1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 14, 2006 7:51 AM by (Tom_Warfield)

    Central Pro or LiveCycle?

      Hi,
      We are adopting Adobe products for our document processing. Initially mostly for printing and some e-mailing. We do not really want to rule out for future use with forms and web.

      The specific question is, should we go for Central Pro Output Designer or LiveCycle Designer now?

      As a more general question, should we go for Central Pro or LiveCycle? We are not very clear where these products stand in relative terms with each other.

      Does anybody have experiences with both of them? Any issues, any preferences?

      Any reply is greatly appreciated.
      Regards.
        • 1. Re: Central Pro or LiveCycle?
          Level 1
          I don't have any real experience with LiveCycle forms because the Adobe path "went left" and we wanted to "keep going straight" so we continue to use the predecessor product (version 5.0). Besides, we have several hundred forms and lots of VB / VBScript code that would have to be rewritten, debugged & tested
          b and
          we would have to learn JavaScript and the object model underlying LiveCycle forms. I keep up with the product but we don't use it in production. It might be OK for someone just starting out or having to do a full conversion anyway. Personally, I'm also concerned about all the frustration and requests for help on the LiveCycle forum. At least Adobe does have staff monitoring that forum and providing aid to the requests for help.

          Central Pro Output Server (in the current Adobe vernacular) is a great way for producing paper forms (or PDFs, faxes, etc). It can also email the output or send the PDF directly to the originator's PC. Printed output can go to a central printer or to any printer available on the network. We are almost fully converted from our old DOS-based system and when completed at the end of this month we'll be producing approximately 120,000 "packets" of printed forms per month for mailing to clients.

          Unless you use an old, old version of the Output Designer, it is only for producing output (paper, PDFs, faxes, etc). It is
          b not
          a "filler" product. Some other product has to be used for the "filler" side. The older version of Form Designer that we use has a Filler program as well as an API that we use with VB for the "filler" side of the operation. This VB application builds the files that are compatible to Central Pro for producing the output that was designed with Output Designer. We run several custom "agents" on the server for doing various processing of the data besides just printing (update mainframe database, build form archive database, etc).

          If you are anticipating a web operation where the user retrieves a form, fills it out and then prints it or sends the data back to your server for processing, you would then probably want to use LiveCycle forms or custom html forms. If you anticipate the user of the form to want/need to save a partially filled form for completing later, then you would also need the Reader Extensions product (which I understand is
          b very
          expensive).

          Personally, I don't see LiveCycle forms as being the mechanism for producing masses of printed forms. At least not as a stand-alone product. It would probably be OK for the "filler" product with the data being sent to a server applet that passes it on to Central Pro. Of course, that would mean you
          i might
          have to design the form twice - once for LiveCycle and once for Output Designer.

          For our existing forms (which we maintained a copy as a PDF) we purchased a product that takes PDFs and turns them into Output Designer forms. Converted from PDF or newly created in Output Designer, with the older version of the Form Designer we are using we are able to export it and then import it into the Form Designer and then add the "filler" elements.

          If you choose the LiveCycle route and have PDFs of your existing forms then they can be imported directly into LiveCycle. If they are like our PDFs, with no fields, you would then have to add the fields. Of course, if you then use Central Pro for printing, you will have to get the forms into Output Designer somehow - by hand or using something like we did (FormBridge by Texcel Systems) for converting it.