December 2012

It's the Sock of the Month Club's first Christmas. We weren't prepared for our customers demands. Here's the problem we like to have one shipment date a month, but our customers want to sign up anytime and have their Christmas gifts arrive before Christmas day. I came up with a two part solution to deal with this for next year. The first part is simple plan the December shipment date closer to Christmas Day. The second part was to design this Membership Certificate: so customers have something nice to give on Christmas.

How I made the pdf is what's interesting. The certificate might tell you I don't have a design background, I don't know photoshop and I didn't spend time finding a designer. But I've done some web development so I know my way around HTML and CSS. I knew I was capable of making a web page membership certificate, but I needed a pdf for customers to print. I knew there must be a way to use webkit to render html files into a graphical file format. I found this open source project: wkhtmltopdf. I recommend it to anyone trying to do HTML to PDF conversions. I decided to use my knowledge of HTML and CSS and wkhtmltopdf to make the pdf. My workflow was simple make small changes to the HTML and CSS then run the wkhtmltopdf command line script to rerender the pdf. HTML and CSS are built to make visual pages. It's logical that they'd also be a good language for constructing a pdf. So for all you web developers that don't want to learn Photoshop and need to make a pdf give this workflow a try. I think there's a good idea here for a software application. A simple GUI that would display the text and the rendered pdf. It would automatically rerender the pdf when you made slight changes to the HTML and CSS.