This article reviews the top HTML-to-PDF Java libraries and a few non-HTML-based conversion libraries, too. We’ll rely on our decade of experience in PDF conversion and point out the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various libraries. However, as some of these libraries are either out of date or otherwise unsuitable, we haven’t used all of them in production. Therefore, please use this guide only as a starting point for your own research.
We built DocRaptor in 2010 because we couldn’t find a good HTML-to-PDF converter. We still believe it’s the best overall Java HTML-to-PDF option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for every Java project. PDFs can be surprisingly complex, and the requirements for each vary massively.
Before you evaluate the various libraries, we’d recommend considering the following dimensions of your project:
With that in mind, on to the list!
You can sign up for a free DocRaptor plan and be up and running in minutes with our Java HTML-to-PDF agent. You can even try it without an account via our public, testing API key. Paid plans start at just $15/month, and we provide unlimited test documents.
PrinceXML is a pioneer in HTML-to-PDF conversion. Their team wrote the CSS Paged Media specifications that enable much of DocRaptor and Prince’s unique conversion capabilities. Additionally, the inventor of CSS and CTO of Opera, Håkon Wium Lie, is chairman of the company.
Unlike DocRaptor’s usage-based pricing model, Prince relies on upfront licensing. Licenses start at $2,000. While the core of Prince is written in Mercury, Prince does offer a Java wrapper.
iText is the most popular commercial HTML-to-PDF Java library. The iText Core library lets you create and modify PDF documents, while the pdfHTML add-on provides support for HTML-to-PDF functionality. iText sells a number of other add-ons as well. Overall, iText is an extremely powerful PDF creation and manipulation library with capabilities far beyond HTML-to-PDF conversion.
iText pricing varies depending on your usage type and volume. You’ll need to talk to a sales representative to get exact pricing information.
In general, Open HTML-to-PDF appears to be well-featured, but has a lot of bugs and difficult edge cases. The README suggests using table layouts and writing HTML specifically for this library. For those reasons, we’d recommend Open HTML-to-PDF only for relatively simple PDF documents and with HTML built specifically for Open HTML-to-PDF.
While Aspose.HTML does not support the CSS Paged Media specifications, it does offer minimal support for custom CSS extensions that provide page numbers (but not headers, footers, footnotes, etc). Headers and footers can be created by using the Aspose.PDF product to edit the PDF document, just not through the HTML and CSS directly.
In general, Aspose.HTML seems like a good option for basic HTML document conversion but isn’t suited for more complex PDF-specific functionality. That requires custom coding with the Aspose.PDF product.
Aspose products are available via a usage-based API or with a license. Licenses start at $999 for a single developer.
There are several additional options available if you look outside of the Java community. For a complete list, look at Node.js HTML-to-PDF generators, PHP HTML-to-PDF libraries, Python HTML-to-PDF converters, or Ruby HTML-to-PDF libraries. The two top DocRaptor alternatives are probably:
We began this article with some of the dimensions to consider when evaluating Java HTML-to-PDF libraries. As you narrow down your options and begin testing, consider some of these comparison criteria, as well:
We hope this guide has been a helpful starting point for your Java HTML-to-PDF library research. If you have any feedback or suggestions, contact us at email@example.com.