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Guides
Deployment options

Deployment options for WebViewer

There are three main options for deploying WebViewer.

Client only

Using the client only mode allows you to view, edit, and manipulate PDF and Office documents directly in the client without a conversion step on a server. WebViewer takes advantage of the latest browser technologies (like WebAssembly) to render and manipulate documents completely on the client side.

Since no work is being done on a server, this allows you to easily scale up the number of concurrent users without paying for more servers. The trade off is that performance is dependent on a user's local machine and a limited set of filetypes can be viewed.

Recommended forNot recommended for
  • Scaling WebViewer to multiple users without additional servers
  • Viewing most common document formats
  • Rendering more large and/or complex documents
  • Supporting lower-powered browsers/devices
This option is recommended if you are looking to process documents directly in a modern browser and/or rendering PDF, PNG, JPG, or Office documents.
Please check out our usage guide to get started!

Full PDFTron API

The full PDFTron API is also available on the client side and includes all of the native PDFTron API functions. This API can be used to process documents outside of the viewer as seen in these samples .

To enable this API when using the viewer pass in the fullAPI option to the WebViewer constructor. For example:

WebViewer({
  licenseKey: 'Insert commercial license key here after purchase',
  initialDoc: 'YOUR_FILE.pdf',
  fullAPI: true
}, viewerElement);

The reason this option needs to be specified is because the scripts required to be downloaded for the full API are ~2-3 times larger than what is required for the viewer only. If you only want to view PDF documents and won't take advantage of the other PDFTron functions then you shouldn't pass the fullAPI option.

See more information about the full API here .

WebViewer Server (Docker container)

WebViewer Server is an optional, easy drop-in backend for WebViewer that offers responsive viewing and compatibility across all client platforms (including mobile), along with scaling performance that approaches purely client-side solutions. It works hand-in-hand with WebViewer on the client, initially serving images then transitioning to client-side rendering. You can quickly get it set up and running in seconds with our Docker Compose script.

See the WebViewer Server guide for more information.

Recommended forNot recommended for
  • Adding quick, easy support for various browsers/devices
  • Rendering large and/or complex files
  • Viewing a wider variety of file formats
  • Deploying with limited hardware resources
  • Managing additional servers/networks
This option is recommended if you are targeting Internet Explorer or mobile devices, or if you need to support more file formats than client only supports.

Custom server

You can also choose to configure your own server and not use our packaged backend. This offers flexibility and control, allowing you to preprocess documents prior to loading them in WebViewer. You create a server that converts your documents into a web optimized XPS file, called XOD, and provide them to WebViewer. By converting a wide range of document formats to XOD, WebViewer is able to deliver consistent results in viewing different document types.

See custom server guide for more information.

Recommended forNot recommended for
  • Customizing document processing flows
  • Introducing additional formats with third party libraries
  • Managing additional custom code
  • Working with limited file format knowledge
This approach offers similar benefits to WebViewer Server in terms of performance and file format support, with more flexibility in terms of document processing on the server side.

Comparison

Browsers

Note that although client only mode runs in Internet Explorer and mobile devices it is generally only recommended for modern browsers and more powerful devices.

Client onlyWebViewer ServerCustom server
Chrome
Firefox
Safari
Edge
Internet Explorer*10+9+9+
Android Chrome59+
Mobile Safari11+
*IE's JavaScript engine is slow compared to more modern browsers and this can impact the performance of client only rendering

File formats

PDF

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
PDF (1.x to 2.0)
PDF/A 1,2,3
XFDF
FDF

Office

Requires Office to PDF Conversion Add-on

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
DOC
DOCX
XLS
XLSX
PPT
PPTX
VSD
VSDX
PUBWindows + Office*

* Custom Server PUB are only supported via Office Interop (MS Office instance needs to be installed)

CAD

Requires CAD Conversion Add-on

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
DWG
DWF
DXF
DGN
RVT✓*✓*

* RVT is only supported on Windows

Image

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
SVG
BMP
WMF
EMF
GIF
JPG
JP2, JPC
PNG
JFIF
TIF✓**
AAI✓*✓*
ARW✓*✓*
CR2✓*✓*
CRW✓*✓*
CUR, ICO✓*✓*
DCM✓*✓*
DCR✓*✓*
DDS✓*✓*
HEIC, HEIF✓*✓*
MRW✓*✓*
NEF✓*✓*
ORF✓*✓*
PICT✓*✓*
PFM✓*✓*
PSB, PSD✓*✓*
RAF✓*✓*

* Using the PDFTron Advanced imaging module
** See here for how to view tiff files on the client side

Video

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
MP4
OGG
WEBM

* Video formats are supported via separate WebViewer Video build

Audio

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
MP3
WAV
OGG
FLAC

* Audio formats are supported via separate WebViewer Audio build

Other

Requires Convert Add-on

FormatClient onlyWebViewer ServerCustom Server
RTFWindows Only
ODTWindows Only
ODSWindows Only
ODPWindows Only
HTML
MSGWindows + Office*
EML
TXT
XPS
XOD**
XAMLUsing .NET

* Custom Server MSG are only supported via Outlook Interop (MS Outlook instance needs to be installed)

* You can find the sample for EML to PDF conversion and attachment conversion on our GitHub.

** XOD is available on all platforms but viewing encrypted XOD is only supported for Web

Features

Client onlyWebViewer ServerCustom server
Viewing
Search
UI Customization
Annotate
Forms
e-Signature
Rasterization and Printing
Content Extraction
Document Creation
Page Manipulation
Document Compare
PDF Layers (OCGs)
Color Separation
Digital Signatures
Low-level Document Editing
Bookmarks
Content Replacer
Security
Office to PDF Conversion
CAD Conversion
Redaction
PDF/A Generation
Optimizer
Flattener

Get the answers you need: Support

Upcoming Webinar: SDK Features Preview and Live Run-Through | July 14, 2022 at 11 am PT

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