I’ve been using the awesome Zend Framework PDF module for a while now without any issues, but today I was trying to load a PDF (downloaded from the state), to fill in some data from a DB application, and encountered total failure. Neither PHP nor Apache logged any errors – FireFox quit with an empty screen and Chrome gave an ambiguous 500 Internal Server error (again, Apache didn’t log any problems). This was especially curious since I use several PDFs for this same purpose, from the same source (downloaded from the state’s licensing site), always without trouble.

After spending quite some time doing the usual round of debug, it quickly became apparent that it was just that one file. I tried renaming, re-dl’ing, copy-delete-paste, permissions, everything, to no avail. Finally, I downloaded a copy of a PDF editor and tried making some minor, invisible edits and re-saving – again, no luck. Same with creating a new PDF from the problem one as it’s source. What finally took was creating a new file from a batch of existing files – although the “batch” in this case was just the single file – for some reason, problem solved.

Hope this saves someone some time.