14 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2010 8:38 AM by Jodi1725

    Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer

    MarkWalsh Level 4
      Up until now, I have only created forms in Acrobat using Javascript, but I'm working on something that requires a client to be able to embed a logo into a PDF. I don't believe there is a way to do that with Javascript, so I'm delving into LiveCycle for the first time. I was able to do a quick test with an image field, and that seemed to do what I want on all platforms I was testing on (I need it to work with Reader), so now I need to learn a bit more to finish the work with the text fields I will be working with (luckily, they will be few). The files I will be working on will be for print only (they are to allow the client to customize an item for a specific site with logo and company name), but I believe they may be sending the file to a print shop for large volume printouts (I don't know if this will have any problems with using the LiveCycle forms).

      As this is my first experience with LiveCycle, I thought I'd ask if there is anything I will need to be aware of, and if there is any good references to look for. I will spend some time this weekend looking over the PDFs I have on scripting in LiveCycle, but would be interested in any other information

      Also, are there any pros/cons to using Acrobat forms vs Livecycle forms?
        • 1. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
          Patrick Leckey Level 3
          > I thought I'd ask if there is anything I will need to be aware of, and if there is any good references to look for

          Check this out:
          http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/designer_scripting_samples.html

          > Also, are there any pros/cons to using Acrobat forms vs Livecycle forms?

          Oy, that is a long and complicated list. Could you narrow it down to a specific area, maybe specific functionality?
          • 2. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
            MarkWalsh Level 4
            Thanks for the link.

            >Oy, that is a long and complicated list. Could you narrow it down to a specific area, maybe specific functionality?

            Yeah, I kinda figured it would be. I guess what I'm looking for is a general idea of some of the more popular reasons why people might choose one over the other. The forms I have worked on are not intended for submitting to a server (and they are provided to the client, not hosted on the web); the end user will just print out themselves, and Javascript has provided all of my needs for parsing, formatting and validating fields. Since I haven't used LiveCycle, it's hard for me to imagine what specific functionality it has that would be a determining factor (aside from my current needs in importing a graphic).
            • 3. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
              Patrick Leckey Level 3
              From what you've described, it has all the same functionality, there may just be differences in where the object parameters are set and what the names of those parameters are.

              If you haven't seen them yet, you should carefully read the following documents:

              http://www.adobe.com/go/learn_lc_scriptingReference_82
              http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/articles/AcroJS_DesignerJS.pdf
              • 4. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional
                Mark,

                For forms like the ones you describe working with, I would say that the only compelling reason to use Designer is if the form needs to be dynamic. That is, being able to add fields at runtime, or have fields resize to fit the data being entered. There are some features that are only available with Designer forms, but for the most part, I find Acrobat much easier to work with and program. But maybe I'm just stubborn.

                George
                • 5. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                  MarkWalsh Level 4
                  Thanks, PDL. I have the second document, downloading the first.

                  I figured it would have similar functionality (with differences in syntax) with what I'm used to. Hopefully, I'll get enough time to explore it well enough to take advantage of some of the features that will give me the opportunity to do more than I'm used to. From the little bit I've seen so far, I do like the code editor a lot more (of course, given the less-than-barebones Javascript editor in Acrobat, that should be expected. ;) )

                  I appreciate the input.
                  • 6. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                    MarkWalsh Level 4
                    Thanks, George. That's also a reason I've kept from working in LiveCycle. I find Acrobat easy enough to use for my current needs (although a little less than optimal in working with the fields in a layout manner).

                    The dynamic nature hasn't been a priority for me; although thinking back, there may be a few things that I may have wanted to do in the past that might have been possible (or better suited) with this.
                    • 7. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                      (Aandi_Inston) Level 1
                      In case you haven't picked this up, realise it is all-or-nothing. It
                      is not a choice of interfaces, but a choice of types of form. Once you
                      have done anything in Designer, you must do EVERYTHING in Designer
                      (for that form).

                      Essentially a Designer form isn't really a PDF form any more. It is an
                      XML form, which is wrapped up in PDF. Adobe Reader and Acrobat know
                      how to convert the XML and display it, but nothing else related to
                      normal PDF editing will work (e.g. adding pages, bookmarks, links...)

                      Aandi Inston
                      • 8. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                        MarkWalsh Level 4
                        Thanks, Aandi. I had gathered that it was an either-or situation, but from what I have read so far, I have found that an Acrobat PDF can be imported into LiveCycle, and the code will be available to activate where possible. This I wasn't aware of.

                        So, from what I have gathered so far, am I safe to assume that while LiveCycle can do many things that can't be accomplished with Javascript in Acrobat forms, that anything that can be done in an Acrobat form can be accomplished in LiveCycle (although it may require a different method in LiveCycle)?

                        Thanks for all the input so far.
                        • 9. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                          (Aandi_Inston) Level 1
                          > am I safe to assume that while LiveCycle can do many things that can't be accomplished with Javascript in Acrobat forms,
                          > that anything that can be done in an Acrobat form can be accomplished in LiveCycle (although it may require a different method in LiveCycle)?

                          Not always.

                          Aandi Inston
                          • 10. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                            Patrick Leckey Level 3
                            > am I safe to assume that while LiveCycle can do many things that can't be accomplished with Javascript in Acrobat forms, that anything that can be done in an Acrobat form can be accomplished in LiveCycle

                            Not at all, no.
                            • 11. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                              MarkWalsh Level 4
                              Thank you both.

                              I am going through some of the PDFs and the Help files to familiarize myself with the interface elements and start to get my feet wet. Luckily, the first project that I will probably need to do in LiveCycle should be a fairly simple one (just a few simple entry and calulated fields) so I should hopefully be able to find my way through things without too much problems.

                              Thanks again for all the help.
                              • 12. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                                (Aandi_Inston) Level 1
                                A large key area of things you can't do is things that relate to
                                working with PDFs as normal documents, like delete pages, add
                                bookmarks or links.

                                Aandi Inston
                                • 13. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                                  MarkWalsh Level 4
                                  Ok, I'm getting started and I have a few questions to start with:

                                  In Acrobat Javascript, I was forced to use Javascript for any calculations that were anything past relatively simple, or for text concatenations. This relied on the user having Javascript Enabled. Can I assume that using FormCalc calculations doesn't have this restriction.

                                  In a calculated text field (user enters Account Name in one field, makes a choice from a dropdown list in another field, and this third display field calculates results based on those choices), is it possible to change the size/style of text in part of the field? (e.g. can I make registration marks superscript?)

                                  Is there control over things like letter spacing/kerning in a text field?
                                  *edit* I searched the Help section for kerning, and it doesn't appear possible from what I see.
                                  • 14. Re: Acrobat JS vs. LiveCycle Designer
                                    Jodi1725 Level 1

                                    Hi !

                                    I really know nothing about JavaScript - I was recently given a form to convert from Acrobat to LiveCycle.  Of course there is a HUGE java script that goes with it and I am totally out of my league.  (the woman who originally created the form retired).  Is there anyone that would be willing to help me conver it?

                                    Someone who just loves JavaScript

                                    Mom always said it never hurts to ask

                                    Thanks!

                                    Jodi