Crocodoc Previews Its Revamped HTML5 Document Converter For PDF, Word And PowerPoint Files

Crocodoc allows you to upload your PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents and convert them into HTML5 so you can easily embed them on your own sites. The company, which has converted over 60 million documents since and signed up the likes of Dropbox, LinkedIn, Yammer and SAP as customers since its launch in 2010, just announced the launch of its new HTML5 document converter with a revamped conversion engine, better display quality, faster load times and better mobile performance.

Using HTML5 and scalable vector graphics (SVG), the updated Crocodoc converter takes a very different approach from the service’s last incarnation. As Crocodoc co-founder and CEO Ryan Damico told me in an email yesterday, the last version displayed everything with the exception of text as one large image. The text was overlaid on top of the image using HTML web fonts. Now, Crocodoc displays everything in the document as HTML5 and SVG instead of the raster graphics the last version used. This should make for crisper lines and shapes in the converted documents and should be especially noticeable on Retina displays.

Click image for a demo.

Click image for a demo.

Documents will also now load significantly faster, as the browser won’t have to load a large image to display. “The average download size of each page of a document in our new viewer is roughly the same as a small thumbnail image of the same page,” Damico wrote.

This also means that the mobile experience is now improved. Indeed, when I tested the new document viewer on an iPhone and Safari, the speed was close to that I would have expected from a native app. Damico also says that “pinching to zoom, scrolling, and text selection works really smoothly and feels just like a native app.” He also argues that Crocodoc does a better job at displaying complex documents than the built-in document viewers on iOS.

With this update, developers also get more control over how documents render on their sites. Instead of just an iFrame, developers will now have direct access to the HTML the service generates and can manipulate it according to their own needs.