Author Archive: almitche

The Basics of Form Guides

What is a form guide?

A form guide is a wizard based in Adobe Flash that you can create as an alternative method for your users to enter data onto your form. A user is literally guided through the data entry process, which helps to reduce entry errors by limiting the amount of information presented to the user at any given moment. So instead of seeing a mass of fields and text – because the powers that be demand that you cram as much as possible onto that one sheet of 8.5” x 11” – the user sees chunks of information with animated transitions to move them from one chunk to another. It makes filling out forms feel less like, well, filling out forms.

Click here to see what a form guide looks like.

Note: To view form guides you must have Adobe Flash Player 9 or later installed.

Why would I want to use a form guide?

There are lots of reasons why you might want to use form guides, but here’s an example modeled on a real world case. The following image is of an immunization form.


To see a larger image, click
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The requirements of the form stipulated that users can print and fold it into a booklet in which medical staff could then manually write records of immunizations for a particular patient. Somewhere along the way someone decided it might be nice to also make the same form available in electronic format, but the user should print and fold the form after entering the data. Given this situation, you could create two separate forms, or you could go 21st century and make a form guide. The image below shows the form guide created for the immunization form. As you can see it’s a lot nicer than having to rotate your head ninety degrees every so often.


View image

How do you create form guides?

You create form guides using Guide Builder, a tool available in LiveCycle Designer ES. As it turns out this is a handy arrangement because you create form guides from form designs, which are also created in LiveCycle Designer ES. Once you create a form guide for a particular form design, the form guide definition is actually saved inside the form design itself.

If you want to view a form guide as if you were the user doing the data entry, you can preview it right in Guide Builder. However, when you want to actually deploy a form guide to users, you will need to either:

  • Create a process design in Workbench ES that renders a form guide to Workspace ES. Your users then access the form guide through Workspace ES.
  • Render the form guide from a Java or web services applications using the LiveCycle Forms ES service to render the form guide. Your users access the form guide using the Java or web services application.

Read More

You can find a bunch of information about form guides in our product documentation. Check out the links below:

Have fun creating your own form guides. Drop us a note to tell us about your experiences.

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LiveDocs: Demystified

What are LiveDocs?
LiveDocs are a technology developed at Adobe that allows you to provide feedback on our product help documentation. That feedback comes directly to the team responsible for creating the documentation that you commented on.

Providing comments using LiveDocs is one of the best ways to get our attention and make a positive contribution to the larger Adobe community. Other readers will be able to see your comments, as well as any responses we make to you, which helps others who may share the same thoughts or issues. If your comment highlights something we need to change, we make sure that we address the issue for the next time we post the documentation. We also put the offending writer(s) on half rations of food for a month to teach them a lesson 😉

Can I provide comments on any piece of LiveCycle ES documentation?
Not yet. We still distribute a portion of our documentation as PDFs. However, a significant percentage of our LiveCycle documentation is available in LiveDocs, including (but not limited to):

And many more. For a complete list of what is available, visit the documentation web site and look for items that include a LiveDocs link.

How do I use LiveDocs?
Using LiveDocs is fairly easy. Before you begin though, you will need to get an Adobe account. There really are benefits to being a member in this case.

Once you have an Adobe account, browse through one of the pieces of documentation available in LiveDocs. Once you open a help system, you will notice an Add Comment button at the bottom of each page in the help. To add a comment, click the Add Comment button. You’ll be asked to sign into your Adobe account, if you aren’t already, and then you’ll be taken to a simple web page with a single Comment field. Type in your feedback, and then click Submit.

Your comment is routed directly to the LiveCycle documentation team to be verified. This step is a must to prevent things like spam and Hello World! style comments. Someone from our team approves the comment and then the writer(s) responsible for the section that you commented on are asked to provide a response within 48 hours. We take that deadline very seriously. You have taken the time to enter a comment, the very least we can do is return the favor.

What kinds of things can I comment on?
If you’re the kind of person who sits in an aromatherapy bath reading through the documentation as if it were one of the great pieces of literature, we want to know why you think so. Similarly, if you read something and think ‘I wouldn’t even line my bird cage with this tripe’, then we want to know why.

In addition, if you have experiences or sample code you want to post for the benefit of other users, then that’s terrific. We are all about bringing people together.

That’s it. We look forward to hearing from you!

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