PDF Portfolios & ColdFusion 9

I think that one of the coolest features in ColdFusion 9 is the ability to create PDF Portfolios. But this feature isn't one that I hear anyone talking about. Why? Well, I find that most ColdFusion developers--and I've talked to a whole lot about this--have never heard of PDF Portfolios. So what I need to do here first is point you to some info about PDF Portfolios themselves.

The best place to start is with this Adobe Acrobat 9 help documentation. Check out all those cool features!

Let's say you need ColdFusion 9 to send multiple pieces of content via email. Your options:

  1. Attach all the items to the email. This is messy.
  2. Put the items in a ZIP file and attach it to the email. Good luck getting this through email filters!
  3. Put the items in a PDF Package and attach it to the email. Your user gets a single attached file, opens it with Adobe Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9 and browses through the content, even previewing it directly within Adobe Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9!

Let's say you need a user to be able to get multiple logically connected pieces of content from your ColdFusion 9 web app; perhaps you even need to allow the user to select the pieces of content himself/herself. Your options:

  1. Display links to all the content; have your user click the link for each piece of content he/she wants. This is messy, plus the user has to do the work to keep the content logically connected when saving the content locally.
  2. Put the items in a ZIP file and display a link to it. This works and in certain situations may be the best approach, however the display of a ZIP file is rather bland.
  3. Put the items in a PDF Package and display a link to it. Your user gets a single file and, in many browsers, this file will open automatically for viewing with Adobe Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9.

Starting to see how cool and useful PDF Packages can be? Want to see their use in action? Check out the related post linked below: you'll see that I have provided a link to the code for the PresentasticPlus app (and yes, that code is in a ZIP file but that's because ZIP files make sense for code) and in that app there is functionality for dynamically creating a PDF Package based on a user's selection(s).

I should point out that ColdFusion 9 creates a sub-type of a PDF Portfolio known as a PDF Package. Really, the main difference is that PDF Portfolios can have a custom user interface and PDF Packages can't (for more information on this, see this blog post from the LiveCycle Doc team). This is a cool feature and I recommend you learn more about how you can use it with Adobe Acrobat 9 (see Joel Geraci on Adobe TV).

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