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pdf-bot

0.6.1 • Public • Published

🤖 pdf-bot

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Easily create a microservice for generating PDFs using headless Chrome.

pdf-bot is installed on a server and will receive URLs to turn into PDFs through its API or CLI. pdf-bot will manage a queue of PDF jobs. Once a PDF job has run it will notify you using a webhook so you can fetch the API. pdf-bot supports storing PDFs on S3 out of the box. Failed PDF generations and Webhook pings will be retried after a configurable decaying schedule.

How to use the pdf-bot CLI

pdf-bot uses html-pdf-chrome under the hood and supports all the settings that it supports. Major thanks to @westy92 for making this possible.

How does it work?

Imagine you have an app that creates invoices. You want to save those invoices as PDF. You install pdf-bot on a server as an API. Your app server sends the URL of the invoice to the pdf-bot server. A cronjob on the pdf-bot server keeps checking for new jobs, generates a PDF using headless Chrome and sends the location back to the application server using a webhook.

Prerequisites

  • Node.js v6 or later

Installation

$ npm install -g pdf-bot
$ pdf-bot install

Make sure the node path is in your $PATH

pdf-bot install will prompt for some basic configurations and then create a storage folder where your database and pdf files will be saved.

Configuration

pdf-bot comes packaged with sensible defaults. At the very minimum you must have a config file in the same folder from which you are executing pdf-bot with a storagePath given. However, in reality what you probably want to do is use the pdf-bot install command to generate a configuration file and then use an alias ALIAS pdf-bot = "pdf-bot -c /home/pdf-bot.config.js"

pdf-bot.config.js

var htmlPdf = require('html-pdf-chrome')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'crazy-secret'
  },
  generator: {
    completionTrigger: new htmlPdf.CompletionTrigger.Timer(1000) // 1 sec timeout
  },
  storagePath: 'storage'
}
$ pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js push https://esbenp.github.io

See a full list of the available configuration options.

Usage guide

Structure and concept

pdf-bot is meant to be a microservice that runs a server to generate PDFs for you. That usually means you will send requests from your application server to the PDF server to request an url to be generated as a PDF. pdf-bot will manage a queue and retry failed generations. Once a job is successfully generated a path to it will be sent back to your application server.

Let us check out the flow for an app that generates PDF invoices.

1. (App server): An invoice is created ----> Send URL to invoice to pdf-bot server
2. (pdf-bot server): Put the URL in the queue
3. (pdf-bot server): PDF is generated using headless Chrome
4. (pdf-bot server): (if failed try again using 1 min, 3 min, 10 min, 30 min, 60 min delay)
5. (pdf-bot server): Upload PDF to storage (e.g. Amazon S3)
6. (pdf-bot server): Send S3 location of PDF back to the app server
7. (App server): Receive S3 location of PDF -> Check signature sum matches for security
8. (App server): Handle PDF however you see fit (move it, download it, save it etc.)

You can send meta data to the pdf-bot server that will be sent back to the application. This can help you identify what PDF you are receiving.

Setup

On your pdf-bot server start by creating a config file pdf-bot.config.js. You can see an example file here

pdf-bot.config.js

module.exports = {
  api: {
    port: 3000,
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  storage: {
    's3': createS3Config({
      bucket: '',
      accessKeyId: '',
      region: '',
      secretAccessKey: ''
    })
  },
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

As a minimum you should configure an access token for your API. This will be used to authenticate jobs sent to your pdf-bot server. You also need to add a webhook configuration to have pdf notifications sent back to your application server. You should add a secret that will be used to generate a signature used to check that the request has not been tampered with during transfer.

Start your API using

pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js api

This will start an express server that listens for new jobs on port 3000.

Setting up Chrome

pdf-bot uses html-pdf-chrome which in turns uses chrome-launcher to launch chrome. You should check out those two resources on how to properly setup Chrome. However, with chrome-launcher Chrome should be started automatically. Otherwise, html-pdf-chrome has a small guide on how to have it running as a process using pm2.

You can install chrome on Ubuntu using

sudo apt-get update && apt-get install chromium-browser

If you are testing things on OSX or similar, chrome-launcher should be able to find and automatically startup Chrome for you.

Setting up the receiving API

In the examples folder there is a small example on how the application API could look. Basically, you just have to define an endpoint that will receive the webhook and check that the signature matches.

api.post('/hook', function (req, res) {
  var signature = req.get('X-PDF-Signature', 'sha1=')
 
  var bodyCrypted = require('crypto')
    .createHmac('sha1', '12345')
    .update(JSON.stringify(req.body))
    .digest('hex')
 
  if (bodyCrypted !== signature) {
    res.status(401).send()
    return
  }
 
  console.log('PDF webhook received', JSON.stringify(req.body))
 
  res.status(204).send()
})

Setup production environment

Follow the guide under production/ to see how to setup pdf-bot using pm2 and nginx

Setup crontab

We setup our crontab to continuously look for jobs that have not yet been completed.

* * * * * node $(npm bin -g)/pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js shift:all >> /var/log/pdfbot.log 2>&1
* * * * * node $(npm bin -g)/pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js ping:retry-failed >> /var/log/pdfbot.log 2>&1

Quick example using the CLI

Let us assume I want to generate a PDF for https://esbenp.github.io. I can add the job using the pdf-bot CLI.

$ pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js push https://esbenp.github.io --meta '{"id":1}'

Next, if my crontab is not setup to run it automatically I can run it using the shift:all command

$ pdf-bot -c ./pdf-bot.config.js shift:all

This will look for the oldest uncompleted job and run it.

How can I generate PDFs for sites that use Javascript?

This is a common issue with PDF generation. Luckily, html-pdf-chrome has a really awesome API for dealing with Javascript. You can specify a timeout in milliseconds, wait for elements or custom events. To add a wait simply configure the generator key in your configuration. Below are a few examples.

Wait for 5 seconds

var htmlPdf = require('html-pdf-chrome')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  // html-pdf-chrome options
  generator: {
    completionTrigger: new htmlPdf.CompletionTrigger.Timer(5000), // waits for 5 sec
  },
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

Wait for event

var htmlPdf = require('html-pdf-chrome')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  // html-pdf-chrome options
  generator: {
    completionTrigger: new htmlPdf.CompletionTrigger.Event(
      'myEvent', // name of the event to listen for
      '#myElement', // optional DOM element CSS selector to listen on, defaults to body
      5000 // optional timeout (milliseconds)
    )
  },
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

In your Javascript trigger the event when rendering is complete

document.getElementById('myElement').dispatchEvent(new CustomEvent('myEvent'));

Wait for variable

var htmlPdf = require('html-pdf-chrome')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  // html-pdf-chrome options
  generator: {
    completionTrigger: new htmlPdf.CompletionTrigger.Variable(
      'myVarName', // optional, name of the variable to wait for.  Defaults to 'htmlPdfDone'
      5000 // optional, timeout (milliseconds)
    )
  },
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

In your Javascript set the variable when the rendering is complete

window.myVarName = true;

You can find more completion triggers in html-pdf-chrome's documentation

API

Below are given the endpoints that are exposed by pdf-server's REST API

Push URL to queue: POST /

key type required description
url string yes The URL to generate a PDF from
meta object Optional meta data object to send back to the webhook url

Example

curl -X POST -H 'Authorization: Bearer api-token' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://pdf-bot.com/ -d '
  {
    "url":"https://esbenp.github.io",
    "meta":{
      "type":"invoice",
      "id":1
    }
  }'

Database

LowDB (file-database) (default)

If you have low conurrency (run a job every now and then) you can use the default database driver that uses LowDB.

var LowDB = require('pdf-bot/src/db/lowdb')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  db: LowDB({
    lowDbOptions: {},
    path: '' // defaults to $storagePath/db/db.json
  }),
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

PostgreSQL

var pgsql = require('pdf-bot/src/db/pgsql')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  db: pgsql({
    database: 'pdfbot',
    username: 'pdfbot',
    password: 'pdfbot',
    port: 5432
  }),
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

Optionally, you can specify a database url by specifying a connectionString.

To install the necessary database tables, run db:migrate. You can also destroy the database by running db:destroy.

Storage

Currently pdf-bot comes bundled with build-in support for storing PDFs on Amazon S3.

Feel free to contribute a PR if you want to see other storage plugins in pdf-bot!

Amazon S3

To install S3 storage add a key to the storage configuration. Notice, you can add as many different locations you want by giving them different keys.

var createS3Config = require('pdf-bot/src/storage/s3')
 
module.exports = {
  api: {
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  storage: {
    'my_s3': createS3Config({
      bucket: '[YOUR BUCKET NAME]',
      accessKeyId: '[YOUR ACCESS KEY ID]',
      region: '[YOUR REGION]',
      secretAccessKey: '[YOUR SECRET ACCESS KEY]'
    })
  },
  webhook: {
    secret: '1234',
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}
 

Options

var decaySchedule = [
  1000 * 60, // 1 minute
  1000 * 60 * 3, // 3 minutes
  1000 * 60 * 10, // 10 minutes
  1000 * 60 * 30, // 30 minutes
  1000 * 60 * 60 // 1 hour
];
 
module.exports = {
  // The settings of the API
  api: {
    // The port your express.js instance listens to requests from. (default: 3000)
    port: 3000,
    // Spawn command when a job has been pushed to the API
    postPushCommand: ['/home/user/.npm-global/bin/pdf-bot', ['-c', './pdf-bot.config.js', 'shift:all']],
    // The token used to validate requests to your API. Not required, but 100% recommended.
    token: 'api-token'
  },
  db: LowDB(), // see other drivers under Database
  // html-pdf-chrome
  generator: {
    // Triggers that specify when the PDF should be generated
    completionTrigger: new htmlPdf.CompletionTrigger.Timer(1000), // waits for 1 sec
    // The port to listen for Chrome (default: 9222)
    port: 9222
  },
  queue: {
    // How frequent should pdf-bot retry failed generations?
    // (default: 1 min, 3 min, 10 min, 30 min, 60 min)
    generationRetryStrategy: function(job, retries) {
      return decaySchedule[retries - 1] ? decaySchedule[retries - 1] : 0
    },
    // How many times should pdf-bot try to generate a PDF?
    // (default: 5)
    generationMaxTries: 5,
    // How many generations to run at the same time when using shift:all
    parallelism: 4,
    // How frequent should pdf-bot retry failed webhook pings?
    // (default: 1 min, 3 min, 10 min, 30 min, 60 min)
    webhookRetryStrategy: function(job, retries) {
      return decaySchedule[retries - 1] ? decaySchedule[retries - 1] : 0
    },
    // How many times should pdf-bot try to ping a webhook?
    // (default: 5)
    webhookMaxTries: 5
  },
  storage: {
    's3': createS3Config({
      bucket: '',
      accessKeyId: '',
      region: '',
      secretAccessKey: ''
    })
  },
  webhook: {
    // The prefix to add to all pdf-bot headers on the webhook response.
    // I.e. X-PDF-Transaction and X-PDF-Signature. (default: X-PDF-)
    headerNamespace: 'X-PDF-',
    // Extra request options to add to the Webhook ping.
    requestOptions: {
 
    },
    // The secret used to generate the hmac-sha1 signature hash.
    // !Not required, but should definitely be included!
    secret: '1234',
    // The endpoint to send PDF messages to.
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/webhooks/pdf'
  }
}

CLI

pdf-bot comes with a full CLI included! Use -c to pass a configuration to pdf-bot. You can also use --help to get a list of all commands. An example is given below.

$ pdf-bot.js --config ./examples/pdf-bot.config.js --help
 
 
  Usage: pdf-bot [options] [command]
 
 
  Options:
 
    -V, --version        output the version number
    -c, --config <path>  Path to configuration file
    -h, --help           output usage information
 
 
  Commands:
 
    api                   Start the API
    db:migrate
    db:destroy
    install
    generate [jobID]      Generate PDF for job
    jobs [options]        List all completed jobs
    ping [jobID]          Attempt to ping webhook for job
    ping:retry-failed
    pings [jobId]         List pings for a job
    purge [options]       Will remove all completed jobs
    push [options] [url]  Push new job to the queue
    shift                 Run the next job in the queue
    shift:all             Run all unfinished jobs in the queue

Debug mode

pdf-bot uses debug for debug messages. You can turn on debugging by setting the environment variable DEBUG=pdf:* like so

DEBUG=pdf:* pdf-bot jobs

Tests

$ npm run test

Issues

Please report issues to the issue tracker

License

The MIT License (MIT). Please see License File for more information.

Keywords

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Install

npm i pdf-bot

DownloadsWeekly Downloads

4

Version

0.6.1

License

MIT

Unpacked Size

60.7 kB

Total Files

15

Last publish

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