by Matijs van Zuijlen


This will (perhaps) be a HTML to PDF converter based on WebKit2GTK+, using GirFFI to drive it from Ruby.

Why I'm making this

Wkhtmltopdf annoys me, because:

  • It patches Qt, causing enourmous bloat in the binary
  • It uses QtWebkit, which is a browser kit not used by any popular browser (not even Konquerer), so no-one really notices if its rendering breaks (and it does)
  • Building it yourself from source requires several GB of disk space

The plan

Create a clean Ruby implementation of a converter using WebKit to render the HTML and Gtk+'s print functionality to render the PDF. A web view can be rendered offline so no windows should appear. Ideally, we would not want to need X11, but as a workaround I'll use xvfb-run as a wrapper.


This is by no means done yet. If you need something production-ready now, use Wkhtmltopdf or something else! That said, I'd love for people to try this out and provide feedback. Also see Contributing below.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'ghtml2pdf'

And then execute:


Or install it yourself as:

gem install ghtml2pdf

You will also need to install WebKit2GTK+, the Gtk+ bindings for WebKit2, and GObject Introspection. You should probably also install AT-Spi 2 to avoid some annoying warning messages.

On Debian and Ubuntu, this can be accomplished by installing the packages libgirepository-1.0-1, gir1.2-gtk-3.0, gir1.2-webkit2-3.0 or gir1.2-webkit2-4.0, and at-spi2-core. You may also need to install ...


The intended usage will be something like:

ghtml2pdf input.html output.pdf


After checking out the repo, install dependencies as described under 'Installation', and run bundle install. Then, run bundle exec rake spec to run the tests.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install.


All contributions are welcome, so please feel free to file tickets or send pull requests!

If you want to send pull requests or patches, please try to follow these instructions. If you get stuck, make a pull request anyway and I'll try to help out.

  • Make sure rake spec runs without reporting any failures.
  • Add tests for your feature. Otherwise, I can't see if it works or if I break it later.
  • Make sure latest master merges cleanly with your branch. Things might have moved around since you forked.
  • Try not to include changes that are irrelevant to your feature in the same commit.

You can submit your tickets and pull requests at GHtml2Pdf's GitHub repository.


Copyright © 2015–2024 Matijs van Zuijlen

The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.