As the software industry introduces new hardware and operating systems, we're seeing more managed frameworks keep pace with .NET technology. Microsoft's .NET Standard and .NET Core defines a cross-platform specification that provides a consistent set of APIs for application developers— especially good news for the developers who generate documents from data, reports, analysis, collaborations, and user input for storage, retrieval of data, or sharing at runtime. With more organizations automating these processes, and more developers processing data in .NET apps and migrating apps to .NET Standard, document libraries like GrapeCity Documents become more and more relevant.

With GcDocuments, teams can build .NET Standard apps on any platform with a single code base, and generate Word and Excel documents, PDFs, and now images. We launched GcPDF and GcExcel in May 2018, and GcWord in September, helping you create, load, modify, save, and convert your documents in .NET Standard 2.0-targeted apps (and in the case of Excel documents, in Java, too). These APIs also support .NET Core 2.0 and went on to fully support the release of .NET Core 2.1.

What's coming for GC Documents API in 2019

We're continuously monitoring the progress of .NET, and with Microsoft announcing new updates for .NET Standard 2.1 and .NET Core 3.0, we continue to test our libraries to offer full support on these frameworks as they're released to market.

We're also releasing new products and features throughout 2019. Our primary focus is covering more features from the standard Microsoft Object models (on which our libraries are based), and we'll also provide some unique solutions so you'll be able to add more features to your document-generating apps.

Launching Documents for Imaging API for .NET Standard 2.0

First on the list is the launch of Documents for Imaging, .NET Edition (a.k.a. GcImaging), an image library that can create, load, modify, and save images in .NET Standard 2.0 applications with full support on Windows, macOS, Linux, AWS Lambda, and Azure functions. This feature-rich API can:

  • Load images of popular formats like BMP, JPEG, TIFF, GIF, and PNG
  • Apply advanced image processing techniques and save them back
  • Read/write images
  • Modify images like rotate, crop, resize, convert images, create thumbnails
  • Apply effects like dithering, thresholding on grayscale images, RGB image effects
  • Draw and fill graphics on images
  • Draw advanced text with full font handling and paragraph formatting on images
  • Apply advanced TIFF features
  • Support partial loading of images
  • Extract Exif metadata
  • Render HTML text in images

With a dearth of image-processing libraries supported on .NET Standard 2.0, this imaging API is a promising long-term .NET solution for your applications.

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Introducing a new JavaScript PDF Viewer

With GrapeCity Documents, we want to provide full document solutions for .NET applications, and documents aren't just about processing; you'll also need to view them.

In 2019, we'll launch a JavaScript-based PDF viewer to view PDF documents and support all advanced PDF features, including outlines, attachments, PDF Acroforms, opening password-protected PDFs, print PDF forms, print rotated forms, annotations, and much more. No browser plugin will be needed to view these documents; it's a pure JavaScript client-side control. With both standard and advanced document viewer features, the document viewer will offer a rich feature set for working with PDF documents.

New feature additions in Documents for PDF (GcPdf)

Documents for PDF (GcPdf) conforms to a large part of Adobe PDF specification 1.7, and we're on the path to providing complete a PDF solution to our customers.

Here are the additional features you can expect in 2019:

  • New annotation types, including sound, movie, and redact annotations
  • Page-level specific navigation features to navigate through page labels, articles, and presentation content
  • Support transparency groups to set transparency of an entire page and render to different PDF
  • Support creating and editing PDF/A documents of all conformance levels
  • Extract text and its position on a page, allowing you to fetch data from PDFs based on geometry
  • Convert PDF files to image formats
  • Convert HTML to PDF
  • Render HTML text in PDF documents
  • Smart table parsing: extract data from tables in arbitrary PDF files
  • Template-based PDF document generation
  • PDF Forms:

    • Export and import form data to and from XML
    • FDF, XFDF import and export

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New feature additions in Documents for Word (GcWord)

Documents for Word (GcWord) offers a rich and comprehensive object model that's simple to use and based on Microsoft Office API, Word JavaScript API, and OpenXML SDK.

In 2019, we plan to add more Microsoft Word OM features, additional language support, and more:

  • Set view options, control compatibility mode, control hyphenation in text, add theme colors to Word files, etc.
  • Add support to work with multilingual documents like Japanese text layout features (EastAsianLayout), right-to-left language support, and vertical text.
  • Support glossary documents
  • Support structured document tags
  • Improve performance when calculating the values of derived properties
  • Find and replace text
  • Support a simple mail merge

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New feature additions in Documents for Excel (GcExcel .NET, Java)

Documents for Excel (GcExcel) is now available in both .NET and Java with full feature parity and performance. GcExcel is a detailed Excel API based on Excel's document object model, which allows you to generate and work with spreadsheets in .NET Standard 2.0 applications with top performance and a small footprint.

We're extending the feature set so you can achieve more complex use cases for your Excel spreadsheets:

  • Load and save Excel files (.xlsm) containing macros and preserve them
  • Support shape JSON I/O
  • Improve support for Japanese text
  • Enhance the pivot table to support auto date field group of Excel 2016
  • Support setting JDK 8 date time types to cell value (Java Edition only)
  • Support background image in worksheets
  • Find and replace text
  • Copy and move worksheets across workbooks
  • Support new Excel chart types: Treemap, Sunburst, Histogram, Box & Whisker, Waterfall, Funnel
  • Improve calculation engine performance
  • Support RichText in cells
  • Template-based Excel document generation
  • Enhance exporting spreadsheet features to PDF

    • Shapes
    • Charts
    • Vertical text
    • Different Cell types
    • Background image
    • Export different Workbooks into one pdf file
    • Excel range

Template-based document generation in GcPdf and GcExcel

In 2019, in GcPdf and GcExcel, you'll be able to generate documents from document templates instead of creating them from scratch. The template-based document generation will bind template documents with data from any data sources and generate documents at runtime.

For PDF document generation, users will be able to use GcPdf to convert HTML templates with mustache syntax into PDF documents. For Excel documents, users will be able to generate documents from .xslx templates using GcExcel's Template engine.

Introducing Documents for HTML for .NET Standard 2.0

A lot of data is available in HTML format over the web, and our customers often ask to use an API that can convert HTML into other usable formats.

Documents for HTML will allow you to:

  • Render HTML content in PDF files and images
  • Convert HTML documents to PDF
  • Convert HTML documents to images

Stay tuned to our next GrapeCity Documents releases through 2019! If you have any feedback or feature requests, drop them below. Thanks!

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