Friday Oct 05, 2012

Solving Inbound Refinery PDF Conversion Issues, Part 1

Working with Inbound Refinery (IBR)  and PDF Conversion can be very frustrating. When everything is working smoothly you kind of forgot it is even there. Documents are cheeked into WebCenter Content (WCC), sent to IBR for conversion, converted to PDF, returned to WCC, and viola your Office documents have a nice PDF rendition available for viewing.

Then a user checks in a bunch of password protected Word files, the conversions fail, your IBR queue starts backing up, users start calling asking why their document have not been released yet, and your spend a frustrating afternoon trying to recover and get things back running properly again.

Password protected documents are one cause of PDF conversion failures, and I will cover those in a future blog post, but there are many other problems that can cause conversions to fail, especially when working with the WinNativeConverter and using the native applications, e.g. Word, to convert a document to PDF. There are other conversion options like PDFExportConverter which uses Oracle OutsideIn to convert documents directly to PDF without the need for the native applications. However, to get the best fidelity to the original document the native applications must be used. Many customers have tried PDFExportConverter, but have stayed with the native applications for conversion since the conversion results from PDFExportConverter were not as good as when the native applications are used.

Of course it is important to mention that most IBR "problems" are not really problems with the IBR itself, but more likely problems with the documents being converted or problems with the third-party applications IBR is using to convert the documents to PDF.

One problem I ran into recently, that at least has a easy solution, are Word documents that display a Show Repairs dialog when the document is opened. If you open the problem document yourself you will see this dialog.

This will cause the conversion to time out. Any time the native application displays a dialog that requires user input the conversion will time out. The solution is to set add a setting for BulletProofOnCorruption to the registry for the user running Word on the IBR server. See this support note from Microsoft for details. The support note says to set the registry key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, but since we are running IBR as a service the correct location is under HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT. Also since in our environment we were using Office 2007, the correct registry key to use was:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options

Once you have done this restart the IBR managed server and resubmit your problem document. It should now be converted successfully.

For more details on IBR see the Oracle® WebCenter Content Administrator's Guide for Conversion.

About

Kevin Smith is a Technical Director in Oracle Consulting's WebCenter practice. He has been working with content management products since 2004 when he joined Stellent.

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