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COM Functions in PHP4 Page 4

By Alain M. Samoun
on October 3, 2000

Using PHP COM with Adobe Distiller

This last example is for a non-MS program: If your program has produced a PostScript
document, it may be interesting to transform it (Distill it) to a PDF document.
Adobe has a program called Distiller with a windows version that can be instantiated,
with the following code:


$pdf = new COM('pdfdistiller.pdfdistiller.1');


Note that the OLE Identifier name is not obvious, especially when the distiller
documentation (Adobe’s Technical Note #5158) refers to it as "pdfdistiller".
The principal method to distill a document is:


$pdf->FileToPdf ($psfilestrOutputPDF ''strJobOptions "");    


Where $psfile is the name of the PostScript file, strOutputPDF is the name for the output PDF file. StrJobOptions is the name of the parameters file for Distiller.
The two last parameters of the method can be left blank to use the same name, the PS file for the PDF file and to use the default Job options file. For example:


$pdf->FileToPdf ($psfile""""); 

#Where $psfile could be Myfile.ps and the result file: Myfile.pdf 


There are more methods and properties that can be used with Distiller. If you are interested, look at the Adobe’s technical note.

Caveats/Possible problems

If there are some errors in your code, you may instantiate the object and your program
may not close before it times out.
Worst of all, the application may retentively be instantiated. As a result, several copies may
lay around in your programs list and interfere after you have corrected the problem.
The solution: After fixing the bug, clean up (<CTRL+ALT+Delete> and End Task) all the
instances in the program list before you restart.
For this same reason, always close the application at the end of your code and
unlink the instance.
You may experience some oddities with com_get and com_set. For example: $Version = Com_get($instance->Application,"Version");
Works with Word, but produces an error with Excel.
Some Objects won’t be instantiated by PHP4, it appears that these objects need a custom
interface that PHP4-COM doesn’t support.

Why use it?

Hopefully, these three examples have shown you the ropes.
PHP COM allows the connection to many Windows programs inside a PHP script.
The code is simpler than ASP’s and can be integrated with the rest of PHP’s
powerful database functions.
Microsoft markets the COM technology everywhere and under different names and
architectures, like COM+(Combine COM with Microsoft Transaction Server MTS), ADO, OLE DB,
OWC, Windows DNA, etc.
PHP and Apache, working together, are now offering an open source solution to this
PS: See the EXCEL class using the COM interface at: