PandaDoc Seeks to Replace PDFs with New API

San Francisco-based startup PandaDoc believes the future of document delivery is going to rely on HTML5. In an effort to dethrone the current king of documents, the ubiquitous PDF format, the company today officially unveiled an API and JavaScript SDK that makes it easy for third parties to integrate its interactive HTML5-based document delivery technology into their own solutions.

According to Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc, “The PDF was just not made for the cloud era. Companies have massive amounts of PDF documents that give them no feedback and lots of grief.”

PandaDoc’s solution attempts to eliminate that grief by making it possible for organizations to easily create interactive documents that can be accessed through any modern web browser. These documents can be template-based and incorporate data that is merged from third-party sources, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Documents can include forms and accept legally binding electronic signatures from recipients. Analytics allow document senders to track when documents are viewed, and version management helps organizations manage changes to their documents over time.

The new PandaDoc REST API makes it possible for third parties to take advantage of all of this functionality. It can be used to create and send PandaDoc documents, and track when they’re viewed. With PandaDoc.js, the company’s JavaScript SDK, developers can easily embed a fully functional HTML5 document viewer within their own applications. PandaDoc.js also enables developers to build their own white-labeled document builders so that they can create robust documents using the same tools PandaDoc offers its current customers.

API access is provided on a pay-per-document basis, with prices starting at $.20 per document sent. According to PandaDoc, a number of companies have already adopted its API and integrated it into their business processes. For instance, on-demand labor startup TaskRabbit is using the REST API and PandaDoc.js to power systems that obtain forms that TaskRabbit needs new hires to complete. While a company such as TaskRabbit could almost certainly continue to use PandaDoc’s non-API offering, the ability to integrate this functionality directly into its own applications was appealing for obvious reasons.

The fact that PandaDoc is essentially exposing all of its functionality through its API and JavaScript SDK should be appealing to other companies too. And if enough of these companies integrate PandaDoc into their processes, PandaDoc just might realize its ambitious vision of making PDF a thing of the past.

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