Let me start by explaining why I wrote this system in the first place.
I needed pdf-generation for multiple business domains in my software.
Think of invoices, account statements or reports.
Non-technical people should be able to create new layouts and modify existing ones.
"The output should be what the editor expects, and it shall not suck!" (client)
Non-technical people don't want to learn my ruby dsl. Neither how to write latex-templates, nor how to write html and css. Understandable, I guess. Think of an HR Manager for example. They need loads of reports and documentation, and they want to be able to create and edit their documents without spending hours of waiting, explaining and objecting to the work done by a technician they also have to pay.
So I trashed that idea.
What to do?
Then I figuered that most of the users, eventough not technically skilled, do not only know their shit; they are also very well trained and experienced with formatting in Word-applications. Bingo!
Additionally to being easy to use for non-technical people, Template2pdf is reachable and ready all the time, because we use different hosters in different locations and networks. If one instance fails, the consuming software can just switch over to another machine.
If you have similar requirements and don't want the overhead of running such an infrastructure, please be my guest and give it a try. Once you go into production, you switch into one of the pricing plans. You can cancel your account any time.
Lets imagine you contracted a freelancer with building your online shop. You are happy. But now you would like to have all invoices in pdf format.
There are several options on how you and your programmer could implement a solution and how much it would cost:
1) You agree with your programmer on how the invoice should look like. The programmer then writes a real program to generate your pdf. Whenever you want to change the layout or general content of your invoice, you need to call up somebody who can change it for you.
2) The programmer provides you with some sort of 'what you see is what you get' input field in your browser. They look like a small word application inside a website. Unfortunately they do not work half as well, and there is a lot of trying and testing involved to make it meet your expectations. Additionally it is very hard for the programmer to build something that will support features like page-numbering, a static header and footer or even a nice break at the end of each page. It is very likely that you still will require support to do any changes, and it will annoy the heck out of you.
3) You download the example invoice template from this site, modify it to your needs and tell your programmer to generate pdfs out of it. Template2pdf is monitored 24/7 and hosted in different locations and networks to guarantee a maximum uptime. It is in production use for some time and has already generated thousands of documents.
In summary: This software provides pdf-generation out of templates that non-technical people can define and modify.
It is targeted at developers who do not have an interest in implementing and running such an infrastructure. If you think that you know one of those developers, please make them aware of this option.
If you have further questions or suggestions, please contact me.