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I'm developing a web based system for the company I work for. In this system it allows you to download information as a PDF, and because it's a project I've been given free reign over, I decided to code the whole site from top to bottom with CSS3 and HTML5.

The problem I have is that the way the PDF is rendered, is that the Server uses it's default web browser (which is IE8), so the HTML5 and CSS3 either don't display or don't work properly. It won't load javascript files either.

My question is can I run Chrome or Firefox on the Windows server, without compromising security.?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes and No.

Windows Server is only different to Windows Client by the services and features it is configured to run (along with license changes and a few other tweaks).

This being said, you can successfully run ANY browser on the server and set it to the default. Every browser that I can think of has had some sort of security issue at some point and they all probably have a few unresolved bugs that no one knows of.

The fact is however, a server should just be used as a server, you really should not be browsing files or using PDFs on it and I highly recommend you do not continue.

If you must use this machine, consider using Hyper-V or another virtualisation suite (If you already take advantage of virtualisation) and get a new client OS and use that for browsing.... Or just use your desktop/laptop to browse.

So, yes it should work, but no - I would highly recommend against it... Server should be set up and used to serve, not as a desktop.

Sorry for the lecture... Just seen it far too many times where a server is bogged down with so many toolbars and rubbish when people mis-use them! If you really need to use it as a client, feel free and it will work!

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+1 for "Yes" as it's right, but while "Let the server serve " is great advice, in this case it looks like the OP just wants to utilise the default browser's rendering engine to create PDF files, not to actually use them or browse the web. – DMA57361 Dec 17 '10 at 10:48
Thanks for the answer but I don't think I explained myself properly, sorry. We don't use the server as a desktop. When a user goes to click on a "Download PDF" link, the code uses the servers browser to render HTML content in to a PDF. But thank you for the answer, it will help me out :) cheers! – mickburkejnr Dec 17 '10 at 11:32
@mickburkejnr - I would still recommend against it - there must be a better way to do it such as an actual PDF component for whatever language you are programming in etc. – William Hilsum Dec 17 '10 at 12:19
@Wil I'm not sure. The lead programmer seems to like it. I might investigate it further when I get home. – mickburkejnr Dec 17 '10 at 12:56
@mickburkejnr - Why take the HTML and render to PDF? Why not just render to PDF immediately? If the problem is pre-generated content only available in HTML, well, that might be the best solution. Look at Chromium Embedded, or QT for an embeddable WebKit component that your developers can update independently. If it's data-driven HTML (e.g. an invoice from a shopping cart system or the like), then your devs are being lazy. :-) – afrazier Dec 17 '10 at 13:31

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