Welcome to my blog.  My name is John Brinkman, I’m the LiveCycle forms architect.  I have been with Adobe (and previously JetForm) for 13+ years.  Most of those years have been spent working intimately with the XFA technology. 

Does cyberspace need another yet-another-blog?  Well, for starters, I have to say that the form design space has some excellent coverage.  Mainly from Stefan Cameron: (http://forms.stefcameron.com/) but also the Designer team: (http://blogs.adobe.com/lcdesigner/) and Steve Tibbet: (http://blogs.adobe.com/stevex/).

My initial reason for starting a blog is to communicate some best-practises in form design to our customers and partners.  Over the past nine months I have been looking in detail at customer forms.  We know that for various reasons, form authors write too much script.  Having too much script in a form is bad for the environment:

  • Lots of script makes forms complex and expensive to develop, debug and test
  • Lots of script makes it hard for anyone but the author to maintain the form
  • Poorly written script results in poor performance

We want form design to be easier.  Writing script is not easy.  Our ultimate goal would be a form design experience that is script-free.  We intend to enhance Reader to address some of the issues that require scripting — but you can’t wait for the next version.  Many of you are designing forms that target Reader 7 or 8.  My goal here is to recommend some design patterns that will allow you to design better forms with less script for currently shipping versions of Reader.

What I will encourage you to do is to create re-usable general-purpose scripts. Put your complex and clever script into re-usable objects and then free up your novice form designer to use these as black-box magic to make their normal form design operations as simple as possible.

First up on my radar: Improving the radio button experience.

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