iText: An Open Source Innovation to Redefine PDF Documentation

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Gary Fry, CEO Open-source software is revolutionizing the software industry by making the programming source code available to anyone to use. This trend came in revolt to the proprietary software where an enterprise or owner copyrights the source code. The transparent nature of the ‘open-source’ has resulted in a thriving, community-driven software development ecosystem where people from anywhere in the world can contribute toward the project. As a result, open-source software is not only functionally rich but is constantly evolving and can take on the proprietary software easily. No wonder more companies are moving from proprietary software to open-source software. For instance, SSL technology powers the majority of e-commerce websites today. A Red Hat survey conducted in 2019 estimates that the usage of proprietary software and tools in enterprises will drop from 55 percent to 32 percent in 2020.

Bringing the power of open source technology to digital documents space is iText, a global leader in innovative PDF software. The company was founded in 2000 with the aim to fill the void for a tool that extracts information from databases to build PDFs. As no company was leveraging this business opportunity at that time, it provided a perfect ingress for iText. “Today, iText serves millions of users – both open source and commercial – around the world, including many of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as small organizations, and government agencies, helping them effortlessly create digital documents for a variety of purposes such as invoices, legal archiving, credit card statements, and more,” says Gary Fry, CEO of iText.

iText houses a suite of PDF solutions and products which are open-source. Its core product is a comprehensive PDF library that is enterprise-focused. It facilitates the client organizations’ software developers to build applications that process and manipulate PDF documents with less effort. So, instead of focusing on developing solutions, the developers can leverage the tool and shorten their product’s time-to-market. Thus, iText makes a developer’s life as easy as possible while providing a competitive advantage to the client.
On the other hand, iText helps clients develop digital document solutions without coding skills—fueling citizen developers trend. This is made possible by the company’s template engine called iText DITO that comes with ready-to-use templates. “Where a template that took about a fortnight for a user to build, with iText DITO, it could be done in just a matter of 45 minutes,” states Tony Van den Zegel, Chief Revenue Officer, iText.


When people want to develop something new, add functionalities, change the application, they know that iText is there to support them in the long term

iText, having efficiency, enterprise clause, and innovation as its takeaway messages, provides a complete proof of concept for its customers. Van den Zegel mentions that the customer can download iText from platforms such as GitHub, NuGet, Maven, and so on. In addition, iText focuses on offering the maximum documentation possible and has a large knowledge base on its website with hundreds of coding samples. Even a prospective customer or a community developer serving the code can download the complete code base, implement it in their application, and finish the work in just a few hours. Aimed to build or manipulate PDF files as fast and efficient as possible, iText does benchmark tests with its competitors and proves ten times faster. Providing such support to the data developer community, iText has earned around 6500 customers across the globe, with over 90 percent customer satisfaction rate.

iText is also a representative of Belgium in the PDF ISO committees and acquires insights into how PDF is evolving and even provides input on how it may evolve. With these insights, the company has developed the HTML to PDF functionality, where iText extracts the HTML content and makes rich PDF files. Another important focus of iText is to make PDF universally accessible to support section 508 of US law that seeks every citizen to understand the government documents. Considering visually challenged individuals, iText leverages an assistive technology that can interpret the document and facilitate them to understand.
Tony Van den Zegel, Chief Revenue OfficerFry considers iText’s open-source expertise is what sets it from the rest of the peers in the market. The company facilitates the free distribution of the code, creates a unique proposition for the customers, and permits the developers to access the code and use it. iText also invests heavily in its engineering team and the developers’ community. The company strictly adheres to the ISO standards, assuring the clients of quality products.

Van den Zegel recollects a success story of iText working with the Belgium government. Having realized that digital storage and distribution of information is the future, the government joined hands with iText to centralize their citizen certifications in one large digital database and make the process entirely electronic from start to finish. Through their partnership, iText analyzed that traditionally, in Belgium, local authorities held citizen information in different templates for creating every type of certificate. This system incurred a significant amount of administrative complexity and time waste as it demanded citizens to travel to their birthplace in order to access their certificate. And with the iText DITO template designer, the company stepped in and unified the certificates into a standardized format. It supported quick and easy updates to templates when content changes are required. iText DITO even ensured that the local authorities need not change their existing software by extracting the data, injecting it into the appropriate template, and then generating the required PDF certificate. As a result, the digital civil registry has come into operations, and all civil status records are now digitally created and recorded in a central database.

“When people want to develop something new, add functionalities, change the application, they know that iText is there to support them in the long term,” says Fry, marking the present success of iText. With the significant increase in digital document consumption in the COVID times, the company stands resilient and is embracing the change, yet continuing the best services to its clients across the globe.

Company
iText

Headquarters
Gent Zwijnaarde, Belgium

Management
Gary Fry, CEO and Tony Van den Zegel, Chief Revenue Officer

Description
Bringing the power of open source technology to digital documents space is iText, a global leader in innovative PDF software. The company was founded in 2000 with the aim to fill the void for a tool that extracts information from databases to build PDFs. iText houses a suite of PDF solutions and products which are open-source. Its core product is a comprehensive PDF library that is enterprise-focused. It facilitates the client organizations’ software developers to build applications that process and manipulate PDF documents with less effort. iText also helps clients develop digital document solutions without coding skills—fueling citizen developers trend