Printing InfoPath 2007 Web-Based Forms to PDF
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by S.Y.M. Wong-A-Ton
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Creating an ASP.NET Page to Print a Form to PDF

The same way you added the ASP.NET page to host a form in the article Hosting the InfoPath 2007 Form Editing Environment in a Custom Web Form, you can add an ASP.NET page to print a form to PDF. You do not have to add any controls to the web form, but must remember to set the EnableSessionState property of the web form to True.

The ASP.NET page that prints the form to PDF must first retrieve the XML of the form that you previously saved in the Session variable, extract data from this XML, and use the data to generate a PDF file. Please note that the Session variable is used here as a way to pass data between two web pages, that is, the page that hosts the form and the page that prints the form. You can choose to do the printing directly from the page that hosts the form, in which case you do not need to use a Session variable or a separate page to print the form to PDF.

Once you have retrieved the XML of the form, you can convert it to PDF using any suitable library that can generate PDF files. The example in this article uses a library named iTextSharp to generate a PDF file using data that is extracted from the XML of a form. To use the iTextSharp library, you must add a reference to the iTextSharp DLL to your web project. The discussion of using iTextSharp to generate PDF files is beyond the scope of this article, but you are encouraged to consult the online documentation should you want to use it in your own projects. In addition, the code to convert XML to PDF has been kept simple for clarity reasons, but with additional effort or use of another PDF library, you can produce more personalized and professional looking PDF documents.

You must import the namespaces shown in Listing 3 and use the code in Listing 4 to retrieve the XML of the form from the Session variable and then convert this XML to PDF. Place this code in the code-behind of the ASP.NET page that prints the form and replace the "my" namespace with the appropriate value for your own form template.

Important
The code shown in Listing 4 uses the InfoPathAttachmentDecoder class described in the article How to encode and decode a file attachment programmatically by using Visual C# in InfoPath to decode the Base64 encoded string of the attachment and convert it into a byte array.

Do not forget to reset the IIS service after you have built your project so that your changes will take effect on your SharePoint server.

Listing 3: Namespaces to import

using System.Text;
using System.IO;
using System.Xml;
using System.Security.Cryptography;
using iTextSharp.text;
using iTextSharp.text.pdf;

Listing 4: Code in Page_Load event handler of the ASP.NET page that prints a form to PDF

// Retrieve XML of InfoPath form from Session variable
string xml = Session["XmlForm"].ToString();
 
// Load XML of InfoPath form into an XmlDocument object
XmlDocument xmlForm = new XmlDocument();
xmlForm.LoadXml(xml);
 
// Add the 'my' namespace of the form to an XmlNamespaceManager object
XmlNamespaceManager xmlNameSpaceMgr =
                new XmlNamespaceManager(
                new NameTable());
xmlNameSpaceMgr.AddNamespace("my",
   "http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/infopath/2003/myXSD/2007-10-02T08:59:49");
 
// Retrieve the values of the InfoPath form fields using XPath
string name = xmlForm.SelectSingleNode("/my:myFields/my:name", 
    xmlNameSpaceMgr).InnerText;
string date = xmlForm.SelectSingleNode("/my:myFields/my:date", 
    xmlNameSpaceMgr).InnerText;
string photo = xmlForm.SelectSingleNode("/my:myFields/my:photo", 
    xmlNameSpaceMgr).InnerText;
XmlNodeList islands = xmlForm.SelectNodes(
    "/my:myFields/my:group1/my:group2/my:island", 
    xmlNameSpaceMgr);

 // Using iTextSharp to construct a PDF document
// Create a document-object
Document document = new Document(PageSize.A4);
 
// Create a writer that listens to the document
// and directs a XML-stream to a MemoryStream
using (MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream())
{
    PdfWriter.GetInstance(document, ms);
 
    document.Open();
 
    Font defaultFont = FontFactory.GetFont(
        FontFactory.HELVETICA, 10, Font.NORMAL);
    Font labelFont = FontFactory.GetFont(
        FontFactory.HELVETICA, 10, Font.BOLD);
 
    // Add name
    Paragraph paragraph = new Paragraph(15F);
    paragraph.Add(new Chunk("Name: ", labelFont));
    paragraph.Add(new Chunk(name, defaultFont));
    document.Add(paragraph);
 
    // Add date
    paragraph = new Paragraph(15F);
    paragraph.Add(new Chunk("Date: ", labelFont));
    paragraph.Add(new Chunk(date, defaultFont));
    document.Add(paragraph);
 
    // Add image
    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(photo))
    {
        InfoPathAttachmentDecoder dec =
            new InfoPathAttachmentDecoder(photo);
         byte[] attachment = dec.DecodedAttachment;
         iTextSharp.text.Image image =
             iTextSharp.text.Image.GetInstance(attachment);
         document.Add(image);
    }
 
    // Add islands
    iTextSharp.text.Table table = new iTextSharp.text.Table(1);
    table.Alignment = 0;
    table.Cellpadding = 2F;
    table.Width = 50F;
    table.AddCell(new Cell(new Chunk("Islands", labelFont)));
    for (int i = 0; i < islands.Count; i++)
    {
        table.AddCell(new Cell(
            new Chunk(islands[i].InnerText, defaultFont)));
    }
    document.Add(table);
 
    document.Close();
 
    // Return the InfoPath form as an PDF document
    byte[] data = ms.ToArray();
    Response.Clear();
    Response.ClearHeaders();
    Response.ClearContent();
    Response.Buffer = true;
    Response.ContentType = "application/pdf";
    Response.BinaryWrite(data);
    Response.End();
 
    ms.Close();
}

The PDF document shown in Figure 5 is the result of the conversion of the XML of the filled-out InfoPath form shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: The filled-out InfoPath form in Internet Explorer

Figure 5: The generated PDF document in Internet Explorer


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