Which LiveCycle Modules Do I Need?

In my last post, I attempted to draw some basic distinctions between the 14 product modules that make up Adobe LiveCycle.  In reality, there are more like 40 different components under the hood. Fortunately (since 14 modules are difficult enough for most of us to manage), these service components are not licensed individually.  They are packaged into product modules (e.g. LiveCycle Output).  However, this disparity between “license” modules and actual service components can be the source of considerable confusion.  It can especially complicate the, seemingly simply, question, “Which modules do I need?”  This question comes up in almost every LiveCycle conversation, but can be slightly devilish to answer.  Let’s explore why…

At its heart, LiveCycle is a set of service components for processing documents.  The “licensing” modules that so neatly package up these components obscure some important details.  When a customer licenses LiveCycle PDF Generator (PDFG), they get several service components, including:

  • Generate PDF
  • Distiller
  • Assembler
  • Convert PDF Service
  • Doc Converter
  • Encryption Service
  • PDF Utilities
  • XMP Utilities

Similarly, when a customer licenses the Output module, they get:

  • Output
  • Assembler
  • Convert PDF Service
  • Doc Converter
  • Encryption Service
  • PDF Utilities
  • XMP Utilities

Notice that several components are included in both modules.  This complicates the apparently straightforward question, “Do I need PDFG or Output?”  Either may suffice, depending on the requirements.  For example, if you only wanted to use the functionality of the Assembler component, you could purchase either PDFG or Output.  Just to make things really interesting, the Assembler component is also included in the Forms and Content Services product modules.

The challenge is that the questions are generally posed from the perspective of the modules (which is natural since that’s how the product is packaged), but answers must be phrased in terms of service components.  Obviously, the solution is to identify the unique service components that are required and determine the modules based on those.  To that end, Adobe publishes a Service Reference that describes the specific functionality provided by each service (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/livecycle/9.0/services.pdf).  There is also a guide that details which components are included in each module: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/livecycle/9.0/solutioncomponents_api.pdf. These two documents are indispensable in bridging the gap between modules and components to answer the question, “Which LiveCycle modules do I need?”