A SaaS for the highly regulated US firearm dealer record management
Developing and generating custom PDF documents that satisfy business can get tricky. Quite often, developers and IT companies get bogged down in understanding document publishing in general and the PDF standards and intricacies. Finally, many existing PDF generation libraries on the market overcomplicate the development process with less than user-friendly APIs.
That’s why over the past few years we have developed one of the most powerful, yet easy to use PDF generation libraries on the market that simplifies the process of PDF creation for .NET developers. Efficient and precise generation of PDF documents is one of the recurring problems we faced in our own projects at Gehtsoft, both for our internal and client’s products. We developed our own PDF generation library, PDFFlow, to solve this problem for ourselves, as well as our clients and the wider development community.
Today we share with you the success of one of our clients, A&D Book by FFL.digital, and how they came about our product and what were the challenges they set out to overcome.
As a result of outsourcing the PDF generation functionality to the PDFFlow team, we greatly reduced the time and effort required for our own development team, moreover, we are very happy with the quick, very affordable, and high-quality final result provided by the PDFFlow team
- Eli Guzman, FFL.digital Product Manager
A&D Book is a new generation FFL (Federal Firearm License) Acquisition and Disposition Book management software that simplifies and automates firearms record keeping for firearms dealers in the US. It helps the dealers become and stay ATF compliant in an efficient, secure and easy way.
One of the key features of the software is generation of printouts that are highly regulated - the so-called Bound Book. Unfortunately, when we started tackling this feature, we realized that our development team wasn’t able to quickly and easily develop this PDF report in with the existing libraries on the market and coding this complex document from scratch without a capable library to do all the heavy lifting was prohibitive for us, both in terms of time and budget. Plainly speaking, we couldn’t afford to develop this key feature on our own. What we needed was a quick solution for generating a highly dynamic book of records report that is spread across multiple pages horizontally and is pixel-perfect. After studying possible solutions on the market we came across the PDFFlow library that seemed to do this out of the box and with minimal development effort required
Originally we considered developing our own PDF generation solution based on the existing third party libraries, including the open source ones. However, we discovered that this approach would take more effort than we could afford for this feature. Some research and basic feature comparison among the third party libraries showed that PDFFlow was the more suitable solution for our problem, especially, because of the Multipage Spread Table feature that we absolutely needed for the Bound Book printouts.
The two most important factors for us were time and budget. What we were looking for was a quick and professional solution to get the Bound Book feature fully developed and in production. Working with the Gehtsoft PDFFlow team saved us from wasting time on either writing .NET C# code on our own, or going with a 3rd party library that, in the end, would not allow us to meet our requirements easily, or at all.
We had a tough deadline to meet and there was a significant risk of not being able to deliver the feature on time. Our development team didn’t not have sufficient expertise in PDF development, so we relied on outsourcing this part to the PDFFlow developers. After a couple of quick calls with the PDFFlow team to discuss the requirements, we sent the data and design examples to them, and had a complete developed solution delivered to us less than a week later. All we needed to do was integrate the code into our application. The entire process was seamless and we didn’t hit any snags.
We initially approached the PDFFlow team and discussed the problem at hand and the feature requirements for the project. When it boiled down to it, all we had to do was to submit a request, have a call with the team clarifying the requirements, answer a few additional questions, and send the design and the sample data to them. We had the packaged code delivered to us in less than a week. We then requested some minor changes and wrapped the whole project in less than two weeks.
We don’t currently deal with the code development for PDFs in our team, as we outsourced that part to the PDFFlow team. We could focus completely on the core features of A&D Book and not worry about the intricacies of PDFs. The library and the code the team wrote utilizing it just works generating tens of thousands of pages in PDF documents for our customers. Additionally, the PDFFlow development team got the designs we sent them just right -- something we would have struggled with implementing on our own.
We needed to generate complex PDF documents in C# and, by own own estimations, it would have taken our development team close to a month to write code ourselves.. By offloading this part to the PDFFlow team, we saved our own developers’ time, which allowed them to concentrate on other core features.
One of the reasons we choose working with PDFFlow over competitors is that we needed data tables that span multiple pages horizontally in the bound book printout, and this is something PDFFlow does perfectly. I don’t think the other products on the market do this “natively”. Additionally, PDFFlow makes it very easy to create nested tables, something that use extensively as well.
But what made this project so effective, is that, we didn’t even have to deal with all the intricacies of publishing or document creation, or the PDF standards, as we outsourced this part to the PDFFlow team, taking advantage of their flat-rate PDF document code generation offer. So, compared to other PDF generation platforms, libraries or SDKs, PDFFlow made the most sense for us with their flat-rate custom development service and the fixed cost server licensing model.
Absolutely! Initially we looked at, and tested a few other solutions that at first seemed to match our criteria, but we ended up filtering quite a few of them out really early on, as they would either not meet our technical requirements, or were too costly to operate or develop with. PDFFlow had all the features we needed, and would need in the future iterations of the A&D Book product, and we were happy with the fixed cost server licensing as well as the custom development they offered to us. We are more than happy to recommend both the PDFFlow library and the PDFFlow team to anybody looking for a comprehensive PDF generation solution in C#.