Do I need Forms or Form Data Integrator?

I have had some discussion recently on our Forums and with LiveCycle developers around the question, when exactly do I need LiveCycle Forms vs. just using the simple “Form Data Integrator” service bundled with Process Management?

In fact if you just want to merge XML form data in and out of a PDF Form (that is Dynamic XML Form, Static XML Form or Acro From saved as a .PDF file) then you can use either Forms or Form Data Integrator. Here is a great little sample that shows you an application that does the same thing with both Services: Form Data Sample

Form Data Integrator is just a utility for merging XML data with a PDF Form. Forms on the other hand gives you much more control over the rendering process, scripting behavior, origin of the template, even rendering a PDF Form into HTML. For example: Forms API But even more important is that you need the Forms Service to handle any use cases that demand XDP as the file format of your Form Template – such as dynamic rendering with XDP Fragments.

So in summary, most Forms processing use cases will need Forms. But if you only need to merge XML data in and out of a PDF file format form, then Form Data Integrator might be for you.