When we conceived Speedy PDF Sign-Offs For Jira Cloud, we had one overarching mission: to help fast-moving teams quickly capture and archive electronic signatures and document issue resolution and approvals in a well-designed, compliant PDF. This is the story on how we ended up choosing iText to enable all that.
Notice our priorities:
- Smooth workflow
- Well-designed and easily archivable PDF
Not so much, given the stringent parameters our clients require —particularly those in the heavily regulated life sciences industry. When paper sign-offs for regulatory compliance migrated online (i.e., the United States Food and Drug Administration’s 21 CFR Part 11), creating and storing electronic, audit-ready documentation became a priority.
At the heart of the app is the PDF aspect. Our vision was to create a beautifully formatted Speedy PDF that stands as a record of a specific moment in time, ready for an official electronic signature and safe archiving in just seconds.
The challenges in finding a PDF library partner were myriad. We need a solution that could handle a multi-cloud environment and have no problem including all relevant information (fields, attachments) from a ticket.
Here’s how we found our ultimate solution —iText —and how it helps make Speedy PDF Sign-Offs such a vital tool for busy teams.
A False Start
Even in our world of technologically advanced solutions, app development can be tricky. What looks like a dream component can turn out to be a dud.
Our first choice for the commercial PDF library solution and document template designer turned out to be rife with technical issues. There were roadblocks when it came to embedding files with a PDF attachment, and the styles in the design program were complicated to work with.
The search was on for a new library, one that had the following attributes:
- Easy to connect and work with
- User-friendly documentation
- Low-code convenience
- PDF/A specification compliance
- Reliability and stability
Our developer, Dmitrii Saltykov, discovered iText, and the Speedy PDF app was off and running.
How It Works
Speedy PDF’s front-end uses Google Firebase, a platform for creating mobile and web applications. When a Speedy PDF request is made, a Firebase server layer retrieves the data from Jira. It is then sent to a serverless application running on Google Cloud, which prepares an HTML template for iText to process.
While the process is easy from a user perspective, the behind-the-scenes of getting all components to play nicely together was challenging.
“We had a lot of adventures around getting it all to work with the Firebase and Google Cloud platforms,” says Radbee co-founder Rina Nir. “Happily, from all the different moving parts that we have, using iText has been quite a good experience.”
Because everything happens in Jira, the complexities are hidden from the users. Here are the behind-the-scenes steps when a user requests a new Speedy PDF:
- The Speedy PDF process, powered by iText, generates a PDF file containing all the necessary documentation from the Jira issue, including any attachments. The PDF is stored at a designated storage location. (This is the customer’s storage, allocated by the Jira administrator.)
- The user can either download the PDF to verify what they are signing off on or initiate the official sign-off immediately.
- An email with a one-time password (OTP) token is sent to the user to authorize their electronic signature.
- Once all signees have signed, the electronic signatures are added to the PDF.
The Speedy PDF acts as a standalone archive file that is kept separate from the Jira issue. So, even if the issue is deleted, the PDF —compatible with the FDA CFR 21 part 11 requirements — will remain.