7 Replies Latest reply on May 22, 2008 2:24 PM by (J_Stalcup)

    pdf form, submit by?, and captcha

      I am a bit of a newbie to the programming side of web design. I have a handful of clients, mostly friends and small ministries, for whom I have created primarily html websites (some CSS and simple PHP). Two of the clients have pdf forms for visitors to fill out and send back by email.

      Problem one is on the site's quote and order forms. Submit buttons for submitting by email. However, the script doesn't initiate (bring up an email program) for people with Hotmail and other webmail programs. Am I doing something wrong or is this not the best way to submit? I know it can also be submitted by url, via http instead of by email, but I have no clue what is involved with having it write to our server and how to access it from there. (https://host36.christianwebhost.com/magdacsihas/magdaOrderForm.pdf)

      The second problem is that we think one of the clients is getting spam emails from robots rather than true order submissions. I read up trying to find out how to add a Captcha security image, but all I could find were related to html FormMails, not to pdf forms. Can robots submit fake orders if I have required fields that must be filled out before allowing submission or do they just record the email address for other types of spam? Can you provide advice on how to better secure the pdfs or should I convert to html forms or what? (http://www.refugeoutreachcenter.org/pp_order_Bulk0508.pdf)

      I need to fix Problem One asap. The client has asked that it be working by this weekend.

      Any help would be greatly appreciated.
      fanis
        • 1. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
          (Aandi_Inston) Level 1
          > However, the script doesn't initiate (bring up an email program) for people with Hotmail and other webmail programs.

          It can't. There isn't an email program for these people.

          >Am I doing something wrong or is this not the best way to submit?

          This is absolutely not the best way to submit. Think of it as
          something handy for testing, but absolutely no use for
          important/commercial data for the general public.
          >
          >The second problem is that we think one of the clients is getting spam emails from robots rather than true order submissions.

          This is alarmingly common.

          >I read up trying to find out how to add a Captcha security image

          Never heard of such a thing with PDF forms. But then again, I've never
          heard of PDF forms being spammed before. But there was bound to be a
          first time.

          >. Can robots submit fake orders if I have required fields that must be filled out before allowing
          > submission or do they just record the email address for other types of spam?

          The people who write these things are smart. It's no use saying what
          they can and can't do.

          Aandi Inston
          • 2. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
            Patrick Leckey Level 3
            You most certainly could implement Captcha-type authentication in a PDF using a webservice, as long as you also submit via webservice so that it can verify the Captcha string before deciding whether or not to accept the submission.

            That is actually a very interesting idea. Oh you've made sure the wheels will be spinning tonight ... thanks in advance for my lack of sleep. ;) Honestly though, cool idea.
            • 3. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
              Level 1
              Thanks for the replies Aandi and PDL! From what both of you are saying, it sounds like I need to do is change the submit method to http, is that right? If so, can you refer me to a tutorial on how to do so? (I'm lost as to where it goes on a server and how it is then forwarded or accessed by the client.)

              As for the spam, I've re-checked with the client and they are not getting fake orders, but emails with the order info in the subject line and either junk in the body or attachments with games or other executable files, which I told them to NEVER open.

              Again, thanks for your help and let me know where to find out more about how to submit via a webservice.

              fanis
              • 4. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
                Patrick Leckey Level 3
                Well, yes, you would have to change to submit via HTTP. But that means you'll need a web server somewhere with a webservice setup to receive your submission and process it how you want. Without that it's like sending an e-mail to someone who doesn't have an e-mail client. The data is there, but the receiving system has no idea how to read it or what to do with it.
                • 5. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
                  Level 1
                  Great! At least that is a start and something I can try to find out about. Should I start out checking with our hosting service to see if something is already set up or is it something that I need to create? If I must create it, do you know of a tutorial anywhere that explains how?
                  • 6. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
                    Patrick Leckey Level 3
                    You will almost certainly have to create it. No hosting service I've ever heard of offers a pre-made solution that fits your workflow.

                    I would start with the W3School examples and then just Google "SOAP Tutorial" for the language you want to write it in (PHP, ASP.NET, Perl, etc.). Also read the entire SOAP section in the JavaScript for Acrobat API Reference, since you will rely on this to script your webservice communications in Acrobat.

                    http://www.w3schools.com/soap/default.asp
                    • 7. Re: pdf form, submit by?, and captcha
                      Level 1
                      Wow! Thanks a million! I will get on there immediately and see what I can do.

                      Thanks again so much!
                      fanis

                      P.S. By the way, hope you get some decent sleep tonight now!