Wow! Just finished reading a post on perl monks where the poster asked for suggestions on creating nice looking PDF reports. Microsoft Access has me spoiled when it comes to whipping up custom reports.
I've come up with two solutions to the problem of generating PDF reports via programs/scripts and I'm not really happy with either of them. I still have some perl scripts that generate PDF reports using text2pdf, which is a compiled C program. It works well and runs fast, but doesn't offer anything fancy. I've also written a perl program that generates a report in LaTeX source. Then I can get a PDF via DVI->PS->PDF.
List of URLs
iText: a Java library that allows you to generate PDF files on the fly.
FOP: (Formatting Objects Processor) a Java application that reads a formatting object (FO) tree and renders the resulting pages to a specified output. Output formats currently supported include PDF, PCL, PS, SVG, XML, Print, AWT, MIF and TXT.
txt2pdf: Perl 5 program that convert text directly to PDF. Shareware.