As the world becomes increasingly more mobile, we hear a lot of questions about dynamic PDF forms created in the LiveCycle Designer and mobile devices. These forms use an underlying XML structure called XFA (XML Forms Architecture). This XML structure is pretty powerful and allows the form to grow and shrink based on data or user actions. It also provides a scripting model that lets you do some amazing things and interact with objects on the page through code. Many enterprises require this kind of capability for their complex forms.
Along with the changes in the world where more and more people connect to the internet with mobile devices comes a variety of operating systems and browsers. Some of these operating systems place restrictions on what can be done on the device and most of the browsers now provide their own PDF viewers which are not as capable as the Adobe Reader on the desktop. This makes it very difficult (impossible actually) to provide the same dynamic PDF experience you expect on the desktop across all mobile devices using PDF. As a result, Adobe Reader Mobile does not support XFA based PDF’s created in the LiveCycle Designer and it will not provide this support in the future.
Fortunately the XFA structure also allows a single form definition to be transformed into a number of different targets besides interactive PDF. To target mobile devices and ensure a consistent experience across devices (and on the desktop too!) we’ve created a Mobile Forms capability that renders the same template design for PDF to HTML5 and preserves the layout, scripting and dynamic capabilities. Given the nature of HTML and the web, this is not a single file like a PDF that can be routed around in email. It’s an online experience rendered by a server. Using a server platform there are a lot of other capabilities that come into play such as prefilling forms with data, form management, forms workflow and document generation. For more information on AEM forms please see our web page.