UXstorm PDF

If you are using ServiceNow® and wondering how to generate good-looking PDFs, you know there are some solutions in the ServiceNow® Community Share and a feature already built into ServiceNow®. So why would you consider a commercial product when there is something 'free' already there?

First, many of the free solutions on Share rely on 'imaging' the contents and placing them in the PDF. Images are rendered in the browser are at the screen resolution and printing is in high resolution. This leads to text and images being grainy. They look unprofessional. There is no way for text to continue neatly from one page to the next as it is an image. This leads to lines of text being cut in half on each page. Hey, it's free; if the quality isn't an issue, then go for it.

Second, support and help getting started is limited to just what is provided in the product description and any questions answered on the Community. This can lead to more time spent on the solution or even unresolved problems in your solution.

Third, what about what is provided with ServiceNow®? If you have purchased the ServiceNow® Human Resources module, then you have a few more options. However, these options were designed for the simple forms for HR and memos. Anything more complicated in your forms will be difficult or impossible to create. Without the HR module, you are left with the raw iText 5 coding. Please, take a look at their documentation. Needless to say, it isn't straightforward. Another thing to consider is that it is JAVA! ServiceNow® scripting is in JavaScript. The only thing Java and Javascript have in common is the word Java. The two are difficult to mix, as anyone who has done ServiceNow® scripting knows. The objects passed back from Java to Javascript can be used but not debugged. Also, all Java routines require whitelisting, and if the routine you need isn't whitelisted, it doesn't exist.

Let's say you have taken on the work to implement your forms in Java and Javascript. How do you plan on supporting this code? It's not like anything else in ServiceNow&reg. This tends to be a problem when other administrators try to support the work later.

iText 5 was the end-of-life in 2018. The current version is iText 7. UXstorm has worked with iText on Version 7 to support new security requirements in PDFs in 2020. It's always best to be using the latest version.

So, in summary, the 'free' PDF solutions have a cost. Their initial cost of ownership is zero, but you need to consider the cost of:

  • Poor quality
  • Time to develop and implement a working 'free' solution
  • Support of the solution
  • Security
  • Training
  • Bug fixes
  • Extra time it takes to implement
  • How your application will be supported in the future

UXstorm® PDF Application uses iText 7. Our support team typically responds to questions and issues within an hour of your inquiry. A free training class is offered with the purchase at no additional cost. The product has been designed to produce a mapped PDF form quickly, and in a way that other ServiceNow® administrators can easily understand, maintain, and modify.

This article can't tell you what your extra costs will be, but add them up and see the total cost of ownership. It may not even be monetary. It can be the success of the project or even your reputation.