(The word “post” implies both posts and pages.)
- Sometimes the creation tool locks up on large builds with images
Sometimes when you build a PDF in the Creation Tool and have lots of posts with lots of extra options like images, other plugin shortcodes or TOC selected, the build will simply lock up and never complete. First, wait 30 seconds for every post you have included. If it still has not completed, you probably have a timeout and the build has failed. This may have to do with server configuration which is out of my control. It may also be some error. You can try un-checking some of the options to simplify the build or get around whatever error is causing it.
- Special Characters in Post Slugs
On individual post PDFs, when a post has a special character in its slug, and you have selected “Use post slug for PDF filename instead of ID”, sometimes the system doesn’t translate the character properly and you can’t link to the final PDF. The easiest solution is to turn the option off in the settings panel, but if you are set on having post-slug based PDF filenames, you could change the post slug (nowadays WordPress automatically redirects readers when a slug changes) to not include the offending character, or turn off PDF creation for just that post, then add a link to a PDF created through the tool page.
- Blank page on Settings and Tool Pages
If your PHP backend is not horribly out of date this shouldn’t be a problem. (Please leave a comment if you figure out what the minimum version of PHP is for this plugin.) For a few systems, the settings and tool pages just don’t show up (or so a couple people have reported). I believe this is due to some kind of lack of support for XML within the PHP installation. If you can edit the source files, go into kalins-pdf-creation-station.php and go to the function kalins_pdf_contextual_help, around line 333. Comment out the contents and make it return an empty string. This will kill your help menu, but should make the plugin usable.
- Image Shortcode Issue
There is an issue when you have images with a caption in your post. Since the caption is essentially a shortcode, select ‘run other plugin shortcodes’ and it should start exporting your images. (I’m not sure if this is still a problem or not. Feel free to leave a comment if you have experience with this.)
- Unexplained page breaks
Every once in a while a post seems to have some content that causes the PDF to have an unexpected page break in the middle of the post. Not sure what’s causing that, but fortunately it seems rare. (This may have been solved with newer versions of TCPDF. Feel free to leave a comment if you still see this issue.)
- Problems when wp_config.php is in non-standard location
The creation script will throw an error if your wp_config.php is in a non-standard location. I have a simple solution that involves changing one line of code. Read my blog post: creation-station-non-standard-location to find out how to fix this.
- Single Quotes Don’t Work in HTML Attributes
Single quotes in HTML attributes (e.g. font size=’12’) will not work. You must use double quotes instead (e.g. font size=”12″). This doesn’t reduce what you can do with this plugin but will most likely frustrate someone who isn’t aware of the issue.
- Image Rendering Issues
Images generally not retain their proper orientation, since TCPDF’s CSS support is very limited so text will not wrap around images in the same way they do in the post. WordPress caption tags for images will be removed so that you don’t see a bunch of code in your PDF, but the images will be placed on their own line in the document and the caption text itself will not be displayed.
- Crappy Error Checking
Something is wrong with my Try-Catch statements in the PDF creation script. The errors are simply thrown, so if someone inputs some invalid field data, or something else goes wrong, they will receive an ugly, nonsensical PHP warning, even though I have script that is supposed to catch those errors and display something more understandable. This shouldn’t be a problem for the most part, but may be noticeable if someone has some corrupt images or tries putting letters instead of numbers into the font size field or otherwise tries to send invalid data to the PDF creation script.
- No Internationalization
I need to set up the whole translation system so that this plugin will appear in other languages. It appears to be a complicated and tedious process, especially with something like Kalin’s PDF Creation Station that has a large quantity of static text in the admin panels.
- No Security or Special Handling for Private Posts
If a post is set to private, PDF Creation Station will still generate a link if you set it to do so. If a person knows the folder structure, they could theoretically access the PDF of that private post. To prevent this, you would need to go into the post’s edit page and disable PDF generation for it. Private posts are also still available in the Tool page.