Hey all, I was recommended to come here by a CS buddy of mine. I want to develop an application that takes simple text inputs and produces a formatted output file, i.e. I already know what the format the output should take, and I want the user to only have to type in the content and not have to worry about the formatting. Ideally this output would be a document (PDF, RTF).
I've seen something like this deployed with Ruby on Rails on a website that works pretty well and produces an HTML page with the formatting applied, so I know it can be done. I'm just not sure what the easiest way is to develop this. My programming experience is relatively novice-to-intermediate with Java, but I do have fairly extensive web development experience in HTML, PHP, CSS (standard stuff), and I'm good at programming overall.
At the moment I bounced around the idea of making an application in Java to do this, but I'm not sure that's the best approach - to my knowledge, it wouldn't be terribly difficult making the UI for taking inputs, but going from those inputs to a formatted document could be nightmarish? I'm not really sure how good Java is at handling that :\
Anyway, any thoughts on this would be appreciated! Thank you!
If you only need formatting as in formatted display and like, go for perl, its the best and was built for such puposes.
However if you need DOC/PDF output then I am not certain how much support perl can give you, better stick to a technology you know of.
For e.g. POI library has support for generation of both formats and you can evaluate how best to achieve the formatting process itself. The formatting support in java is not the best, but should be good enough.
I have done a little work in developing pdf from text. We had used flying saucer library and itext libraries. you can get a lot of examples on how to convert html to pdf. Since you have told you have experience in web technologies you can use HTML for formatting and using itext or similar libraries you can spool it to pdf easily.
And thank you everyone who has posted so far - I'm learning a lot already and can already see a lot of options opening up. I'll look into each ones in more detail and comment back, in the meanwhile any other suggestions are welcome!!