C# wrapper wrapper (using P/Invoke) for the excelent Html to PDF conversion library wkhtmltopdf library.
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Latest commit 97e3b80 Mar 13, 2017 @pruiz pruiz Merge pull request #44 from DevelappersGmbH/master
fixing unexpected release of native callbacks

README.md

This is a C# wrapper (using P/Invoke) for the excelent Html to PDF conversion library wkhtmltopdf.

CURRENT STATUS & LIMITATIONS

I've been using it on production since Q4/2010, and has worked fine so far, so we might say it's almost 'production ready'..

The way I'm using the component is from a back office windows service which handles html->pdf conversion as part of some workflows initiated by users from a web application, so, the web application does not directly call WkHtmlToXSharp, but instead sends a message thru NServiceBus to an independent service which handles (among other tasks) generation of a PDF from Html, a Pdf document which it's later made available to our user thru the web application..

As I said, it is working quite nicely, however, I think I should advise you about the current limitations of the API:

  • Concurrent conversions: The component exposes two main conversion classes 'WkHtmlToPdfConverter' & 'MultiplexingConverter', both serving as a mean to convert from html to pdf, WkHtmlToPdfConverter it's a plain OO wrapper against wkhtmltox.dll's API, but, due to an wkhtmltox.dll's limitation, all calls to it's API should be made from the same thread, which can be a problem on a web application. To somewhat avoid such a limitation I have defined a class named 'MultiplexingConverter' which uses and internally created thread to perform conversions serializing calls to the underlaying C library within such thread.

The API it's exactly the same one as WkHtmlToPdfConverter exposes, it is just a wrapper which handles (and hides) complexities involved in using the same thread for all calls. Also, this imposes a performance hit (as conversions are not really run concurrently, but serialized under a single 'proxy' thread), so if your application is in the need of massive concurrent conversions, this might be a problem.

  • No html to image conversions yet: Currently the API only supports Html->Pdf conversions, although wkhtmltox.dll supports html->image too.. While implementing WkHtmlToImage should be pretty easy, it's still on TODO due to time constraints.

  • No 64bits on windows: No native 64bit windows dll is available from upstream project (code.google.com/p/wkhtmltopdf) is not available, and even I tried and built it by myself, the produced component worked pretty flawlessly, probably due to limitations on current gnu toolchain (or even qt) on windows 64.. so all this means there's no support for running on 64bit-only .Net environments.

    Currently there are two possible workarounds:

    1. Build your projects linking with WkHtmlToXSharp.dll as 'x86' instead of 'AnyCpu'.

    2. Or run your application on a 32bit-only application pool on IIS.

  • Normal P/Invoke restrictions: This assembly uses P/Invoke to call wkhtmltox.dll, so normal restrictions deriving from using P/Invoke apply..

As a final note, I should note that when using this component there's no need to download nor install wkhtmltox.dll, as native .dll/.so files needed are embedded into WkHtmlToXSharp.dll and they are deployed automatically the first time a conversion is performed.

This makes the dll bigger (even if native dll's are embedded as gzipped resources), but this makes things much more fun & easier.. ;)

  • No ASP.NET/IIS Support: This has to do with the way IIS manages underlaying threads, and application pools. IIS instantiates & re-cycles pools and AppDomains from time to time, and this causes non-managed resources used by this library to not be released properly.