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#cfml-general
Title
# cfml-general
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jcarp

03/24/2022, 6:45 PM
ACF 2016 is timing out generating larger PDF files using cfhtmltopdf with message "PDF conversion is failed due to timeout. Increase the timeout value in PDFgService manager settings." Does anyone know where this is in ACF 2016? I am looking in cfinstance/jetty/webapps but this directory is empty. Trying to find configuration settings for PDFgService.
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bdw429s

03/24/2022, 6:47 PM
@jcarp Where do you have the add-on service for the PDF manager installed to?
Also, also note I've had terrible performance with very large PDFs and the cfhtmltopdf tag
Adobe is aware and has done nothing to fix it
CFDocument was many many times faster for PDfs over 100 pages
The timeout setting you need isn't in the Adobe admin though
It's inside a config file on your hard drive wherever the PDF service is installed to
Which for me is
C:\ColdFusionAdd-onServices
however I have no idea if it's the same if you used the standard CF installer. I installed the PDf services using the stand alone installer to use with CommandBox, so mine may be in a different location
I THINK the setting you need is the one I have in this file
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C:\ColdFusionAdd-onServices\webapps\PDFgServlet\WEB-INF\web.xml
And it looks like this:
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<context-param>
  <description> Timeout (in seconds) for PDF conversion task</description>
  <param-name>timeout</param-name>
  <param-value>10000</param-value>
</context-param>
I don't remember what the default value is, but it's not 10,000 -- that something I changed mine to once while testing this same timeout issue.
After changing that setting, you have to restart the PDF services which is DIFFERENT than the coldfusion services in Windows.
Also note, your ColdFuson page must also have a timeout that is at least as long or longer as this timeout or CF will give up first
@jcarp See if that fixes it for you
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jcarp

03/24/2022, 7:15 PM
@bdw429s - THANK YOU! This was exactly the fix which I verified following your exact steps. PDF installation, configuration and directories exactly as you noted. The default time was 120 seconds. I have made a note of it in our documentation.
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Matt Jones

03/24/2022, 7:49 PM
I used to have to generate many thousand page pdfs. Was only successful with performance on this by creating the pages individually into a directory, then merging all of the files in the directory with cfpdf ordered by name. was also able to thread the individuals, then run the merge after thread join. It's been a few years, but it worked rather well.
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Patrick S

03/24/2022, 9:05 PM
I've used wkhtmltopdf instead of Lucee's renderer, and it was awesome for both the better performance and the full modern HTML support, for what it is worth. (I haven't had a chance to compare it against Adobe's contemporary solutions yet.)
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bdw429s

03/24/2022, 9:06 PM
@Patrick S not sure if you're aware, but Adobes
<cfhtmltopdf>
is just a wrapper around the wkthmltopdf library
Depending on the version in use, I would expect it to give the same basic result.
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Patrick S

03/24/2022, 9:07 PM
Oh, that is nice to know! šŸ˜„
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Jonas Eriksson

05/23/2022, 12:25 PM
@Patrick S Hey Patrick, I'm looking to change from Lucee's PDF renderer to wkhtmltopdf as well for better consistency (I'm kinda lost as to which version people recommend "Classic" or "Flying Saucer". I've had a few searches and people seem to use the ForgeBox version (not sure if that can run safely beside a non-ColdBox site (I'm running the site itself on CommandBox/Lucee)) and others seem to send it off to a separate Docker/AWS instance... and there seems to be a rather ancient CFML Custom Tag option - I'm just really looking for the simplest and correct way of doing it that is considered "the right modern way" šŸ™‚ any helps or links greatly appreciated!
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Patrick S

05/24/2022, 2:02 PM
When I switched to wkhtmltopdf using Lucee I ended up writing my own wrapper for it, since there wasn't any at the time and had Lucee render out the html and output it to a file for it to render. (Figuring out headers and footers was a pain...) If I was starting now I'd definitely consider using a docker image to isolate it, but haven't had the chance to see how well it works.
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bdw429s

05/24/2022, 3:59 PM
@Jonas Eriksson
(I'm kinda lost as to which version people recommend "Classic" or "Flying Saucer".
I'm not sure anyone really 'recommends' either. The Flying Saucer is what the newer version of the PDF extension is using. It's more up to date, has more features, and that's the version of the extension receiving fixes. So unless you have old code dependent on some specific behavior of the classic engine, I don't think there's a reason not to be using the new stuff.
the ForgeBox version
Can you be more specific? There's at least 10 packages on Forgebox that appear to be related to "pdf" so I'm not sure which one you're referring to there. https://www.forgebox.io/?search=pdf
I'm just really looking for the simplest and correct way of doing it that is considered "the right modern way"
When it comes to generating PDFs, usually whichever way works for you is right šŸ™‚ I'd start with the CFDocument tag and see how well it works for you. It's easy to use and can usually handle average load and average size PDFs pretty good.
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Patrick S

05/24/2022, 4:01 PM
@bdw429s I think he's referring to this one: https://www.forgebox.io/view/wkhtmltopdf
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bdw429s

05/24/2022, 4:11 PM
If that's the case, it needs to be explained that all the wkhtmktopdf wrappers out there are a totally different concept from how the CFDocument tag. The
<CFDocument>
tag ā€¢ on Adobe CF is powered by a native Java PDF building library that is proprietary to Adobe ā€¢ on Lucee in "Classic" mode is powered by a very old version of a native Java PDF building library called iText ā€¢ on Lucee in "Flying Saucer" mode is powered by a recent version of a native Java PDF building library called Flying Saucer, which I think is actually powered by a newer version of iText internally Now, wkhtmltopdf is a native binary (not java) written in C++ which is compiled for different operating systems. There is a popular Node.js wrapper and when you run the CFHTMLToPDF tag in Adobe ColdFusion, CF is making an HTTP web service call to a Jetty powered java-based API which wraps the actual native Node library to generate the PDF and then send it back. Most of the Lucee wrappers you see including the lib above is a similar setup, but instead of being a built in CF tag, you just send the API call to a docker container or wherever you've spun up a wrapper for the wkhtmltopdf process. So it's pretty close to what Adobe does, just more manual of a setup.
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But again, I'd recommend starting with cfdocument and see if it does what you need. Most people move to htmltopdf if ā€¢ They can't get the fine control over their CSS that they need ā€¢ They need to massively scale out their PDF generation separately from their CF app layer ā€¢ They can't work around bugs or don't want to rely on their CF engine to update the java PDF library
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Jonas Eriksson

05/25/2022, 9:26 AM
Yes, the one Patrick mentioned was the one I was curious about. Thanks Brad for a thorough explanation of the differences, much clearer. And I've been using CFDocument and it basically does what I need, but there has been some hick-ups with page margins and font sizes seemingly being affected by various Lucee versions. I know this sounds "muddy" šŸ™‚ I just want to make sure I'm on the right track and the client can avoid having surprises with Lucee PDF engine updates and perhaps wkhtmltopdf might offer that. Again, NOT blaming Lucee for changing/improving things, just looking for consistency and a client wanting the created PDFs to match his other business documents created in Word exported to PDF manually, which are then merged with dynamically created PDFs from our app and product brochures into a longer PDF (around 50-60 pages in total).
DigitalOcean has a "new" thing called DigitalOcean Functions (https://www.digitalocean.com/products/functions) - would the wkhtmltopdf be able to run in something like that (they can use NodeJS / PHP / Python / Go and this project uses Go apparently: https://github.com/MotorsportReg/docker-wkhtmltopdf-service instead of spinning up a Docker? Just pondering what the easiest/cheapest way of running wkhtmltopdf as a service is (not being a Docker or ColdBox expert) šŸ™‚ - and if someone says - "yeah, I could get that running in a couple of hours" then it's perhaps something we could crowdsource šŸ˜‰ EDIT: Just testing if the above repo can run as an app in Digital Ocean, perhaps that's the easiest of all.
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bdw429s

05/25/2022, 2:48 PM
there has been some hick-ups with page margins and font sizes seemingly being affected by various Lucee versions. I know this sounds "muddy" šŸ™‚
@Jonas Eriksson No, that's typical experience when it comes to PDFs. Unfortunately, I can't promise that changing to another method of PDf generation will be any different, or even less likely to have little changes between versions. Do put in tickets for any issues you have with cfdocument-- Pothys has done a lot of work to try and get bugs fixed there in Lucee.
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I actually work with motorsportsreg-- they are a client of Ortus. They basically run wkhitmltopdf in a docker container and just hit it via an API which is pretty common.
As far as how specific @sknowltonā€™s wrapper for that is to ColdBox, I don't know, but I'm sure if you asked him he'd let you know šŸ™‚ I'm sure it could be massaged to be able to run in or out of ColdBox.
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sknowlton

05/25/2022, 2:53 PM
There's a bit at the bottom of the README about how to get it to run outside of Coldbox
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The Coldbox dependency is really just wirebox and hyper
The actual wkhtmltopdf interaction can be done via cfhttp. We use Motorsportsreg's docker service, it's a tiny tiny container
We switched from the built-in PDF stuff in Lucee both because of volume (we had a client for whom we had to make tens of thousands of 1-2 page PDFs) and performance (we had to render some really shitty HTML from a 3rd party into what could be a 30 page PDF and the result from cfdocument would crash Chrome)
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Patrick S

05/25/2022, 2:56 PM
This is the type of thing I'd love to see written up sometime, that is quite a lot of pdf rendering, and knowing that it can scale well is great to know - as well as what sorts of stumbling blocks there might have been.
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