The web PDF viewer and its history

FlowPaper is a versatile PDF viewer and publishing solution that lets you take your PDF documents to the web in the most browser and search engine friendly way possible.

This PDF viewer started its journey in 2009 when its founder published the web's first open source flash based viewer for PDF documents. The viewer was built using the Adobe Flex framework and was consequently named FlexPaper. The PDF viewer was distributed and sold under this name until 2016 after which it changed name to FlowPaper. The change of name was made to better reflect some of the future features that were planned for the viewer.

The move from Flash to HTML5

As HTML5 became more and more widely adopted and as iPad and iPhone gained in popularity, FlowPaper also started supporting viewing documents as HTML5 and HTML4 to support these devices. Today, HTML5 is the primary delivery format for all publications and documents and Flash merely exists as a fall back for older browsers (for browser such as IE6).

Not just a viewer

While many viewers do just what's in the name- namely view the PDF- FlowPaper also does a whole range of optimizations to the documents that are processed through the desktop publisher. These include flattening the document, compressing images as well as repairing fonts. The end result can be seen above. An instantly loading clear text viewer which works across all browsers and devices.

True HTML5 accessibility

The HTML5 technology terminology is widely thrown around and used but very few actually make use of the technology to its full capabilities. FlowPaper renders the documents as true HTML5 elements, which means that text on the screen is real, actual text that is readable both to the browser as well as to search engines. Rendering a PDF document merely as an image isn't just graphically unappealing, its also ineffective if you want to make sure that people with accessibility support can read your publications.

The final frontier - reflowable, responsive publications for all devices

In order to give smaller devices a better reading experience, FlowPaper is fully committed to delivering a solution for magazines and other digital material, which allows you to fully reflow your documents in a convenient and cost effective way. You can see some examples of what is possible at the moment by having a look at the demos section on the FlowPaper web site. Contact us if you're curious about how this works and how to get started.