Introducing Form Guides

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It has been way too long since I last updated this blog.  Now that I back for what I hope to be much more frequent updates regarding LiveCycle, Flex and rich Internet applications I decided to give my blog a fresh new look as well.

Over the past year I have been on the team that has been actively developing the new form guide functionality released with the LiveCycle Enterprise Suite.  In particular I have been developing the new Guide Builder tool that is included with LiveCycle Designer.  Now that LiveCycle ES has been released this post is the first in a series I plan to write over the next couple of months that covers the new form guide technology and how it works.

Form guides are Flash Player compatible wizard-like panels that help guide people through a data capture experience which are rendered using LiveCycle Forms ES.  While the form guide technology is included with LiveCycle Forms ES, there is also a tool called Guide Builder included with LiveCycle Designer ES that enables form guides to be defined from existing PDF and XML templates.

Imagine you have a document-based PDF form.  While this form is very capable of collecting data it may not be the most intuitive experience for a novice user. Such a form is still required however for going offline, collecting signatures and printing.  Also, if the form has been already imported into LiveCycle Designer additional scripting may have been added. Form guides enable a user to take their document centric forms and apply a new skin or user interface to them while still maintaining the same underlying data model.  In fact, the data model is shared between form guides and the PDF so one could actually enter data in either and see instantly in both renderings of the form!

Providing a different skin to an exisintg PDF form is ony the first step in form guide generation.  Form guides also provide a wealth of new features not available when simply filling out a document-based PDF.  Navigation can be added, sections of the form will dynamically appear as a auser enters data and answers questions, transitions can be added and interactive content incorporated into the final application as well.

 

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