4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 1, 2012 2:32 PM by lonecrow

    Personalized reader enabled forms


      HI, Here is my use case:


      1) Visitor completes an HTML form on website

      2) Info is stored in local db, some transformations are done etc

      3) Some info is then populated into fields of a PDF reader enabled form

      4) pdf saved and emailed to visitor

      5) Visitor enters additional information into the form saves it and and sends to a company rep

      6) Company rep enters additional info in form, saves it and sends back to visitor

      7) repeat 5 and 6 as neccessary.

      8) Form is printed



      Where I am at implementing this

      1) I have Acrobat X and have created "reader enabled" form

      2) Using 3rd party tool (ABCpdf) I am able to populate pdf form fields via webserver script

      3) PDF is emailed to visitor

      4) Visitor is unable to enter data because form is no longer "read enabled"


      This is were things fall apart.  As soon as the 3rd party tool touches the PDF it is no longer a "reader enabled" form. This is true even if all the 3rd party tool does is "open" and "save" with absolutly not other operations performed on PDF, the simple act of opening and saving disables the "read enabled".  I have spoken with the vendor of the 3rd party tool and says that there is nothing they can do about this.  I have experimented with other tool vendors and the same seems to be true.




      1) If instead of ABCpdf I used the Acrobat SDK would I be able to programmically populate my form while having it remain "reader enabled" ?


      2) If I installed Acrobat on my web server and used the Core API would that work?


      3) Is this what LiveCycle is for?


      4) Looking at the the LiveCycle portion of the Adobe website and it looks like there are many different products. Which is the minimum product for this use case?


      5) Is there a way to use LiveCycle that doesn't involve having the PDF submit the data to the back end directly?  I really do just want the info saved in a PDF.


      6) Since I have no need of digital signatures or some of the other features I have read about with LiveCycle, should I just drop PDF from this use case and use web forms instead?  (I would be done by now if I had started with this option).



      Much thanks to anyone who can answer these questions.

        • 1. Re: Personalized reader enabled forms
          Bernd Alheit Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          2) You can't use Acrobat on a server.

          • 2. Re: Personalized reader enabled forms
            Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

            1) The "reader extensions" facility is proprietary to Adobe, and it's impossible to change a PDF without destroying it. Acrobat can, however, put it back as if it were never lost.


            3) LiveCycle isn't a product, but a wide suite of products which only have that part of the name in common. (There are suites I believe). LiveCycle Reader Extensions is what you need. It also doesn't have the 500 usage limit that is likely to hit you too.


            6) Or alternatively, why are you working with PDFs rather than transforming form data (FDF, XFDF, XML), which works much better with Reader, and gives you a data set more amenable to analysis?

            • 3. Re: Personalized reader enabled forms
              lonecrow Level 1

              Thanks Bernd,  I will look into LiveCycle Reader Extensions.  


              This is supposed to be a short term solution to help smooth workflow while a full web portal is being developed.  The web portal will provide access for customers, sales, partners, etc.  and emailing pdf's around won't be part of it.   So this solution is supposed to be for the next siz months so I would rater not spend more then a day or two on it and I have already burned a day



              "transforming form data (FDF, XFDF, XML), which works much better with Reader, "      


              Can you tell me more about this?   Is this like shooting an XML file at a PDF for presentation?





              • 4. Re: Personalized reader enabled forms
                lonecrow Level 1

                Bernd,  I have done some reading on (FDF, XFDF, XML) but I havn't seen any examples yet that point to being able to meet my needs.


                If I could write a script that populated a reader enabled form via XML and the form remained reader enabled, then great. That is if I didn't need to buy, and more importantly install and configure, some new adobe framework and overhead like livecycle.


                Thinking about your first comment that "reader enabled" can just be re-enabled.  Since this is only a 6 month solution I think my plan will be to to use human power.  The PDF  populated via my web form will be sent to the rep first who will save it again as "reader enabled" then he can bounce it around as much as he wants because it will never be touched by my script again and should remain reader enabled.  So all I have to do is buy him Acrobat for his Mac and this is done.


                Thanks for your help