missing dependency. I didn't want to pursue that.

      The wkhtmltopdf solution works quite well. The perl module around it sucks, as it does not offer any features beyond the program itself. I would have hoped for it to support streaming (piped input, piped output), but all it does is pass the arguments to the system command. I can do that myself.

      Pod::Html shows its age. Not well thought through, sadly. Even if one uses local *STDOUT;, there is no way to get its output caught. This module also doe not support piping/streaming.

      I ended up with the code below (feel free to use, alter or comment on), where I still note a few drawbacks

      • Page wraps are unclean. On many page breaks the top half of a line is on the end of one page, the bottom half is on the next
      • CSS like text-align: justify; doesn't work very well.

      Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn
        potyl's work with HTML → Webkit → Cairo → PDF is super-sweet: CPAN, Github. There's lots of example code strewn around, check every distro/repository that looks related/has the keywords in the name.

        As of 2012, this is the most modern and formidable solution.

Re: How to create beautiful PDF from Pod
by james2vegas (Chaplain) on Oct 26, 2012 at 14:52 UTC
Re: How to create beautiful PDF from Pod
by rpnoble419 (Pilgrim) on Oct 26, 2012 at 14:24 UTC
    Times and Courier were picked due to the fact they are on all PC and Mac computers. PC use Arial, Macs have Helvetica, so thats out.
Re: How to create beautiful PDF from Pod
by LanX (Chancellor) on Oct 27, 2012 at 00:31 UTC

      That doesn't look very assuring

      $ podchecker /pro/bin/plp /pro/bin/plp pod syntax OK. $ pod2latex -full -out plp /pro/bin/plp Unknown sequence A</td> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence D</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence D</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence N</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence U</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence O</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence U</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence A</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Unknown sequence D</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. Escape sequence /a not recognised at line 2407 of file /pro/bin/plp Unknown sequence M</a> at /pro/bin/pod2latex line 218. ... and a lot more $ latex2man plp.tex latex2man: in line 37 Arguments of \subsection are not contained in a single line +. Remember: all arguments of a macro must be on the same line +. $ ls -l plp* -rw-rw-rw- 1 merijn users 0 Oct 28 10:57 -rw-rw-rw- 1 merijn users 44990 Oct 28 10:54 plp.tex $

      Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn
        well from what I can spot with my smartphone pod2latex is complaining about inlined html. IIRC the man for pod::latex is pretty explicitely saying that it cant handle html.

        OTOH I did a testrun yesterday combining pod2latex -full and pdflatex and it produced pdf.

        but if you really need to cover inlined html you will always need a html2pdf solution.

        Cheers Rolf

Re: How to create beautiful PDF from Pod
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 26, 2012 at 13:47 UTC

    It might be best to make a patch or a Pod::Pdf::Fonts that takes the font as a parameter, for everyone to enjoy.

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