Recently, Datalogics has started a prerelease program for it’s new WebAPI. The Datalogics WebAPI is a RESTful API that allows you to manipulate PDF files without the need to install any software on your own server or desktop. Datalogics will be offering these and other services on a subscription basis at some point in the future.
One of the services they offer is RenderPages and is based on the DL PDF2IMG product which is based on the Adobe PDF Library and uses the Adobe Color Engine so you’re sure to get the most accurate conversion available as a service. To introduce the service, they’re providing an extremely easy to use, completely free, “Thumbnail” service that will convert the first page of any PDF file to a small bitmap for use in… well… anything you like.
The URL for the service is http://thumbnail.datalogics-cloud.com/. You must pass in an inputURL parameter. The default longest dimension is 250 pixels but you can optionally specify imageWidth and/or imageHeight if you like. You can copy the URL below and paste it into your browser to see how this works. The original PDF file is here.
I’ve also created a jQuery Plugin that will automatically find all anchor tags that link to PDF files and dynamically insert a DIV in it’s place that contains a thumbnail and a link to the original PDF. This allows you to easily author web pages by linking to PDFs without needing to create the thumbnails yourself.
The first example page shows the behavior and contains an explanation. Just click the “Go” button and watch the magic happen.
The second example page shows how I envision the plugin being used in the real world; you go to the page and the thumbnails get created and pour in automatically.
Let me know what you think of the PDF Thumbnail jQuery plugin. If it proves popular, I’ll submit it to the jQuery site.