Documents are a fundamental need of any business. While developing a website or an app for a business, you must create different document templates for the business’s specific needs, such as invoices, contracts, proposals, policy statements, etc.
It consumes lots of a developer’s time, which could be spent on other pressing tasks. So, how can a developer save time from manually creating each document format?
The answer is Automatic Document Generation.
In this article, you will learn about document automation and how it can make your life easier. Also, we will discuss some of the best automatic document generation APIs that will help you craft software solutions for your clients in no time.
Stay tuned, and keep learning!
What is Document Automation?
Document automation is the process of automatically creating different documents based on a predefined set of rules. It is also known as document assembly or document generation. It comes in handy when dealing with dynamic data in a specific format.
Document automation helps you transform repetitive documents into templates to be reused without being modified programmatically.
Suppose you are creating an ecommerce store for a client. Whenever a customer places an order on the platform, a receipt, usually a downloadable PDF containing the information specific to that order, is generated. We call this process document automation.
How Does Automated Document Generation Work?
In automatic document generation, the system pulls the data and the format from different sources and fills it automatically in predefined document templates. The templates can contain text or graphic elements like tables, images, etc.
It is most used in software solutions where the user needs to assemble complex and dynamic documents frequently. Besides being a time saver for both the developer and the user, it helps the user ensure each document’s accuracy, formatting, and compliance.
How to Automate Document Generation?
Document generation can be automated through coding or innovative solutions available in the market. Let’s explore each in some detail.
Document Generation through Code
Automating document generation through code is possible and is done by various developers worldwide. You must write thousands of lines of code (LOC).
On the one hand, it benefits your skills and understanding as you manually write all the code, enhancing your logic and problem-solving skills.
On the other hand, this approach is more prone to errors and consumes more time than needed. You must debug and test your solution repeatedly whenever you change the code.
Therefore, this is not a recommended approach.
Document Generation through APIs
Using pre-built APIs is an innovative and efficient way of automating document creation. Numerous APIs are available to integrate with your applications and achieve the desired functionality.
These APIs allow you to create document templates through drag and drop as well as through XML, JSON, or other files. Also, you can create different document formats such as docx, pdf, CSV, etc. These APIs enable users to create individual or bulk documents within seconds.
How to Choose the Best Document Generator API?
You can find numerous APIs offering different feature lists for document automation. So, here is a quick guide about the things to consider while choosing a document creation API:
As you might know, in software development, the term “reliability” means the ability of a solution to tackle stressful conditions (measured through load testing). The same goes for the APIs. Whenever you choose a document automation API, you must test it by processing large document files.
Moreover, check if the API offers a guaranteed uptime. Furthermore, test the API for any service interruptions and measure its response rate.
Always check an API’s feature list before spending money on it. Ensure that it contains features you need or may need in the future. An ideal document generation API should have the following features:
- Multiple document templates.
- URL and HTML to PDF conversion
- Drag and drop template editors
- Bulk document generation
The most important factor of any document generation API is its accuracy. Ensure that the document created by the API matches your template exactly or not. If you see any changes in font styles, sizes, or other elements, never use such API, as it will generate inaccurate future results.
Consider the number of templates an API provides you with. The more the templates, the better.
Security is crucial for your safety, especially in the online world. Before integrating a hosted API solution, consider the following:
- The API uses a reliable encryption mechanism to protect your data from interceptions while transferring between the API and your application.
- Check what the API does with your data once it is passed. Whether it deletes it immediately or stores it for some time. An API that deletes the data is the best to use.
- Ensure the API has specific security certificates such as HIPAA, GDPR, etc. If not, look for an alternative.
Ensure the API is compatible with the programming language or the platform you are working with. Also, consider the integration options and the availability of API for different devices.
Advantages of Automating Document Generation through APIs
If you equip your software solutions with automated document generation processes, you can benefit in the following ways.
When writing code, you commit various unnoticeable mistakes that drive you crazy during deployment. By using document generation APIs, you can easily avoid such errors. Moreover, the client gets the authority to customize the templates, so you do not need to change the code each time a new document is created.
With APIs, users can create multiple documents simultaneously, increasing the processing speed and saving time. Moreover, customizing the documents is not as tedious as manual document generation. You can drag and drop the fields to be changed through APIs.
As mentioned earlier, APIs save your and your client’s time through automation. Creating new documents or modifying the existing ones does not take much time, thanks to the drag-and-drop facility under APIs.
Easy Data Collection
Collecting data using API calls is relatively easier than sending the documents to different people and asking them to fill them. This helps organizations speed up their processes through dynamic document generation.
If you are building a solution to be used in an industry where regulations and standards must be followed, using the document generation APIs is the best idea. This will save you from any future conflicts as all the documentation will be managed by your client, and you will not be accountable for any issues.
With automated document generation, each document can be crafted to specific needs while keeping the standardized format intact.
Although implementing a document generation API will require some initial investment, using it can save a lot of your time and energy. Also, your client will not have to spend an amount for each document they need.
Most document generation APIs are cloud-based and ensure data encryption and security using different mechanisms. All the documents and data generated on the user end are kept confidential and secure.
Digital Data Storage
Another benefit of document generator API is that it stores all the data digitally on a cloud or remote server. This negates the need to download, print, or maintain physical copies of the document.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is document automation necessary?
No, document automation is not necessary. You should use it when dealing with documents with different formats or slight changes. Being a developer, if you know that your client will need to create a particular document at various times, you should automate the process to make their life easier.
What is the best way to automate document generation?
We recommend integrating a reliable, secure, and compatible document creation API if you are a developer. Otherwise, you can install a document automation tool for ever-evolving documents.
What documents can I automate through automated document generators?
Using document automation tools, you can automate the creation of any document, such as invoices, contracts, non-disclosure documents, proposals, agreements, and much more.
How does document automation API work?
The document automation API first creates a document template based on the template configuration. Then, it fetches data from different sources and auto-fills the corresponding fields in the template. Lastly, it converts it to PDF, which you can download or print.
The document automation requirement depends entirely upon a business’s needs. Creating and maintaining documents manually is not ideal in this fast-paced world. Therefore, automatic document generation is the need of time.
If your client asks you to automate the document generation process, you should and must use an automation API rather than writing the entire code manually. This saves you time, effort, and energy and keeps you focused on the application’s core functionality.
In this article, we have discussed document automation in detail. Because PDFs are the widely used document format worldwide, we suggest reviewing these 7 best PDF generation and editing APIs to help you complete your programming tasks quickly.
Hopefully, this article answered the questions you were looking for.