PDF Rendering APIs in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 is available now, a feature rich update to popular Windows 8 operating system! We are all excited to see the response from reviewers and customers. 

During this release I have worked as a Test Lead in the PDF Rendering API team in the Operating Systems Engineering Group. I was thinking about adding more blog posts here and what could be more exciting than talking about these brand new APIs! These are new set of WinRT APIs introduced in Windows 8.1 to support PDF Rendering out of the box.

 The primary customer ask and use case for these APIs is rendering PDF pages, making these APIs simple and easy to use and at the same time providing flexibility in multiple developer scenarios for ease and performance. There are several MSDN forum posts where developers were asking for this support in Windows 8 so that they can build applications where they can show content as PDF in their store applications. From the various forums and blog posts we have been following so far, the primary asks from the developers were the following

  1. The Reader app in Windows 8 looks cool, I would like to use the rendering capability in my store application. Can I make my own PDF Viewer application?
  2. How can I display PDF thumbnails in my application and let the user open the PDF in the preferred PDF viewer?
  3. I am trying to open PDF file in my application, anyone has control or library to open PDF file in my application
  4. I am creating a Windows store app, I need to show a PDF file in this, is this possible?
  5. I want to support printing PDF files from my store application, is there any support in WinRT APIs?
  6. I need a PDF Viewer control in XAML/WWA.
  7. I am developing an app module that needs to import a PDF and convert it to images (one PDF for each page), the application is store WinRT app.
  8. I am writing a magazine store application, the magazine content is PDF primarily, how can I render it?

I have been following up on the MSDN forum posts with these asks and updating about these set of new APIs in Windows 8.1, and it occurred to me that I can write some blog posts about it :). Hence starting this blog series (this blog post and more posts that are going to follow) to talk about these APIs, and along the way have fun while working on creating some sample store applications and sharing my learning, tips & tricks with you.

In case you have been following up on these APIs, you must be aware of the following

  1. Chetan from our team talked about these APIs in //BUILD conference. Here is the video of the talk on Channel 9.
  2. MSDN documentation of the API. API Landing Page
  3. For getting connected with the team - official PDF-API blog on technet. Shalu from our team recently started the first post here.
  4. PDF-API sample applications
    1. End-to-End PDF Showcase samples
    2. API samples

Ok, so adding more on top of these; here is the list of the coming posts I plan to write,

  1. PDF APIs Overview
    1. WinRT APIs – The Off screen version for quick and easy rendering
    2. Native Rendering APIs – The On screen version for real high performance
  2. Building a Simple PDF Rendering Store Application – building on the samples on MSDN code gallery
  3. Building a sample PDF Reader application in C# - PDF-APIs & Flip View
  4. Making the sample application feature rich - taking care of performance and memory usage, more views, quick jump to a page in PDF file and some more features
  5. Book/Magazine library app for managing multiple PDFs - build these views in XAML & integrate with Reader sample 
  6. PDF Showcase Sample in C++ and WWA (JS and HTML5)
  7. <TBD-let’s see comments >

So while I work on writing more blog posts as promised above it would be great to discuss in comments your thoughts around these APIs and any issues you may be facing while you use these APIs in your store applications.

Ravindra Bhartiya