23
March
2022
Tutorial

Build a Tool to Generate PDF Files with APITemplate and n8n

0
 minutes

Information is the lifeline of any business, and to keep it alive and well, businesses have to transfer information to their various stakeholders like investors, bankers, suppliers, customers, government, etc. One of the simplest and the most effective ways of transferring information is using PDF files. These PDF files can be generated in different ways, but it involves lots of coding and configuration on your frontend and backend applications. To make this process easier on Appsmith (low-code framework to build internal tools), we created a workflow on n8n that uses APITemplate and simple webhooks.

This tutorial is a step-by-step guide on generating and exporting PDF files from data on your Appsmith application. Let's dive in!

Getting Started: Setting up Appsmith and the Data to Export

The first step is to create an account on Appsmith. In this tutorial, I'll be using the cloud version of Appsmith, but you can always choose to use Appsmith locally or self-host it on your server.

  • Navigate to appsmith.com and sign-up for a new account if you're a new user or login to the existing one.
  • Next, create a new application under your preferred organization. You'll see an editor with everything you need to build your internal application.

Now, let's create a table from the mock database already provided on Appsmith.

  • For this, click on the + icon next to the Datasources on the left sidebar under Page1.
  • Now choose the users database (Postgres) under-sample databases section.
CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 00.35.15@2x.png
  • With this, you should see users' databases under your data sources section on the left sidebar. Now create a new query by clicking on Create New button from the user's datasource.
  • This will create an empty query named Query1, rename this as getUsers and paste the following SQL query:

SELECT * FROM users ORDER BY id LIMIT 10;


  • Hit the Run button on the top right to execute this query; it will return details of the first ten users from the user's table on the database.

Now let's bind this on a Table widget and then create a workflow to export it into a PDF file.

  • To bind the query on a table widget, click on the + icon next to the widget and search for the table under the Widgets tab.
  • Drag and drop the table widget onto the canvas and open its property pane by selecting the table on the canvas. You should see all the table configurations on the side right bar.
  • Next, update the Table Data property to the following:
{{ getUsers.data  }}


  • Here, we use the moustache bindings to bind the data from the query onto the widget. You can write JavaScript anywhere across appsmith inside these bindings.

Following is what the application looks like now:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 00.54.43@2x.png

Excellent, our data is now ready. Now let’s create a workflow on n8n to generate PDF using APIs from APITemplate.io.

Setting up APITemplate.io

If you are new to these tools, the following is a quick intro to help you get started:

APITemplate.io: APITemplate helps auto-generate images and PDFs with Zapier, Integromat, N8n ow with a simple REST API.

Now let’s create a free account on APITemplate; you will be redirected to your dashboard after signing up. Navigate to the Manage Templates tab and create a new PDF template.

The template here is how you want your PDF to be organized this tutorial; I’ll be using the basic table template provided under the PDF template section.

Since our goal is to export the data on the Appsmith table, I’ve navigated to the HTML editor and removed all the unnecessary HTML content.

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 01.06.53@2x.png
The idea is straightforward we send dynamic data from Appsmith onto the HTML template using a webhook, and APITemplate will generate a PDF file from the HTML.

Here’s how the HTML is added:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 01.08.52@2x.png

The item variable here holds all the data that will be updated from the webhook request on Appsmith.

We don't see any data here, as we did not have any workflow. So let's create on n8n!

Creating a Workflow on n8n

n8n: n8n helps you to interconnect every app with an API in the world with each other to share and manipulate its data without a single line of code. It is an easy-to-use, user-friendly, and highly customizable service, which uses an intuitive user interface for you to design your unique workflows very fast.

I'll be using the cloud version of n8n for this tutorial. Note that you can also self-host n8n on your server.

Now, let's create the workflow:

  • Drag and drop a webhook node and add the following configuration:
  • Set the authentication type to None.
  • The HTTP method to POST.
  • Set the Response method to Using 'Respond to Webhook' node

Now copy the TEST URL, and create a new API on the Appsmith app by clicking on the + icon next to Queries and pasting the TEST URL in the request URL. Rename the query to generatePDF for a better naming convention.

Now navigate to the Body tab in the API request and paste the following JSON:


{
    items:{{Table1.tableData}}
}


Here, we send the items data from the Table to the webhook using the moustache bindings.

Now, we can test this webhook by starting the workflow; here’s how it works:

Next, drag and drop a new APITemplate.io node and connect it to the webhook and use the following configuration:

  • First, copy the API key to the Credentials for APITemplate.io property.
  • Set resource to PDF and Operation to Creation
  • The template ID property can be found under the manage templates tab; this refers to the template created in the last section.
  • Toggle the JSON parameters and Download to ON
  • Copy the following in the Properties:
{    
    "items": {{(JSON.stringify($node["Webhook"].json["body"]["items"]))}}
}


This is where n8n sends data from Appsmith to APITemplate using a webhook.

Now, connect a new Respond to webhook node and set its respond with property to First incoming item property. This is how the complete workflow looks like:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 02.02.07@2x.png

Now click on execute the workflow and RUN the API on Appsmith; we should see a response with a downloadable PDF URL:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 02.13.55@2x.png

To improve the look and feel, we could create a new button and set its onClick property to run generatePDF query and bind the response to a text widget.

Here’s the complete workflow:

Alternatively, for PDF generation on Appsmith, we could also rely on other services like Zapier / Adobe.

If you’re interested in using a database not listed on our website as an integration, please let us know about it by raising a PR on Github, and we will do our best to include it at the earliest.

Join our growing community on Discord, and follow us on Youtube and Twitter to stay up to date.

Build a Tool to Generate PDF Files with APITemplate and n8n

Information is the lifeline of any business, and to keep it alive and well, businesses have to transfer information to their various stakeholders like investors, bankers, suppliers, customers, government, etc. One of the simplest and the most effective ways of transferring information is using PDF files. These PDF files can be generated in different ways, but it involves lots of coding and configuration on your frontend and backend applications. To make this process easier on Appsmith (low-code framework to build internal tools), we created a workflow on n8n that uses APITemplate and simple webhooks.

This tutorial is a step-by-step guide on generating and exporting PDF files from data on your Appsmith application. Let's dive in!

Getting Started: Setting up Appsmith and the Data to Export

The first step is to create an account on Appsmith. In this tutorial, I'll be using the cloud version of Appsmith, but you can always choose to use Appsmith locally or self-host it on your server.

  • Navigate to appsmith.com and sign-up for a new account if you're a new user or login to the existing one.
  • Next, create a new application under your preferred organization. You'll see an editor with everything you need to build your internal application.

Now, let's create a table from the mock database already provided on Appsmith.

  • For this, click on the + icon next to the Datasources on the left sidebar under Page1.
  • Now choose the users database (Postgres) under-sample databases section.
CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 00.35.15@2x.png
  • With this, you should see users' databases under your data sources section on the left sidebar. Now create a new query by clicking on Create New button from the user's datasource.
  • This will create an empty query named Query1, rename this as getUsers and paste the following SQL query:

SELECT * FROM users ORDER BY id LIMIT 10;


  • Hit the Run button on the top right to execute this query; it will return details of the first ten users from the user's table on the database.

Now let's bind this on a Table widget and then create a workflow to export it into a PDF file.

  • To bind the query on a table widget, click on the + icon next to the widget and search for the table under the Widgets tab.
  • Drag and drop the table widget onto the canvas and open its property pane by selecting the table on the canvas. You should see all the table configurations on the side right bar.
  • Next, update the Table Data property to the following:
{{ getUsers.data  }}


  • Here, we use the moustache bindings to bind the data from the query onto the widget. You can write JavaScript anywhere across appsmith inside these bindings.

Following is what the application looks like now:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 00.54.43@2x.png

Excellent, our data is now ready. Now let’s create a workflow on n8n to generate PDF using APIs from APITemplate.io.

Setting up APITemplate.io

If you are new to these tools, the following is a quick intro to help you get started:

APITemplate.io: APITemplate helps auto-generate images and PDFs with Zapier, Integromat, N8n ow with a simple REST API.

Now let’s create a free account on APITemplate; you will be redirected to your dashboard after signing up. Navigate to the Manage Templates tab and create a new PDF template.

The template here is how you want your PDF to be organized this tutorial; I’ll be using the basic table template provided under the PDF template section.

Since our goal is to export the data on the Appsmith table, I’ve navigated to the HTML editor and removed all the unnecessary HTML content.

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 01.06.53@2x.png
The idea is straightforward we send dynamic data from Appsmith onto the HTML template using a webhook, and APITemplate will generate a PDF file from the HTML.

Here’s how the HTML is added:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 01.08.52@2x.png

The item variable here holds all the data that will be updated from the webhook request on Appsmith.

We don't see any data here, as we did not have any workflow. So let's create on n8n!

Creating a Workflow on n8n

n8n: n8n helps you to interconnect every app with an API in the world with each other to share and manipulate its data without a single line of code. It is an easy-to-use, user-friendly, and highly customizable service, which uses an intuitive user interface for you to design your unique workflows very fast.

I'll be using the cloud version of n8n for this tutorial. Note that you can also self-host n8n on your server.

Now, let's create the workflow:

  • Drag and drop a webhook node and add the following configuration:
  • Set the authentication type to None.
  • The HTTP method to POST.
  • Set the Response method to Using 'Respond to Webhook' node

Now copy the TEST URL, and create a new API on the Appsmith app by clicking on the + icon next to Queries and pasting the TEST URL in the request URL. Rename the query to generatePDF for a better naming convention.

Now navigate to the Body tab in the API request and paste the following JSON:


{
    items:{{Table1.tableData}}
}


Here, we send the items data from the Table to the webhook using the moustache bindings.

Now, we can test this webhook by starting the workflow; here’s how it works:

Next, drag and drop a new APITemplate.io node and connect it to the webhook and use the following configuration:

  • First, copy the API key to the Credentials for APITemplate.io property.
  • Set resource to PDF and Operation to Creation
  • The template ID property can be found under the manage templates tab; this refers to the template created in the last section.
  • Toggle the JSON parameters and Download to ON
  • Copy the following in the Properties:
{    
    "items": {{(JSON.stringify($node["Webhook"].json["body"]["items"]))}}
}


This is where n8n sends data from Appsmith to APITemplate using a webhook.

Now, connect a new Respond to webhook node and set its respond with property to First incoming item property. This is how the complete workflow looks like:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 02.02.07@2x.png

Now click on execute the workflow and RUN the API on Appsmith; we should see a response with a downloadable PDF URL:

CleanShot 2022-03-17 at 02.13.55@2x.png

To improve the look and feel, we could create a new button and set its onClick property to run generatePDF query and bind the response to a text widget.

Here’s the complete workflow:

Alternatively, for PDF generation on Appsmith, we could also rely on other services like Zapier / Adobe.

If you’re interested in using a database not listed on our website as an integration, please let us know about it by raising a PR on Github, and we will do our best to include it at the earliest.

Join our growing community on Discord, and follow us on Youtube and Twitter to stay up to date.

Square
Try Appsmith
Introducing Version Control with Git
3
June
2022
Announcement

Introducing Version Control with Git

Introducing Version Control with Git
Visahavel Parthasarathy
0
 minutes ↗
#
announcement
#
community
#
developer
Announcement

Today we're excited to announce the launch of Version Control with Git, so that developers can collaborate and version control their applications. This has been one of the most requested features from our community.

While low-code frameworks like Appsmith save a developer's time via easier application management, faster plugging in of data sources, and effortless creation of UI, there are still aspects of a developer's usual workflow that aren't native to low-code platforms.

Version Control with Git, enables us to take a big step towards that.

Here's a short video on how you can use Version Control with Git:

Version Control with Git Highlights

Version Control with Git allows multiple developers to add their work in a git branch, raise a pull request for code reviews, integrate with CI/CD pipelines so that their changes go live when their pull requests are approved, and provide a commit history to go back to a previous version if something were to go wrong. You can now also test a new addition to your app on a separate branch without breaking your deployed version.

You can connect to any popular version control tool of your liking: Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, AWS Code Commit and more.

Furthermore, if you're a large organization using isolated environments for your production and test apps, you can now ensure that your applications can only be promoted to production via your CI/CD processes.

Version Control For All

Appsmith's Community Edition users will be able to connect unlimited public repos and up to 3 private repos.

In contrast, low-code frameworks in the market today either don't offer this functionality as part of their open source or free edition (and instead offer a simple auto-save), or push it deep into their most expensive pricing plans (like Retool).

Head over to our Version Control with Git documentation on how to set up version control with your favorite version control tools and get the most out of it.

May Round-up: App Theming, New Copy Paste Experience, and Product Updates
2
June
2022
Monthly Round-up

May Round-up: App Theming, New Copy Paste Experience, and Product Updates

May Round-up: App Theming, New Copy Paste Experience, and Product Updates
Vihar Kurama
0
 minutes ↗
#
announcement
#
developer
#
community
Monthly Round-up

If you’ve followed Appsmith for a while, you know that we can do a lot in 30 days! I am here to give you all the deets; follow along!

Application Theming [Beta]

One of our most awaited features — App Theming — is now out! Style your pages and widgets using global controls. We've also made it easy to change the visual layout with a single click.

Note that while all apps support theming, changing the theme or customizing the theme may not update the app entirely for older apps. We’ve done this to prevent overriding any changes you may have already made while styling your widgets. (Note that, this is a beta feature at the moment, and we are going to be improving it in the coming weeks).


Theming automatically updates multiple properties, including fonts, colors, borders, shadows, etc. All these properties can be configured from the property pane globally. Read the complete documentation here.

Discard Changes/ Delete Branch on Version Control

Version Control with Git is well-loved by Appsmith users, especially when working with teams. We’ve enhanced this feature by adding another option other than ‘commit’ to make it more flexible. Now you can discard changes on the current branch and reload the earlier, committed application. Additionally, you can also delete the stale or unused branches.

Allowing Camera and Microphone on iFrame

Are you communicating to other websites from Appsmith? Our latest improvements will help you get the most out of it. All you have to do is use allow="camera; microphone" on the attributes to be able to access the camera/microphone on the iframe.

Making it easy for you on Windows using WSL

Have trouble setting up the Appsmith server on Windows? Don’t worry. We’ve worked on some documentation to help you contribute to Appsmith on Windows operating systems that use WSL; check it out here. Prerequisite MongoDB is included, along with detailed notes on building/running the code and how to set up your code editor.

Improvements

New Copy Paste Experience

Duplicating widgets on Appsmith is now easier with the new-copy-paste experience. Here’s a quick summary of how it works:

When the layout widget is selected:

  • If the mouse pointer is not on the layout widget, the widget is pasted inside the layout widget at the bottom of the canvas.
  • If the mouse pointer is on the layout widget, the pasted widget will be aligned top-left of the mouse pointer inside the layout widget.

If the non-layout widget is selected, no matter where the mouse pointer is, It is pasted below the non-layout widget, and the widgets are aligned horizontally.

If the mouse pointer is on a widget and no widgets are selected, widgets will be posted below and are horizontally aligned.

More Pages? View them all at once!

We’ve added a new option to resize the entity explorer page to view more pages at once. Just find the expander and extend it based on your comfort :)

Total Records and Page Count on Table Header

More love to the table widget; we’ve just added total record count and page count on the table header.

CleanShot 2022-05-25 at 15.34.35@2x.png
Better Way of Running JS Objects

We’ve revamped the way we run JS Objects from the JS Editor. Just put the cursor inside the function and hit the RUN button. The editor automatically identifies which function you’re working on; you can always use the shortcuts to make this easier!

Additionally, the page load functions can be configured from the Settings tab, just like how we do it from queries!

CleanShot 2022-05-25 at 15.40.46@2x.png
Added top-level isValid property to JSONForm

Currently, the JSONForm widget has an isValid property inside the fieldState for each field. However, there is no top-level property to check all fields at once. With this update, we added an isValid property which can be used to check if the current form is valid (passes all validation) or not.

CleanShot 2022-05-25 at 15.47.07@2x.png
Enhanced Map Widget

We’ve added a new property to the Map widget that lets us enable search location from Map without entering the coordinates. You can search directly on the map and display searched fields on other widgets without clicking on the Map widget.

CleanShot 2022-05-25 at 15.48.29@2x.png

Collaborations, Technical Content, Videos & Tutorials

Last month was hectic! We’ve published a new video on how you can generate PDFs from Appsmith using APITemplate; not just this, we’ve successfully hosted a couple of live sessions.

  • In this Video, Confidence, our Developer Advocate, show us how you can build a workflow to generate PDFs from Appsmith by consuming APIs from APITemplte.io.
  • Shams Mosowi from Rowy.io collaborated with us to demonstrate how we can build an expense management tool that employees can use to submit expenses for approval using Rowy as the backend.
  • Getting started with Version Control with Git on Appsmith? We’ve created a guide on how you can connect to a Git provider to version control Appsmith apps. Watch it here.

If you're curious about what we were up to, look no further and follow this link.

If you’re interested in using a database not listed on our website as an integration, please let us know about it by raising a PR on Github, and we will do our best to include it at the earliest.

Join our growing community on Discord, and follow us on Youtube and Twitter to stay up to date.

April Round-up: Multiple Widget Reflow, Readable URLs, more Product Updates
3
May
2022
Monthly Round-up

April Round-up: Multiple Widget Reflow, Readable URLs, more Product Updates

April Round-up: Multiple Widget Reflow, Readable URLs, more Product Updates
Vihar Kurama
0
 minutes ↗
#
announcement
#
community
Monthly Round-up

If you’ve followed Appsmith for a while, you know that we can do a lot in 30 days!

I am here to give you all the deets; follow along!

Introducing Multiple Widget Reflow

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on our new drag and drop experience. Users dig being able to resize widgets and move them around. This provides them with the ultimate freedom to build applications however they want without barriers that might get in the way :P

We’ve made this even more fun and powerful by adding a multiple widget reflow feature. With this, users should be able to move widgets and resize them even when they are grouped.

This also makes the drag and drop experience more performant in avoiding UI lags while moving widgets.

Readable Application URLs

All of you have been waiting for a much-requested feature, and today, it’s finally here! The application URL now has your app name as a slug, making it easier for you to share and find your Appsmith applications. This is available immediately for all the old applications and, of course, the newly created ones. Here’s a sample app URL.


https://app.appsmith.com/app/april-round-up/home-6266f76700cba01cd0301e20

To upgrade your old app URLs, please navigate the updates section from the bottom bar and hit update. Here’s the recording of how you can do it:

Product Updates

New Response View Switchers

We've added a new response view switcher feature that lets users easily switch between response formats on the fly; you'll be able to view them in different formats (JSON, Table, RAW) based purely on ease of choice. This feature will be available on all action types (APIs/Queries on a datasource).

Added Button Variants in Table Column Type

It’s super easy to set a column type to a button on Appsmith - just navigate to column properties and update the type to Button. To make your table button more extraordinary, we’ve added the variant property taking inspiration from our button widget; with this, you can update table button types to different variants available.

CleanShot 2022-04-26 at 01.05.56@2x.png
Smart Substitution Feature on Firestore Plugin

We’ve added a smart substitution feature to Firestore plugin methods (to dynamically perform type conversions on field values in a request body). The smart substitution will work the same way for REST API requests.

Currently, this feature only gets applied to the body section of Create, Set, Add or Update commands, as this is the only input field that expects a JSON input type. This can be toggled by navigating to the settings tab on datasource.

Added MultipartFormDataType variants for REST Datasource

We’ve added ​​MultipartFormDataType variants; with this, users can add an array as a value for multipart requests on REST APIs. It will handle every item in the list as a part of the multipart request. Here’s what an example body will look like:


--IpJ9ACFxVbhXlAQuIFccoJ0K0ttFS5PVyfX3
Content-Disposition: form-data; name="myArray"
Content-Type: text/plain;charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 3

One
--IpJ9ACFxVbhXlAQuIFccoJ0K0ttFS5PVyfX3
Content-Disposition: form-data; name="myArray"
Content-Type: application/json
Content-Length: 1

2
--IpJ9ACFxVbhXlAQuIFccoJ0K0ttFS5PVyfX3
Content-Disposition: form-data; name="myArray"
Content-Type: application/json
Content-Length: 4


Enhanced Text Widget

When the truncating text option is enabled in a text widget, the scroll switch is no longer valid; as we truncate to fix this issue, we made the following changes.

We’ve added an overflow property option with the following configurations:

  • Scroll Contents - Enables scroll in the text widget
  • Truncate Text - Enables truncation in the text widget
  • No Overflow - No scroll or truncation
CleanShot 2022-05-02 at 16.39.07@2x.png
Added Support to MinIO in S3

You can now connect MinIO instances on Appsmith using the S3 plugin. This can be done when:

  • over the unsecured connection (HTTP)
  • when secured via a CA-signed certificate (HTTPS)

You can find this connecting in a dropdown from the S3 datasource.

Select Widget is now 50x Faster on Large Datasets

We’ve been listening to a few issues with the select widgets when large datasets are used. Previously, in the case of these large data sets, the Select widget took up to 5 seconds to render. The initial render is down to ~100ms once the options are available from the API call.

Our engineers tested this thoroughly by loading 1000 options from a mock API on a newly upgraded test widget :)

New Collaborations, Technical Content, Videos & Tutorials

Last month was crazy for us; we’ve published a blog post on how you can connect Stipe on Appsmith to manage your transactions; not just this, we’ve successfully hosted four live sessions.

  • We’ve created a small guide on how you can use JSON forms on Appsmith. This widget lets you build any kind of form with JSON dynamically. Learn how to use it here.
  • Stephen Tillman, one of our active community members, joined us to show how Appsmith helped him to build a great dashboard that lets him manage credit cards on Brex using BrexAPIs. Watch the recording here.
  • Pranav and I hosted the third How Do I Do X session, where we picked questions from the community to integrate with ZohoCRM and Stripe APIs. We’ve also talked about how you can use resetWidget and clearWidget functions on Appsmith to handle form actions. Watch the recording here.

If you're curious about what we were up to, look no further and follow this link.

If you’re interested in using a database not listed on our website as an integration, please let us know about it by raising a PR on Github, and we will do our best to include it at the earliest.

Join our growing community on Discord, and follow us on Youtube and Twitter to stay up to date.

What’s a Rich Text element?

asdsadasdsa

asdsadasdsa

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

sfdfsdfds

dsfdsfdsf

adfkaldf

The rich text element allows you to create and format

sadadasdasdas dsada sadas asd ad

Static and dynamic content editing

  1. vdfgdgd
  2. gjgjg

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

swzdswxzdsw