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How to run JPDFForms on the Layershift Jelastic Cloud

This tutorial explains how to setup the IDRsolutions JPDF2HTML5 converter or the JPDFForms converter on a Cloud service with a simple example. Both products utilize the same api and will be interchangable in the web application that we will create. The only difference will be which jar file you will use. This application will let you upload a file, convert that file into a HTML page and then will provide a link so that you can see the HTML page. It will be using the JPDF2HTML5-trial.jar which you can download here or the JPDFForms trial jar which you can request from here.

What you will need to have done before you start:

  • Completed my previous tutorial: ‘How to use the Jelastic Cloud with the NetBeans IDE’ to set up your Azure account and create a web application instance on a Tomcat server. You need to have these steps completed before starting this tutorial. The previous tutorial will also show you how to set up NetBeans in order to test your application locally before you deploy it.
  • Downloaded either the JPDF2HTML5 trial jar from here or requested the JPDFForms trial jar from here

Create a new project

First lets create a Web application in NetBeans. Right click in your Projects window and select New Project. Then choose the Java Web categories Web Application project. Click Next and give the project a meaningful name like PDF2HTML5Converter.


On the Server and Settings screen you should select your Tomcat server that you created in the previous tutorial. Java EE should be set to version 7. Select Finish.


You should get a project that’s structure resembles this:


At this point you can run your application to ensure it is set up and will correctly deploy. You can do this by right clicking the top-most node of your project and clicking Run.

Create index.jsp

Index.jsp lives in the Web Pages directory, which is where files should be placed if you want clients to be able to access them via their web browsers. Index.jsp will display a HTML form on the client’s computer, which will let you select a file and upload it to a servlet. The servlet works on the server’s machine and does all of the heavy work so that the client machine can just sit back and wait for it’s file to be converted. If you have an index.html then delete this so your index.jsp is always used as the default web page upon starting your application.
You also need to add a form with two elements: File and Submit. Your file should be given an ID as “pdfFile”. This is important because later on the servlet will use this ID to extract the file from the form request.
The form will post to a servlet called PDF2HTML5Converter and we will create that in the next step. 

Your index file should look like this:

Create the servlet / PDF2HTML5Converter

At the end of this tutorial I will post the full code for this class. Those of you who feel fairly competent with web applications can just skip down there to browse the code. Everyone else can use the code as a quick reference to make sure they are on the right track.

Your servlet should be created and stored in the Source Packages directory since it is essentially a Java class. To create this right click your Source Packages directory, go to the New menu and select the Other menu item. This will open the New File wizard. Choose from the Web category a Servlet file type. Click Next, name your servlet “PDF2HTML5Converter”, click Next and then Finish.


As you can see servlets have some predefined methods like doPost() and processRequest(). When the servlet receives a request via the post method it’s doPost() method is called. This method calls processRequest() and passes in the HttpServletRequest and a HttpServletResponse. We can get any data that was passed along with the HttpServletRequest e.g. a file and similarly attach data to the HttpServletResponse e.g. HTML.

@WebServlet(urlPatterns = {“/yourServletName”}) should already be supplied. It is used to specify that the servlet is available at the specified URL pattern. This is how your index.jsp can locate your servlet when sending the form.
@MultipartConfig is needed to tell the servlet to expect requests conforming to the multipart/form-data MIME type (so that requests containing a file can be retrieved).

This class has 3 jobs so we will make 3 methods and call them in the processRequest method. Your new ProcessRequest() should look like below. We pass the request into getFile() because we need the request in order to extract the file from it. Similarly response is passed into generateOutput() because that method that will carry out the download, which will be put into the response for the client.

We pass the request into getFile() because we need the request in order to extract the file from it. Similarly response is passed into generateOutput() because that method will create the output, which will be put into the response for the client.

Copy the PDF file to a local file on the server / getFile()

In your servlet we are going to add the first method which will copy the file to the server. You should be aware that different servers have different file systems. In this example we are using a Tomcat server both locally and on the Jelastic cloud. Don’t forget to add your imports too.

If you want to test your code locally on a Windows OS then fileOutputPath needs to be set to “../webapps/ROOT/conversions/” + sessionName;. Normally we would use this relative path for every machine but the docroot for you cloud server is slightly different because it is a part of a cluster of servers on one environment. The docroot on the cloud is “../../shared/webapps/ROOT/conversions/” + sessionName; so you will have to change fileOutputPath when you want to deploy to the cloud. We are going to test locally first.

Convert the data into a HTML page / convertPdf2Html5()

Before we can start this method we need to add the jar to the project library. If we don’t then we can’t use the functions and classes we need to convert the file into a HTML file. To add the jar, right click your project’s top most node and select Properties. Look down the category tree on the left and select Libraries. Then select the Add JAR/Folder button and navigate to your Jpdf2html5 jar OR your JPDFForms jar. Click Open and then OK.


We are using the simplest conversion with no options. We can use the example code from here to help us. Since we aren’t using any options we can just create the HTMLConversionOptions() and IDRViewerOptions() as new objects. The Converter’s convert method takes the byte[] and output file as parameters.

Display link to output / generateOutput()

Create the response that will be sent back to the client’s browser with a link to the newly generated output.

Test Locally

You can test your application locally by right-clicking the top most and selecting Run.


A new tab should then open. Once you have selected a file and clicked the convert button, a page with a link should be displayed to you.


The link is very plain at the moment but you could spice it up with some simple css.


Your output should be similar to below


Deploy to Jelastic cloud

Once you have your application working locally, it is time to deploy this application to the cloud. This is fairly simple to do once you have got your Jelastic plugin set up and your environment created (which I covered in my previous tutorial).

You also need to make sure you change your hrefOutputPath so that it is correctly set for the cloud.


Next, you need to right click your applications parent node and select the Properties menu. From there select the Run category and change your Server to the environment we created on the cloud. Click OK.


Then right click your projects parent node and select Deploy. This will upload your web application to your Jelastic cloud.


Once your application is uploaded it will appear under your Cloud node in your Services window. You may have to refresh your Jelastic node (Right-clicking and selecting Refresh) for it to appear.


Run your application

To run your application you need to right click it in your Services window and select Open App in browser.


A new tab should open up displaying your application running on your Tomcat environment on your cloud.


Complete PDF2HTML5Converter code

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