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Posted 11 Jan 2006


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Creating PDF with nFOP

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11 Jan 2006CPOL1 min read
How to use generate PDF files on the fly using nFOP


nFOP is an elegant solution to generate PDF on the fly. It is originally a Java open source product that has been migrated to .NET.

The purpose of this article is to show the use of nFOP to generate a PDF file from XML data. We won't describe the FO format here. Many excellent articles exist on the Web about FO which is a W3C standard. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be much known by the .NET community so far.

First, you have to download nFOP from here.

Using the Code

Here is the data in input - my favourite French books:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    <Title>Madame Bovary</Title>
    <Author>Gustave Flaubert</Author>
    <Title>Bel Ami</Title>
    <Title>La Curée</Title>
    <Author>Emile Zola</Author>
    <Title>Les Chouans</Title>
    <Author>Honoré de Balzac</Author>

Here is now the XSL transformation that I will apply to this XML. I create a table in FO language, with three columns. The rows will be generated by the XSL transformation, one for each book.


      <xsl:for-each select="Books/Book">
              <xsl:value-of select=".//Title" />
              <xsl:value-of select=".//Author" />
              <xsl:value-of select=".//Price" />

In Visual Studio, reference the nFop assembly ApacheFop.Net.dll and the J# assembly vjslib.dll.

You will need to add the following namespaces to your class:

using System.Xml;
using System.Xml.Xsl;
using System.Xml.XPath;
using org.apache.fop;
using org.apache.fop.apps;
using org.xml.sax;

We call the classic XML/XSL transformation to produce the FO file:

// Load the FO style sheet.
XslCompiledTransform xslt = new XslCompiledTransform();

// Execute the transform and output the results to a file.
xslt.Transform("books.xml", "");

At last, here comes the most interesting part, the use of NFOP to generate the PDF file.

Here is the method that does the job:
private void GeneratePDF(string foFile, string pdfFile)
    FileInputStream streamFO = new FileInputStream(foFile);
    InputSource src = new InputSource(streamFO);
    FileOutputStream streamOut = new FileOutputStream(pdfFile);
    Driver driver = new Driver(src, streamOut);


nFOP is an easy solution to implement and it is free. Because the PDF structure is described in an XML file, it is easy to configure its disposition, which clients always ask for.

To learn more about FOP, visit the Apache site and download the Java version. It contains plenty of samples of FO files and good documentation.


  • 11th January, 2006: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Jerome Bellanger
Software Developer (Senior) Freelance
France France
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionInputSource constructor err Pin
Member 125699229-Jun-16 8:31
MemberMember 125699229-Jun-16 8:31 
QuestionError assembly Pin
Member 953878123-Oct-12 3:32
MemberMember 953878123-Oct-12 3:32 
SuggestionEditors for FOP Pin
Member 827588227-Nov-11 0:49
MemberMember 827588227-Nov-11 0:49 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
vinayak.bhadage19-Apr-11 22:52
Membervinayak.bhadage19-Apr-11 22:52 
QuestionDriver.setRenderer(8); not working Pin
Uday_T24-May-10 13:43
MemberUday_T24-May-10 13:43 
GeneralSecured PDF Generation Pin
vinvino200122-Apr-10 21:32
Membervinvino200122-Apr-10 21:32 
GeneralRe: Secured PDF Generation Pin
WiseLearner11-Feb-13 8:04
MemberWiseLearner11-Feb-13 8:04 
GeneralRe: Secured PDF Generation Pin
vinvino200111-Feb-13 17:48
Membervinvino200111-Feb-13 17:48 
QuestionDriver present in which library? ISO8859_1 error? Pin
Uday_T9-Feb-10 13:24
MemberUday_T9-Feb-10 13:24 
AnswerRe: Driver present in which library? ISO8859_1 error? Pin
Uday_T9-Feb-10 18:22
MemberUday_T9-Feb-10 18:22 
GeneralRe: Driver present in which library? ISO8859_1 error? Pin
Uday_T11-Feb-10 16:34
MemberUday_T11-Feb-10 16:34 
GeneralI am getting error like this Pin
Shaik Haneef14-Sep-09 20:41
MemberShaik Haneef14-Sep-09 20:41 
GeneralRe: I am getting error like this Pin
Kotty19856-Nov-09 4:51
MemberKotty19856-Nov-09 4:51 
GeneralIssue parsing out encoded html Pin
coolaid0925-Aug-09 8:51
Membercoolaid0925-Aug-09 8:51 
Questionimages Pin
coolaid0920-Aug-09 9:34
Membercoolaid0920-Aug-09 9:34 
I'm trying to include the following image reference:

<fo:external-graphic src="url(catcode_logo.jpg)"
width="99px" height="109px"/>

I've also tried:

<fo:external-graphic src="file:catcode_logo.jpg"
width="99px" height="109px"/>

The image is at the same level as the other files, but it's not being included in the PDF. Are external graphics not supported by NFOP?
AnswerRe: images Pin
Uday_T1-Mar-10 11:08
MemberUday_T1-Mar-10 11:08 
QuestionFop license? Pin
pereszczako8-Jun-09 22:39
Memberpereszczako8-Jun-09 22:39 
QuestionBarcode fonts embedded using the userconfig.xml file Pin
djblues30-Apr-09 8:46
Memberdjblues30-Apr-09 8:46 
GeneralIssue with FOP Pin
sonu941-Dec-08 22:09
Membersonu941-Dec-08 22:09 
Generalreference-orientation does not work Pin
Member 212122031-Mar-08 9:14
MemberMember 212122031-Mar-08 9:14 
QuestionLatin2 character set Pin
gabor10-Dec-07 23:41
Membergabor10-Dec-07 23:41 
QuestionBuild Pin
lokesh_sg7-Nov-07 0:23
Memberlokesh_sg7-Nov-07 0:23 
QuestionHyphenation Pin
Daniele Fusi28-Mar-07 23:34
MemberDaniele Fusi28-Mar-07 23:34 
GeneralJava does not work Pin
Member 385632223-Feb-07 5:42
MemberMember 385632223-Feb-07 5:42 
GeneralRe: Java does not work Pin
Wingnut121327-Feb-07 8:02
MemberWingnut121327-Feb-07 8:02 

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