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The PDFBoxLite project is a subset of the PDFBox project, which is intended to present the bare minimum amount of library functionality needed to create a static PDF document. Advanced PDF features such as forms, hyperlinks, metadata and signatures have been stripped out.

The motivation for PDFBoxLite is size reduction. At the present time, PDF seems to be the only vector graphics format that is universally implemented (completely and correctly), and is the leading candidate for creating inline figures for inclusion in documents that need to be print quality. Creating inline figures is definitely not a major use case for all the advanced functionality that PDF has accumulated over the years. For this reason adding ~8 megabytes to the size of a Java deliverable is suboptimal, especially when the main project is a fraction of that size.

For testing purposes, the main method in org.apache.pdfbox.test.TestMain will create a file called testoutput.pdf, which contains a selection of basic drawing primitives, including a line of text. This is validation of sorts. Also, for purposes of getting started with the PDFBox library, you can check out org.apache.pdfbox.test.RenderContext, which provides a very basic wrapper around the core functionality. Use it or lose it, but feel free to learn from it.

No doubt plenty more functionality could be cut out, but a reduction to ~1.5 megabytes represents a significant improvement.

Apologies in advance to the PDFBox team, having to see all of your hard work mercilessly slashed. Anyone who wants to generate complex PDF documents should go straight to the original project.

  • Dr. Alex M. Clark February 2016

Apache PDFBox

The Apache PDFBox library is an open source Java tool for working with PDF documents. This project allows creation of new PDF documents, manipulation of existing documents and the ability to extract content from documents. PDFBox also includes several command line utilities. PDFBox is published under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

PDFBox is a project of the Apache Software Foundation

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