Introducing PDF Creator

We’re happy to announce support for PDFs in the DronaHQ Studio!

This new functionality comes in the form of two features, namely:-

  1. A new PDF Creator - An online WYSIWYG editor that will help you prepare PDF templates. You can add and reorder pages, add text, tables and organize them into layouts. You can also add dynamic variables to the template you’ve designed, which will ultimately be filled in through - Workflows
  2. A new PDF Generation Task - A new type of workflow task you can create in your applications. You can choose a template you’ve published and fill in values for the variables (either with static values or by using our formula engine). This task will generate a PDF and expose a variable called PDFLINK - if, say, your PDF Task is named PDFTask, you can use the formula PDFTask.PDFLINK to use the link in any subsequent tasks in any way you want, either to send as an attachment in an email, or to save the link in a sheet.

Why PDF Creator?

A lot of the use cases involves data collection and data representation. There is a need for proper, sharable representation of that data that can be used for various purposes, like, say, a dynamically generated invoice or summary report. One might also require immediately generated brochures or licence agreements, which might also need data filled in.

We’ve designed this functionality to fit these types of use cases, as well as whatever other needs you might have. You can use the PDF Creator to create a precisely designed template and optionally pull whatever data you need for display.

Sample Use Cases

  • Construct invoices for generating bills and emailing them to customers.
  • Generate brochures with your personalized contact details to share with others.
  • Create legal documents for terms and agreements.

How do I find them?

You can go to the new PDF Creator item from the Studio Console menu. Use the + TEMPLATE button at the top to create a new template.

You can create a new PDF Generation workflow task from the Workflow screen in your App Builder. Go to workflow builder (create a workflow if you don’t have one yet) -

Create a new task by clicking on the plus icon, and select the new task type called Generate PDF from the list.

How can I use them?

Clicking on your created template in the PDF Creator list will open up the new editor, with a single pre-created page.

To start with, the page will have a single add (+) button inside it, and a single add button below it. Clicking on the add button outside of pages only gives you the option to add a new page. Clicking on the Add Button icon inside the page gives you a list of containers and components, where

  1. Containers give you a way to organize the layout of the page - the options are to add a number of resizable columns (up to a maximum of four).
  2. Components are where you put in data of your own - like text, images and tables. Text and Tables can have variables created inside of them

Creating Variables

You have two ways of creating variables -

  1. You can go to the Variable Sidebar (Click on the {x} icon) and click on the add button on the top right. You can use an alphanumeric name for the variable, and it can contain underscores too (similar to the rules for the Variable Block in Workflow). You can use this newly created variable by typing {{ into a text/table component, and selecting the variable from the autocomplete list.
  2. You can create a new variable by typing your new variable name into the editor between curly spaces, and selecting the variable from the autocomplete menu once you’ve typed the full thing in.

Once you’re done, you can use the Publish icon on the top right to publish your template and have it be available for usage.

Now, in the workflow view, in a new PDF Generation task, select your newly published template. Once your template’s variables are shown, add values to each of them as needed.

You can use the PDF link it generates in subsequent workflow tasks - use the formula PDFTask.PDFLINK.

The link is also available in Workflow Analytics to use or view it later.

Your generated PDF will eventually end up looking something like this:-

Upcoming Features

Keep a look out for new features in the next few weeks, like Customizable Page Indicators and Dynamic tables!

Have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Head to our forum to share in our Suggestions Section