Possible Features


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These are features I would like to add to Kalin’s PDF Creation Station WordPress plugin (though I can’t make any promises).

If you particularly support or are opposed to any of these ideas or have one of your own, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

If you would like to beta test new features that have not been released yet, you can load the SVN repository from http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/kalins-pdf-creation-station/ (I’m not currently working on anything new.)

  1. Save Settings
    It would be cool to allow users to save their settings on the tool page to either a file or database entry, so that you could instantly populate all the form fields on the page with your saved data. If a user has a website with several categories and they come back periodically to create one PDF for each individual category, they will likely use different settings for each PDF and will want a way to easily retrieve those settings for next time.
  2. Build HTML and TXT files to use plugin as site backup
    I could easily modify Creation Station to create a single HTML file that’s pretty much the exact same as the PDF except it’s straight HTML. I could also create a TXT file in the same manner. It also wouldn’t be a big problem to make a different HTML or TXT file for each post, drop them into a folder, compress them into a zip file, then post that zip file along with the PDF files in the list on the creation tool page, creating a quick and simple site content backup. This wouldn’t replace classic database backups but it’s nice to have an extra backup that’s easily readable by someone who doesn’t know databases.
  3. Download Counter
    I’d like to display a counter on the settings page that keeps track of how many times individual page/post PDF files have been created and accessed. Perhaps a little jquery popup that lists every page/post and lists the download count.
  4. Font Color Chooser
    You can already set font color using an HTML attribute in your title page and other inserted HTML, but I want to make a popup color selector for the main content text.
  5. Automatically Re-Build Multiple-Post PDFs
    The script for the individual PDF files automatically deletes the appropriate PDF file whenever the post is saved, so PDF content always matches the content of the post. I’d like to add a similar feature for PDF files created through the manual Creation Station tool. I would like to figure out how to add meta data into the PDF files and list the posts used so that whenever a post is updated, the PDF can also be updated.
  6. Custom (Or At Least Selectable) Fonts
    Apparantly there is a way to add fonts into the TCPDF creator engine. I’d like to grab a list of popular fonts and drop them in and add a font selector on the Creation Station tool and settings pages. What would be even better is to allow an admin to upload their own custom fonts, though I don’t know if that’s even possible.
  7. Custom Margins
    It should be pretty easy to allow custom left, right, top and bottom margins in the generated PDF files, but I’m not sure if anyone would use this feature or if it would just waste space on the admin pages.
  8. Find and Replace with Regex
    One of the original reasons for this plugin was so I could remove all the web style paragraph breaks in my pages and replace them with book style breaks with an indent so that you aren’t wasting paper if you want to print the PDF files. I’d like to add a section that allows a user to enter a regex (or some text if they don’t know regex) and some text to replace it. This could be used for removing links or email addresses or other things you may not want in your PDF files.
  9. Insert HTML page
    I’d like to add a button onto the tool admin page that will allow users to insert HTML as pages anywhere into the PDF, instead of just at the beginning and end.
  10. Include Tables Checkbox
    I’d like to add the option to include or not include HTML tables. I’ve tested Creation Station with a table and it seems to work but I’m worried that more complex tables will not render properly through TCPDF and I’d like to give users the option of not including them, just as I have for images.
  11. List PDF Files in Menu Creator
    In WordPress 3.0 they added an admin panel to create sidebar menus. I’d like to add a box to that menu creator that will list all the PDFs that have been created from the tool admin page so that links to those documents can be easily added to the sidebar. I should also include the option to add the single-post link for the page the user is currently on, so you can have the link in the sidebar instead of the post content. Perhaps I could also add a widget that lists all the available PDF files.
  12. PDF Creation Progress Bar
    I’m not sure how this would work, or if it’s even possible, but I’d like to add a progress bar to the tool admin page that could update as your PDF is being generated so if for some reason it takes a long time, a user can tell if things are working properly and can get an idea of how long it will take.
  13. More Header and Footer Customization
    Someone asked for the option to remove the horizontal lines on the top and bottom of each PDF page.  I suppose it could be nice to have this and also to be able to remove headers/footers entirely. If you can hack a little PHP, you can look at this post for instructions on how to make this happen in the current version.
  14. Change Post Order (a substitution for this feature new in V 3.0)
    For sites with hundreds of posts it can be cumbersome to search through the whole list on the tools page and manually re-order them. It would be cool to have a dropdown to order the list of posts by different criteria.
  15. Automatic Category/sub-page PDF Creation
    I’m not totally sure how to implement the UI for this, but I’d like to build a feature that allows you to link to a PDF of a particular category or page with all its sub-pages and have that PDF automatically recompiled whenever a new post/page is added or updated. I’m not sure if this feature justifies creating a whole new settings menu or if it should use settings from the single-post settings menu, or perhaps it should actually be built into the tool page. I just don’t know. Let me know if you have any ideas.
  16. Epub format export
    It would be cool to export in Epub format as well as PDF for e-readers.
  17. Search Engine Optimization
    PDFs have certain SEO options, like keywords, author and category that can be injected as metadata to improve search engine visibility. For individual posts, this should automatically grab tags, category, and author and on tool page will be customizable.
  18. Private post support
    Private posts currently don’t show up in the list. They probably should.
  19. Templates or ability to save settings
    It would be nice if people could save all their HTML so they can switch formats back and forth on-the-fly or have PDFs built based off template files that the user can specify.

41 thoughts on “Possible Features”

  1. e.g. adding to line 175 in kalins_pdf_create.php:

    $pageArr = apply_filters('kalin_page_list',$pageArr);

    Just as an easy suggestion!

    Once again, thanks for a great plugin

    Noel

  2. Wonderful plugin.

    Kalin, as a first step, could you please put a scattering of action and filter hooks in it?

    Like others, I would really like to save settings. In particular, I would like to organise it so that I can have a group of pages, then the posts, grouped together by categories, and then some more pages.

    I am happy to program this as an external function, if I could just have a filter where I can adjust the select and order of pages just before the pdf creation happens (ie after pressing the ‘create’ button)

    Thanks!

    Noel

  3. Hi Kalin,

    Thank you for your wonderful plug in.
    The one feature that I would really like is the first one on your list – save the settings. The ability to group posts and pages together as chapters (name the chapters, style the chapter names and include the chapters in the table of contents) would also be a great feature.

    I can append the creation date to the file name by using [blog_name]_[current_time]. However, formatting the date using [blog_name]_[current_time format="Y-m-d"]] does not produce a PDF file.

    Also, the text is not wrapping around images as it does on the web pages and the table of contents is appearing on the second page after the first page of the first post.

    Many thanks for sharing your plugin.

    Richard

    1. Hi Richard – yeah, the image-text wrapping thing is annoying. I’m still not sure what to do about that. The save settings would be nice but unfortunately I just dont have the bandwidth for a big feature like that. Same witb the chapters thing :( I will, however try to find time to look into the date format bug.

  4. Kalin,

    I love your plugin! I write a lot of technical documentation and use your plugin everywhere I do.

    Maybe I missed it, but can you have a download link at the top *and* bottom? Even better, is there a short code that can be used to insert a “download” link wherever you want?

    Thanks

  5. I would love to be able to create a PDF of all posts based on a selected Category. I just can’t figure out if this is possible.

    Meanwhile I can manually select the individual posts. It would be great to see the Categories in the UI.

    Thanks,

    Francis.

    1. Hi, sorry I missed your comment when it first came through. Unfortunately category-based pdf creation was a feature I never got around to before finally stopping forward development.

  6. Hi Kalin, Thanks for the quick reply. Have found out the issue. You’re right. I need do it with content filters. My only problem now is the table’s css styles are gone. Great plug-in by the way.

  7. Hi Kalin,

    I am having trouble with tables. When I convert a page with a table to PDF it only displays like this below.

    [table id=32 /]

    Hope you could help me

    Thanks,
    Thon

    1. Hi Kalin, Just an update. “[table id=32 /]” is a shortcode from a table generator plugin. Even if I checked run shortcodes it seems that it’s not running that shortcode and prints it as is

      1. Hmm, I’m not sure. Perhaps the table plugin doesn’t link properly in with the shortcode API. Did you happen to try “and content filters”? There are a few plugins out there that run their shortcodes through this filter instead of the standard shortcode system. I wonder if maybe the little slash is somehow interfering with something. Maybe try the shortode like “[table id=32]“? Those are just kind of shots in the dark though. If you can you link me to the plugin you’re using I’ll try to find time later this week to install it and see if I can reproduce the issue.

  8. hey I need help im trying to use your plugin to capture transaction results from wp e-comerce alot of people say i shouldnt use it but i find its the best plugin to use, btw your plaugin is the best pdf creator anyway I have one problem it isnt parsing the shortcode at all it just displays the shortcode as [transactionresults] is there a quick mod i can do or can you fix or whatever its pissing me off that im soo close but still soooo f***** far

    1. do you have “Run other plugin shortcodes” checked in the Creation Station admin page? If that doesn’t work, it’s possible your e-commerce plugin is parsing it through the content filter so you’d have to check “and content filters”, but that would be very bad form on their part.

  9. Hey Kalin,

    thank you for your great plugin!
    I want to know if it’s possible that you extend your cool Kalin’s PDF Creation Station Plugin.

    1. I like to extend your plugin, so that it’s possible to use MagicFields2 Custom Fileds and print them under or over the content.
    I know what I have to do to extend your plugin with this functionality, but if you publish a update all will be lost. So I ask you.

    2. What do you think about the possibility to specify templates for the pdf output.

    1. Actually lower down on this page, someone is discussing magicFields. I’m still a bit confused by the plugin. As for extending, I’m not really working on these plugins anymore. I don’t intend to make any more releases unless someone finds a bug that I can reproduce, or they become incompatible with newer versions of wordpress or there’s some compelling reason to update the version of TCPDF I’m using.
      I think specifying templates for output is a fine idea. I’ll add it to the list above, even though I doubt I’m ever going to get around to building any of these features.

  10. Hi Kalin,

    Pure, unadulterated PDF sweetness! Although all of your possible future features sound tasty… #1,2,3,9,10 and 16 sound particularly enticing!

    Best regards,

    Mark

  11. Hey Kalin, this plugin is sweet!

    I’m on the hunt for a function that allows me to make custom .pdfs by selecting certain posts\pages. Preferrably by listing all pages\posts with checkboxes and generates a .pdf of the checked posts\pages.

    I’m trying to get your plugin to do this, but no luck. is this something you would concider implementing?

    Or is it in place already and i’m just blind? Ive seen the pdf creation station under tools and i notice this kinda can do exactly this, but its limited to the dashboard.

    Cheers,
    -Calle

    1. I’ve thought about a user facing pdf creator before but never had the time to implement all the features I want to. I want to do automatic category pdf creation first. A user facing pdf creator may be a security risk too as a spammer could easily spam the feature and crash your site, but maybe someday ill be able to put one in anyway.

      1. Thanks for replying =)
        i turned the tool-admin.php into a user accessible pdf creation station (only logged in for security). It works nice, and does exactly what i need. Thank you for this plugin, and if interested, i can send over the page-template.

        -Calle

  12. Hi again Kalin

    I’m really liking this plugin. Thanks again.

    I have a security-related question though please. I have a site set up in such a way that certain categories of posts are automatically designated as private posts. The site itself is public but specific categories of posts are private and therefore not accessible by the public.

    The problem I’ve noticed is that the PDFs for these private posts are not protected, i.e., they’re accessible by anyone. Because my site will be indexed by Google, I’m concerned that people may come across the PDFs for the private posts.

    Do you know whether it’d be possible to protect the PDFs for the categories of private posts or, if it’s easier to implement, all PDFs generated by the plugin?

    Many thanks for any ideas you might have.

    Best regards
    Richard

    1. Sorry Kalin… . I’ve done some more testing and think I may have been wrong about the PDFs for private posts not being protected. Will do some more testing and let you know if I spot an issue. Cheers. Richard.

      1. Yeah, sorry, I don’t believe they are perfectly protected. They’re pretty much obscured, but if someone studied the source code, and had an idea of the id for the private post, they could probably figure out how to construct the url to get to the PDF.

  13. Hi Kalin

    This is a fantastic plugin. Thank you so much.

    I have a problem though and am wondering if you’re able to help please.

    I would like to use the plugin to enable people to print out posts/pages that contain html output that isn’t parsed by the post/page due to my use of code tags. The problem I’m experiencing is that when my pages/posts are exported, the html code in them is being parsed, with the result that nothing after the commencing the html code is converted.

    Do you think this is capable of solution please? Would gladly donate if it is.

    Best regards
    Richard

    1. Sorry Kalin. I realise that what I’m actually doing to show the code in posts/pages is using the WP Post Encode plugin, with tags in my template files.

      When a page or post is converted to PDF, the conversion is not recognising the encode tag and won’t convert anything from that point forward.

      I don’t suppose there’s a fix for this is there please?

      1. Okay, I tried out WP Post Encode – I’m not really sure what it’s doing – it’s like a way to display code examples in your posts? I’ve never had a problem doing that just by pasting the code.
        Anyway, it seems to be doing something to the code when I use the plugin, so I tested a PDF and the same changes were coming through in the PDF. I did have “and content filters” set to true in the setting page so the WP Post Encode could run its filter. Maybe you simply forgot to check that checkbox? I have them turned off by default because sometimes other plugins do unpredictable things.

      2. Thanks so much Kalin. I had a combination of settings activated before which seemed to have been preventing the PDF converting properly. When I do what you suggest above, it’s now working, which is excellent.

        This is the best post to PDF plugin I’ve come across, and over the months I’ve tried many.

        Thanks again.
        Richard

  14. I like the idea to edit the header and footer, and make a style of my own. editing css maybe ? or adding a logo to.

    Thanks for the plugin

    diego

  15. Hi Kalin,

    Awesome plug-in… I’m wondering though if you have any possible future plans of allowing site visitors to select the pages and posts that they want for a custom pdf. I think this would be a fantastic feature!

    Thanks!

    Mike

    1. I actually had a user creator widget here in this list, though I removed it since I got the impression it wasn’t such a popular idea, and would cause the plugin to become too bloated with features most users aren’t going to want. On the other hand, it is a cool idea and could be very useful for a very small number of sites. I’ll think about it. If anyone has any ideas on how this would best be implemented, let me know.

      1. It would be a pretty cool idea and I kjnow that I for one would be happy if the idea made the list :) In the meantime I’m going to see if I can’t implement some rudimentary version of this myself for our site.

        Thanks Kalin!

    1. Sorry, I’m not really clear on what you’re asking. You can insert any HTML into the before and after boxes, including image tags which refer to any image, even an image on another domain. There’s also a [post_thumb] shortcode you can use to get the post’s featured image.

  16. Hi there, awesome plugin Kalin… really love the possibilities with this on my WP sites..

    One thing I was wondering was the ability to output vimeo links and images that are pulled to the rendered page via magic fields.. is there any scope to include this kind of data in the exported PDF at all?

    1. Okay, so I feel foolish here, but I downloaded and installed Magic Fields on my dev environment and have been going over the documentation for it and I just can’t figure out what it is this plugin does. It must be something important because it’s a popular plugin :)
      My guess was that it would add fields to my page/post edit screen for editing pre-defined custom fields, but I don’t see it doing anything like that.
      So I have no idea.
      Creation Station does have the ‘run other plugin shortcode/content filters’ options, but I’m not sure if Magic Fields uses those. There is also a [post_meta name=""] shortcode which you should be able to use to insert custom fields from a post.
      So question, is it only Video and images that don’t work with Magic Fields or is it everything?

      1. HI Kalin, thanks for responding.. Magic Fields is another way of creating Custom post types.. with the ability to create groups of fields and single fields.. and also allow those groups to be duplicated or single entries.. So you can attach additional tjhings like unique vimeo video attachments outside of the_content() block for cleanlyness.. You are able to add entries like this inside or outside of the loop on the posts.. get(‘my_magic_field’); and it will output the post type entry associated with that post or page… it’s very customiseable…. i’ve created very in depth portfolio pages with Magic Fields.. much better and more control over the content this way.. make sense? so if Creation Station can see custom post types then maye I just haven’t clicked the right button yet..

      2. Yeah, creation station should have custom post types at the very bottom of the post list on the tool page. I should probably double-check that that still all works properly, since I don’t use any custom post types myself (though I may convert my pages to something that supports categories and tags).

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KalinBooks.com is the ramblings of Kalin Ringkvist, a science fiction author with a passion for peace and freedom.