Buy the book

Chapter 6: The Birth of iText


Opening Quote  

The quote I used to start this chapter ("Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep") has been wrongfully attributed to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the past, but according to, it was was taken from his book The Dilbert Principle by cartoonist Scott Adams.

Buy The Dilbert Principle on Amazon .com / / .fr / .de (these links generate a commission)

Buy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Amazon .com / / .fr / .de (these links generate a commission)

iText Design

This is a schema of the "basic building blocks" I designed for iText:
iText: Basic Building Blocks

The rationale for the design decisions I made in 2000 are documented in a report I wrote in August 2000:
report about the difference between rugPdf and iText
This report was a requirement to get tenure as an employee of Ghent University.

Website Design in the Early Years

In 2000, my personal website had a link to a java-pdf library .
screenshot website 2001

That link referred to the first itext website:
screenshot iText website 2000

My website evolved:
screenshot website 2002

As iText became more popular, I updated the website.
screenshot iText website 2001

I also created a tutorial that explained how to use iText.
screenshot iText tutorial 2002

I don't remember when I designed the first iText logo, with the i that looked like an eye, nor when I added the MPL as an alternative license to the LGPL.
screenshot iText website 2002

Book Quotes  

  • After having experienced failure after failure with my personal projects, I didn’t think I could be successful with something as “boring” as a PDF library.

Soundtrack for this Chapter  

I listen to music, but my taste in music is questionable. I've selected a handful of songs for every chapters. Sometimes, there's a link to the chapter, sometimes I just like the song.

previous chapter next chapter
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.