Monthly Archives: June 2015

[Review] Spire.Doc .NET library for cross-file format document creation

Most of the time developers waste their 90% of time thinking how to generate Office format documents. Perhaps, that is what is being used by most of the companies and developers right now. Microsoft Word, PDF, Rich Text Format and other similar formats are in high demand now a days.

Creating custom interoperability service is a very time-consuming, and a less efficient function when enterprise is the solution type for your application. Third-party applications provide us with a very good solution to such tasks, which can enable us to kick-start our applications in a matter of few minutes.

Spire.Doc (by E-Iceblue) is one of them. I have personally tried the software library for .NET framework and it is kind of a helpful tool for .NET developers (no matter whether you are a Windows Form, Windows Presentation Foundation or ASP.NET developer) for generating cross-file format files.

Note: By cross-file format I mean you can generate the output in a number of formats, file based (under files, this library supports PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML web pages, Rich Text Format and more), it also supports that you can generate images for your documents and to get the streams for your document resources.

Spire.Doc API

I have used Spire.Doc (and other connected APIs and namespaces) to give it a quick look and start. If someone has a great understanding of how these documents are, what a paragraph is and what can be added to different components.

The very much basic document in Microsoft Word would require only

  1. Single document object
  2. Single section to contain the data. This is also the page of your application’s document.
  3. A number of paragraphs, depending on whether and what you want to add to the document.
    The paragraph would allow you to add images or other stuff, such as text and characters; symbols in Unicode format you just need to pass the integer value for the Unicode character.
  4. Tables are also added to the section object, if required.

Spire.Doc namespace also allows you to save the document, in any number of format, ranging from PDFs to a wide variety of Microsoft Word formats.

Note for E-Iceblue developers

I have had a few intuition problems using the product, for a .NET developer, adding a new element to the current child hierarchy is something like this,

var element = new Element();
// Any properties or similar editions
parentElement.Children.Add(element);

Whereas, Spire.Doc supports adding the the objects to the document as,

var element = parentElement.AddChild();
// Child type is determined by the function called, AddParagraph, AddTable etc.
// Then element is edited out.

Perhaps, this is just my opinion and intuition problem. I would believe that most of the readers would not agree to me on this point. Also, the API guide is a good one, I loved it. But it lacks the description of the class that is open at the moment.

Few code samples for readers

Since review-only posts are not my style, so I would provide a few code samples to the readers also, as if to show how easy it is to use Spire.Doc library for their personal use. As, already mentioned this is a library to .NET framework, the library is consumable by every framework (although, E-Iceblue also ships the library in different versions, one for every framework on .NET).

The same code sample would work on Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, SilverLightASP.NET and (as I have tested it enormous times on) Console application.

Documentation of the Spire.Doc is available along with the package when you download it (and IMO it is a very much great and intuitive documentation, with a pretty much style as that of MSDN). You can always use the documentation application, to read the API and continue where you get stuck while developing the application.

Loading a new document

Loading the new document is similar whether you are trying to create a new document, or load it from an existing file. Spire.Doc provides you with constructors that can be used to initialize the Document object.

// First method, new document
var document = new Document(); // works

// Second method, existing document
var document = new Document("path", FileFormat.Docx);

In the above examples, there are two documents being generated (please ignore the document already exists in current context for a moment). First one is constructor used to generate a new document (perhaps for creating a new file), where as the second one is used to load existing file as a document object in your application. You can load files of any type discussed above.

Once loaded, you can then work with document to add new section, paragraph or other similar objects or to edit the existing objects in the document.

Editing the document

Editing the document is another key feature of this library, because it not only let you create new documents but also allows you to edit already existing documents and files; no matter what data type they hold. The key points are that you can edit the document (of any type) and save it (in any format).

You can add new paragraphs, or sections to your document which in turn allow you to add images and text to the document. (As already mentioned above) I do have a little problem with this process in Spire.Doc namespace, but still it is a great way of handle-oriented programmers, which have a great intuition for creating the object then saving the handle for further processes.

// Creating a document, adding a section and a new Paragraph
var document = new Document();

var section = document.AddSection();
// update the section, if required

var paragraph = section.AddParagraph();
// Update the paragraph, for example
paragraph.AppendText("Love for all, hatred for none!");
paragraph.AppendPicture(imageObject); // accepts System.Drawing.Image object

Now the above code is enough to generate a very much simple document, that has 1 section (page in document), and a very basic paragraph followed by an image; please look into Windows Forms image controls for more on the System.Drawing.Image object.

Saving the document

Final stage is saving the document on the file system, or processing it for further processes. Mostly, web developers would want to send dynamically generated Word or PDF files to their clients on run-time. Spire.Doc is a great way to complete this task.

Spire.Doc exposes functions to store the generated document in a couple of formats, you can use just one function, pass the type and you’re done! See below, (Continuing the previous example of document)

// Continuing from the previous example
document.SaveToFile("MyNewFile.pdf", FileFormat.PDF); // extension required

Above code would get the details from the document object, and would generate a PDF file with name MyNewFile. Um, you need to know that in this function you need to write the file extension also, otherwise it would generate a plain FILE in your file system.

Plus: Library also allows you to get results in Stream and Image formats. You should try them also!

Tested sample

The following code is a sample example of what I have discussed above (using the library for applications to generate PDFs and to send them to the clients on run-time using an SMTP server; for emails.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

using Spire.Doc;
using Spire.Doc.Documents;
using Spire.CompoundFile;

using System.Net;
using System.Net.Mail;

namespace SpireConsoleApplication
{
   class Program
   {
       static void Main(string[] args)
       {
          // Create the document
          var document = new Document();

          // Add a section to document
          var section = document.AddSection();
            
          // Add paragraph to the section
          var paragraph = section.AddParagraph();

          paragraph.AppendText("Love for all, hatred for none!");
          paragraph.AppendPicture(
              System.Drawing.Image.FromFile("E:\\j'[oj.jpg")
          );

          document.SaveToFile(".pdf", FileFormat.PDF);
          new Program().SendEmail(".pdf");
      }

      private void SendEmail(string fileName)
      {
         using (SmtpClient sc = new SmtpClient("smtp.gmail.com", 25))
         {
             sc.Credentials = new NetworkCredential("", "");
             sc.EnableSsl = true;

             var message = new MailMessage(
                "justin17862@gmail.com", "justin17862@gmail.com",
                "Spire.Doc PDF file", "Email contains the attachment."
             );

             message.Attachments.Add(new Attachment(fileName));
             sc.Send(message);
         }
      }
   }
}

The above program would generate the PDF, and then send the PDF to the client; which is hard-coded in this example, you can use variables for giving out emails to the clients required.

The email was received,

The email with attachment generated on run-time in PDF format using Spire.Doc library.

The email with attachment generated on run-time in PDF format using Spire.Doc library.

Perhaps, this now shows how simple it was to use the library to generate run-time PDF documents and send them to client; yes, I love Cut the Rope game and the Om Nom character so I used his (or its perhaps, or maybe hers… Whatever) picture to be sent. The library can be used in WPF, Windows Forms, ASP.NET or other .NET framework applications, to generate the files on run-time, then they can be sent to the clients, opened as files on the desktop or shown to the users. I have personally enjoyed using it, ignore the intuition problems that I mentioned. 🙂

Pro tip: You can convert the Microsoft Word document to HTML format to show it in your web application also. So it solves the “How to show Microsoft word document in website” problem also.

Note: I did not use the license, you should use the license in order to remove the red watermark on the documents.

Review Excerpt

I would quote what I was saying to myself (while I was using the library to test the quality):

Spire.Doc is a very fast and efficient solution to enterprise applications for generating office documents in desktop and web applications on .NET framework. It removes the pain of interoperability from minds of .NET developers and provides a very agile solution to developers. A very much easy, recommended and efficient solution for cross-file format document generation.

References

The library is available on E-Iceblue’s website, you can also install the packages by executing the NuGet command in NuGet package manager console.

PM> Install-Package Spire.Doc

The packages (and other others by E-Iceblue for PDF and Excel based solutions) are available on the E-Iceblue’s account on NuGet.

You can also download the product from their website to use them in your own applications. I would leave the rest of application and resource up to you. Happy coding! 🙂

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Handling events in WPF in an easy and short hand way

I would talk about the WPF events and how to handle them easily, perhaps you might already know how to handle them; XAML gives you a lot of good handy functions, but there are a lot of other good ways of doing the same.

Events in WPF

Events in WPF are similar to what we had in Console and Windows Forms. They provide us with notifications and procedures to handle the business logic based on what state of application is. They allow us to manage what to happen when the application is starting, what to do when the application is closing and when the user interacts with the application.

Interaction includes the button clicks, input value change, window resize and many other similar processes that can be handled to ensure that our business logic is always applied. Validation and other checks can be easily applied to check the values.

Handling the events

Although handling the events is another function, thus we require a function to perform (or get triggered) when a certain event is triggered.

Note: Please note that I would be using Visual C# for this article’s purpose, it would be different as to what VB.NET would provide you as intuition and library resource, so try to follow Visual C# and not VB.NET at the moment.

In C#, you can handle the event, by attaching a function to it. It is similar to say, “When this happens, do that“. You tell your application to perform an action when something happens. The similar action is perform when a new email is received in your email clients, or when download is complete; if notification gets raised for that download complete. The attachment of the event to another function is pretty much simple, the only thing to worry is the required dependencies (the parameters or values or objects required to handle the event).

Look at the following code,

<Button Click="handleEvent">Click me</Button>

The above code is a XAML code (remember we are in WPF), the function to handle the event would be like this,

void handleEvent(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e) {
   // 1. sender is the Button object, cast it
   // 2. e contains the related properties for the Click
   // Code here... Any code!
}

Now, the function handleEvent is attached to the Click event of the Button object. Remember that event needs to be raised in order to trigger that function.

Pretty much easy it is to handle the events in WPF, just embed the code in the XAML markup, and Visual Studio would generate the back-end code. Write what you want to be done and you’re good to go!

Using back-end code

As, you know you can do anything with back-end code. You can also attach the event handler to the control’s event using the back-end code. In this section, I would explain how can you do that using back-end code.

Since we used Button for previous example, I would use the same for this one. Attaching the event is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

button.Click += handleEvent; // 1

void handleEvent(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e) { // 2
   // Handle the event
}

Step 3 is the click event that is performed by the user. 😉

Easy isn’t it? (IMO, it is not! Look in the next section to make it even better!)

Simple way…

This section is the actual section, which I wanted to talk about. The simple way to handle the events in WPF. It uses the lambda expression, to generate the delegate functions which in turn are executed when the event gets raised. If you are unclear as to what lambda expression or delegate functions are, I would suggest that before continuing, you learn them from the links I have provided. 🙂

A very simple way (IMO) to handle the event in WPF is like this,

myButton.Click += (sender, e) => 
{
   // Handle the event
}

Notice the above expressions. It is a simple lambda expression, being resolved as a delegate function with two paramters (sender and e). The parameters are required by the event handler itself, so that is why we need to pass them.

Points of Interest

The above is the simplest way anyone can handle the event in WPF and is a very much short hand, because you leave everything to the context of the object itself. You skip one more step for casting the object, you also don’t have to create different functions with different appended names such as, “myButton_Click”, “myButton_MouseEnter”. All you need to do is just create a lambda expression and use it as the event handler. Pretty much simple isn’t it?

That’s all for now. 🙂 I hope, I might have helped you out in making programming WPF applications easier. I would post more of such helpful tips for WPF developers soon. 🙂 Stay tuned.