Tools to Capture and Convert the Web

Fundamental Quality Improvement for PDF Service!

22 April 2016

ASDA improvementOur webpage to PDF service is undergoing a massive quality improvement by switching our web capture technology from using WebKit to Chromium base code. This follows a similar upgrade to our image screenshot service that occurred just over two months ago. While this has been a more complex project than updating our image screenshot technology, it has massively improved the quality of the PDF's produced. The main reason for this is that the PDF capture technology supports the latest web technologies, including SVG, HTML 5 Videos and the latest CSS 3 effects.

Google improvement

This article includes a few examples of the improvements you can expect. In each example the page on the left is using the old PDF technology while the page on the right of a image is using the new PDF technology. As you can see the new PDF's more accurately represent the target web page and support more advanced web technologies such as charts.

In general the PDF's produced are now much smaller, which helps improve response times by reducing the time it takes to download a generated PDF. For some PDF screenshots which include a lot of images the file size can be more than 50% smaller.

Chart improvement

Another common complaint with the current PDF capture technology is blank pages at the end of PDF documents. With the new service we have added a new feature that automatically tries to detect and remove blank pages at the end of a PDF file.

In the future this technology upgrade will mean a more integrated service as our PDF and image capture technology will use the same underlying browser code so whenever an update is applied to our web capture technology the improvement will be seen in both the PDF and image screenshot services.

This release also includes a few general bug fixes for the image screenshot service.

All of these improvements are currently being beta tested on our US servers, so to test the new PDF improvements just enter "US" into the country parameter. If you experience any issues please report them to us.

Once we think that the upgrade to our web capture technology is stable we will roll-out the changes across all of our screenshot servers, hopefully within a few weeks.

New Features

The new release of our web capture technology, will also include support for US Legal page sizes for the PDF service just enter "Legal" as the page size when using the US servers.

We have also by-passed the chromium browser caching, which was limiting what we can do, to provide a more robust caching solution which is designed for capturing the web. Our new caching system should slightly speed up most screenshots.

As of the 6th of May 2016 these improvements have been released!

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