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What is an HTML5 Document Viewer?

html5 document viewer

An HTML5 document viewer is a document and image viewing solution that allows users to easily view and collaborate on multiple file types from any desktop or mobile device within a browser. HTML5 document viewers make this possible by converting files from native formats into desired outputs, then presenting the resulting content in a browser using standard HTML5 markup.

Single-interface interaction is the biggest draw of HTML5 viewers. Since everything happens in-browser, they’re ideal for application integration. As a result, they’re often deployed by value-added resellers and software manufacturers to develop specific solutions for client needs. They’re also leveraged by enterprises looking to add functionality to existing document management solutions (DMS) or content management solutions (CMS) that both reduce total costs and improve overall efficiency.

Software developers can embed an HTML5 document viewer into existing websites or applications without the need to create this functionality from the ground up or compromising user security. On the other hand, end-users get the responsive, dynamic viewing experience they want without the need to download plugins or open other applications.

What are the benefits of an HTML5 document viewer?

Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Viewer offers industry-leading HTML5 functionality, making it the viewer of choice for developers, integrators, and system administrators looking to enhance document viewing, collaboration, and security without increasing their workload.

PrizmDoc Viewer makes this possible by using a collection of REST APIs that support more than 100 file types. It also includes built-in support for conversion, OCR, annotation, redaction, advanced search, and large document viewing and server-side search. PrizmDoc Viewer is a cornerstone within thousands of enterprise software solutions across the globe and users have great things to say about its functionality. Along with simple deployment and development, HTML5 document viewers offer other benefits such as:

  • Support for multiple software platforms and browsers to ensure consistent viewing across enterprise environments.
  • Ability to view a wide variety of file format types used by healthcare, legal, manufacturing, government, and financial firms.
  • Reduced need for other viewing applications and software licences.
  • Seamless web and mobile-friendly viewing experiences that rely on HTML5 markup rather than device-specific constraints.

How does Accusoft’s HTML5 viewer work?

PrizmDoc Viewer makes it easy to present DOCX, PPT, PDF, TIFF, email, and a host of other file types as part of your existing web application. To achieve this high-speed, high-fidelity document and image viewing, PrizmDoc Viewer leverages three key components:

  • The HTML5 viewer itself, which runs in-browser to display content.
  • The backend, comprised of PrizmDoc Application Services (PAS) and PrizmDoc Server, which handles document processing.
  • Your web application, acting as a reverse proxy, that sits between the HTML5 viewer and the backend to manage content requests.

PrizmDoc Server is the technical heart of the product, the engine that drives document conversion. It takes on the task of converting document pages to SVG using a compute-intensive process and has no permanent storage. 

The PrizmDoc Server handles the heavy lifting but doesn’t hang on to any document pages, while PAS acts much like your own web application. It has privileged access to your document storage solution — such as a file system or database — to deliver key functionality including the long-term caching of pre-converted content and the loading and saving of document annotations. 

Next up: How does this all work? Think of it like a conversation. First your web application POSTs to PAS and asks for a new viewing session. PAS responds with a new ViewingSessionID. This lets your web app render the page HTML and pass it along to the in-browser document viewer, while simultaneously delivering original documents to PAS.

PAS talks to PrizmDoc Server, asking it to start conversion. Meanwhile, the document viewer has its own question for the PAS (via your web proxy): Can I have the first page now? Once available, PAS sends the first page back as an SVG even as other pages are still being converted, letting users view and interact with documents while conversion is underway. 

What can PrizmDoc Viewer do for you?

PrizmDoc Viewer supports 100+ file types using our zero-footprint document viewer and content conversion REST API. The viewer includes an advanced HTML control which allows users to view, search, redact, print, and download documents in many different file formats – from Adobe PDFs and Microsoft Office files to CAD and DICOM – right in their browser. They don’t ever need to leave your application and risk data security. 

Process performance is one thing, but what can PrizmDoc Viewer do in practice? Our interactive demos showcase how PrizmDoc Viewer’s functionality would operate after integration, but there are many use cases that we’ve yet to explore. How does HTML5 document viewing directly impact enterprise workflows? Here are some examples of why PrizmDoc Viewer customers integrate our functionality into their own software:

  • Display All Document Types Quickly and Accurately By eliminating the need for multiple, file-specific applications, PrizmDoc Viewer allows staff to review and provide feedback on any file using a single, common interface, both improving overall performance and reducing your total licensing costs. 
  • Provide High-Fidelity Renderings of Microsoft Office Formats Accurate, high-fidelity, in-browser renderings of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents are often required to ensure regulatory compliance. PrizmDoc Viewer offers true native viewing of these popular file types on-demand. 
  • Increase the Performance of Large Document Viewing and Search FunctionsPrizmDoc Viewer utilizes both document pre-loading and customizable, server-side search parameters to help your business improve document access and offload the heavy lifting of text-based search to ensure browsers aren’t overloaded.
  • Deliver Secure CollaborationBy integrating PrizmDoc Viewer into existing applications, companies can ensure trust and compliance of critical documentation with key security controls. 

It can be extremely time-consuming to keep up with evolving user expectations, regulatory requirements, and file format complexity. That’s why many development teams decide to integrate an HTML5 viewer instead of developing one in-house. PrizmDoc Viewer offers the ability to streamline key functions and enhance security with HTML5-native support to deliver document viewing, annotation, redaction, and conversion on-demand. 

Ready to jump start your PrizmDoc Viewer development? Get started with our Docker evaluation here. To learn more about PrizmDoc Viewer and all of its unique features and functions, download our What is an HTML5 Viewer? whitepaper to learn more.