Generate a PDF using a Process Builder, Flow or a Batch

This article demonstrates how to generate a PDF using a Process Builder, a Flow or an Apex Batch.

Pre-requirements:

  • For this demo, you should ensure that the SharinPix Image Sync feature is activated for the object you intend to use. For more information on how to set up the Image Sync, you can refer to the following article: Setup SharinPix Image Sync
  • You should also ensure that the SharinPix Permission Set named, SharinPix Lightning Components, has been assigned to all users intending to use the configurations described in this article to generate PDFs.

In the following sections, we will use the Account object to generate a PDF whenever an Account record's type is changed to a specific value using the SharinPix Apex class, SharinPixToPdfAutomation, in

We will also cover how to generate PDF files on multiple records using Apex Batch (Developer-Oriented).

The Apex class, SharinPixToPdfAutomation, provides several fields that can be used to parametrized the PDF template. The table below provides more details for each field:

Field Name Description
Is Field Value Mandatory?
Record ID
The current record ID.
Yes
Image URL Field API Name
The API name of the image URL field.
Some available values are:
sharinpix__ImageURLFull__c, 
sharinpix__ImageURLOriginal__c,
sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c
,
sharinpix__ImageURLMini__c

You can also create a custom image URL field on the SharinPix Image object.
Yes
List of Image Public IDs
The list of image public IDs of images to be included in the PDF.
If no value is provided for this field, all images available on the record's album will be included in the PDF.
No
Number of Columns
The number of columns to be included in the PDF.
The default column value is 2 and the accepted value ranges from 1 to 12 columns.
No
Image Caption Text
The API name of the field containing the text to be displayed alongside the image.
Some accepted values here are any API name of Text fields available for the SharinPix Image object such as Name, sharinpix__Title__c or Title & Description.
No
First Page Content
The API name of the Rich Text field containing the first page content.
No
Last Page Content
The API name of the Rich Text field containing the last page content.
No
Images' Pre-description
The API name of Rich Text field containing the pre-description of images.
No
Images' Post-description
The API name of Rich Text field containing the post-description of images.
No
Page Orientation
The PDF page orientation.
The default value is portrait and the accepted values are portrait and landscape.

Single Image Per Page
The option specifying whether the PDF must contain a single image per page. No
Footer Format
The footer's format. The following merged fields can be used to specify the page numbering as follows, current page: {pagenumber} and total pages: {pagecount}.
One example is Page {pagenumber} of {pagecount} which translate to something like Page 1 of 12.
No
Filename Field
The API name of the field which will contain the filename to be used for the generated PDF.
No

The SharinPix package includes the Apex class SharinPixToPdfAutomation which is used in Process Builders and Flows to generate PDFs. 

Please note that this class is available in package version 1.193 and above. If your SharinPix package has an older version, you should can refer to the following article to update the same:

How to update SharinPix package from the AppExchange?

Creation of the Process Builder

This section demonstrates how to create a Process Builder that invokes the Apex class SharinPixToPdfAutomation to generate a PDF.

To do so, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Setup. In the Quick Find Box, type Process Builder
  • Under Process Automation, select Process Builder
  • Click on New
  • For the newly-created Process Builder:
    1. For the field, Process Name, enter SharinPix Automated PDF Generation
    2. Enter a description for the process (This step is optional)
    3. For the field The process starts when, select A record changes
    4. Click Save

Once on the Process Builder editor:

  • Click on Add Object
    1. For the field Object, select Account
    2. For the field Start the process, choose when a record is created or edited
    3. Click on Save
  • Next, click on Add Criteria
    1. For the field Criteria Name, enter Account Type is Prospect
    2. For the field Criteria for Executing Actions, select Conditions are met
  • Inside the Set Conditions section
    1. Choose Account Type as the field
    2. Then, select Equals as the operator, Picklist as the type and Prospect as the value
  • Leave the field Conditions as All of the conditions are met (AND)
  • Click on Save when done
  • Next, click on Add Action
    1. For the Action Type, choose Apex
    2. For the Action Name, enter Generate PDF
    3. For the Apex Class, select sharinpix__SharinPixToPdfAutomation
  • Inside the Set Apex Variables:
    1. For the field Image URL Field API Name, enter the desired image URL field's API name. For this example, the field sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c was used. Note: Notice here that the type remains String. You only need to insert the field's API name
    2. For the field Record ID, choose Field Reference as the type and Account ID as the value

The fields Image URL Field API Name and Record ID are mandatory and therefore, should always be provided with a value.

There are 11 additional non-mandatory fields which are also provided by the SharinPixToPdfAutomation Apex class. You will find more information regarding these fields in the table available at the beginning of this article. 

Let's configure some of these parameters in our Process Builder:

  • To access the parameters, click on the + Add Row link within the Set Apex Variables section
    1. Add the field, Image Caption Text and enter Name as the value. Note: Notice here that the type remains String. You only need to insert the field's API name
    2. For this demo, we will add a list of pre-defined images to the PDF. Therefore, add the field List of Image Public IDs and enter the image public IDs of the desired images as follows: ["<First image's Public ID>","<Second image's Public ID>","<Third image's Public ID>","<Forth image's Public ID>"]

Here is an example:

["cb3cac5e-17fa-480c-b85f-085c78b8a3ec","cb3cac5e-17fa-480c-b85f-085c78b8a2ee","cb3cac5e-17fa-480c-b85f-085c78b8a4ff","cb3cac5e-17fa-480c-b85f-085c78b8a6gt"]

   3.  Add the field, Footer Format and Page {pagenumber} of {pagecount} enter the as the value

  • Click on Save when done

You can now activate the Process Builder.

Demo

To test the Process Builder:

  • Go on an Account record
  • In the record's Details section, change of the value of the field Type to Prospect to trigger the PDF generation
  • To view the generated PDF, go to the Notes & Attachments section found in the record's Related section: 

Creation of the Flow

This section demonstrates how to create a Flow that invokes the Apex class SharinPixToPdfAutomation to generate a PDF.

To do so, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Setup. In the Quick Find Box, type Flow
  • Under Process Automation, select Flows
  • Click on the button New Flow located on the top right corner
  • Select Record-Triggered Flow as the Flow type
  • Once on the Flow builder, click on the Edit link located in the Start element
  • For the, Trigger the Flow When, section, select A record is updated
  • For the, Run the Flow section, select After the record is saved
  • Next, click on the Choose Object button located on the Start element, then
    1. Choose Account as the object
    2. Leave the Condition Requirements section as After the record is saved
    3. Next, choose Type as the field, Equals as the operator and Customer - Channel as the value
    4. For the When to Run the Flow for Updated Records section, select Only when a record is updated to meet the condition requirements
    5. Click on Done to apply the changes
  • Then, go to the Manager tab and click on the New Resource button to create a variable as follows:
    1. For the variable, select Variable as the Resource Type
    2. Enter recordId as the API Name
    3. Select Text as the Data Type
    4. For the Availability Outside the Flow section, select Available for input
    5. Click Done to save
  • Next, drag and drop an Assignment element onto the canvas. For this element, enter the following details:
    1. Enter Assign Record ID as the label
    2. In the Set Variable Values section, enter recordId as the Variable, Equals as the operator and for the value, click on $Record__Prior followed by Id
    3. Click on Done to save
  • Connect the Assignment element to the Start element
  • Next, drag and drop an Action element
  • In the Action search bar, search for sharinpix__SharinPixToPdfAutomation 
  • Enter PDF Generation for the label
  • In the Set Input Values, configure the fields as follows:
    1. For the field Image URL Field API Name, enter the desired image URL field's API name. For this example, the field sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c was used
    2. For the field Record ID, choose the variable recordId

The fields Image URL Field API Name and Record ID are mandatory and therefore, should always be provided with a value.

There are 11 additional non-mandatory fields which are also provided by the SharinPixToPdfAutomation Apex class. You will find more information regarding these fields in the table available at the beginning of this article.

Let's add some of them by selecting the Include button and entering the required values as follows:

  • For the field Footer Format, enter Page {pagenumber} of {pagecount} as value
  • For the Image Caption Text field, enter Name
  • For the field, Number of Columns, enter the value 3
  • For the Page Orientation, enter landscape
  • Click Done to save

Tips:

  • In the above example, we did not specify a list of pre-defined images to be added to the PDF. In this case, all images uploaded onto the record's album will be included in the PDF by default.
  • Contrary to Process Builders, Salesforce Flows also allow you to filter the images you want to add to the PDF. For example, if you only want SharinPix images having the png format to be added to the PDF, you can set up the Flow in such a way to store these images in a Collection Variable and pass the same variable as the value for the List of Image Public IDs field
  • Connect the Action element to the Assignment element before saving and activating your Flow

Demo

To test the Flow:

  • Go on an Account record
  • In the record's Details section, change of the value of the field Type to Customer - Channel to trigger the PDF generation using the Flow
  • To view the generated PDF, go to the Notes & Attachments section found in the record's Related section: 

Apex Batch Implementation (Developer-Oriented)

The SharinPixToPdfAutomation class includes the method performAsync (available in versions 1.205 and above)  which can be used to generate PDF files on multiple records.

The performAsync method takes as parameter, variables from an inner class named Params as demonstrated in the code snippet below:

sharinpix.SharinPixToPdfAutomation.Params params = new sharinpix.SharinPixToPdfAutomation.Params();

params.recordId = acc.Id;
params.imageUrlFieldApiName = 'sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c';
            
SharinPixToPdfAutomation.performAsync(params);

The variables available in the Params inner class are as follows:

Variable API Name

Description

recordId

(This variable is mandatory)

The record ID.

imageUrlFieldApiName

(This variable is mandatory)

The API name of the image URL field.
Some available values are:
sharinpix__ImageURLFull__c, 
sharinpix__ImageURLOriginal__c,
sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c
,
sharinpix__ImageURLMini__c

You can also create a custom image URL field on the SharinPix Image object.

imageIds
The list of image public IDs of images to be included in the PDF.If no value is provided for this field, all images available on the record's album will be included in the PDF.
columns The number of columns to be included in the PDF.The default column value is 2 and the accepted value ranges from 1 to 12 columns.
imageCaptionText

The API name of the field containing the text to be displayed alongside the image.
Some accepted values here are any API name of Text fields available for the SharinPix Image object such as Name, sharinpix__Title__c or Title & Description.

firstPageFieldApiName

The API name of the Rich Text field containing the first page content.

lastPageFieldApiName

The API name of the Rich Text field containing the last page content.
preDescriptionFieldApiName
The API name of Rich Text field containing the pre-description of images.
postDescriptionFieldApiName
The API name of Rich Text field containing the post-description of images.
orientation
The PDF page orientation.The default value is portrait and the accepted values are portrait and landscape.
singleImagePerPage
The option specifying whether the PDF must contain a single image per page.
footer
The footer's format. The following merged fields can be used to specify the page numbering as follows, current page: {pagenumber} and total pages: {pagecount}.One example is Page {pagenumber} of {pagecount} which translate to something like Page 1 of 12.
filenameFieldApiName
The API name of the field which will contain the filename to be used for the generated PDF.

The example below demonstrates how the performAsync method can be used in a Batch to generate PDFs on multiple Account records:

public class myBatch implements Database.Batchable<sObject>, Database.AllowsCallouts {
	public Database.QueryLocator start(Database.BatchableContext bc) {
        return Database.getQueryLocator('SELECT Id FROM Account WHERE NumberOfEmployees > 100');
    }

    public void execute(Database.BatchableContext bc, List<Account> scope){
        sharinpix.SharinPixToPdfAutomation.Params params = new sharinpix.SharinPixToPdfAutomation.Params();
        for(Account acc : scope) {
            params.recordId = acc.Id;
            params.imageUrlFieldApiName = 'sharinpix__ImageURLThumbnail__c';
            sharinpix.SharinPixToPdfAutomation.performAsync(params);
        }
    }

    public void finish(Database.BatchableContext bc){
    }
}

When running the batch, the number of records to be passed in the Database.executeBatch method should be limited to oneDatabase.executeBatch(new myBatch(), 1);

Notes:

  • Generating a PDF with many images may take several minutes before completion.
  • In some cases, you are required to refresh your page to access the PDF in the Notes & Attachment section.

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