PDF Reports service

Dear Node-RED community,

I am reaching out to you as a representative of a company specializing in industrial automation and IT. I would like to seek your opinions and insights on a project we are considering developing, with the aim of determining whether there is a real demand for this service.

The concept of this project is to create an online service that would allow users to send PDF reports via email in a simple manner, without the need to deploy on-site report software. The goal is to address the needs of projects where report requirements are straightforward, and where a subscription-based solution would be more suitable.

Here is an overview of our concept:

  1. User Platform: Users would have access to an online account where they can declare reports and create templates in Markdown, text, images, as well as simple graphics, charts, and pie charts to customize their reports.
  2. Report Generation: To generate a report, users would send an HTTP request to the service, providing the data to be included in the report and the list of recipients.
  3. Node-RED Authentication: We are considering developing a dedicated Node-RED node to handle authentication and the sending of msg.payload with the data to be integrated into the report.
  4. Report Delivery: Once generated, the report would be automatically converted to PDF format and sent via email to the recipients specified by the user.

We are seeking to determine whether such a solution could meet a specific need in the field of industrial automation and report management. Your feedback and ideas are crucial in helping us decide whether this project is viable and whether there is real interest from the Node-RED community.

If you believe that such a service could be useful in your context or if you have suggestions to improve it, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Thank you in advance for your constructive input.

Must admit that I'm struggling to see the business benefit to consuming such a service.

For starters, if you are able to run Node-RED, the additional overhead of installing an output to PDF feature is absolutely minimal.

Secondly, what is the business benefit of sending a PDF over email after conversion from HTML when you can simply email the HTML? Which would also most likely be more accessible too.

Thirdly, if you have Node-RED, you can already create both PDF's and HTML output directly, no need for a paid 3rd-party cloud service. Emailing isn't much of a stretch either.

Thank you for your reply.
Firstly I didn't know about the existence of node to do this while searching I just found node-red-contrib-pdfmake.

The idea came to me from a client's request and I found the PDF suitable because the images are not always displayed perfectly according to email clients and the PDF would contain all the images without using hosted files. Alternatively, we could have integrated tags into the template to render graphics simply. The idea crossed my mind and I said to myself why not ask the community to find out if there was a need on the subject. Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

No problem.

The flows site is generally the best place to start when searching for extra extension nodes


There are a few things there and at least some of them install all of the dependencies I believe.

A while back, I also produced an example that showed how uibuilder could be used in a similar way to pdfmake to produce html reports if that is of interest to your customer. That could only do it in the browser but I am working on a new release that will let you do it (and much more) in Node-RED directly.

They should work in all modern email clients if included in the email bundle. Alternatively, they could be converted to data url's which do certainly work in all modern clients that I've tested them with. If you can have your graphics as SVG's, that is even easier. But, OK point taken. :slight_smile: It's just that I'm involved with accessibility and reducing the use of PDF's is a hot topic right now.

And it was an excellent thought, I wish more people would do that. :grin:

As an Enterprise Architect, I would always be asking the question - is this proposed service going to benefit us enough to warrant going through the pain of procurement (being public-sector, that is always painful :frowning: ) and the ongoing overheads of maintaining and security links to external cloud services. Mostly we will say yes because we have a cloud-first approach but if we were already using a compute tool such as Node-RED for something, then that is much less likely because the equation changes in favour of simply using Node-RED to get the job done.

Of course, every organisation will have its own calculations for this though I'm sure your customer will thank you for helping them do something at little to no cost. :rofl:

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.