An introduction to Forms Manager

Adobe® LiveCycle® ES4 is offering a new component – Forms Manager – that simplifies form management.

Forms Manager exposes most common form management operations through an HTML based user interface helping non-IT users to easily upload, download, preview, configure, activate and deactivate forms. It also exposes search APIs which can be used by developers to expose these forms to the end users through their existing portal.

Forms manager supports management of XFA forms (.xdp) and related images. The Forms are maintained on the LiveCycle server as part of LiveCycle applications, with additional meta data maintained in the embedded CQ instance. All existing LiveCycle applications containing form and image assets are automatically made available inside Forms manager after upgrade.

Various Forms Manager capabilities for developers and form administrators include:

  • Upload and Download of forms and images through the Forms Manager UI by form designers to add new forms, and modify existing forms.
  • Import and Export of forms through LiveCycle Archive files to help migration of data from one server to another (eg. staging to production servers).
  • Automatic replication of the Forms from LiveCycle native repository to embedded CQ instance to keep the Forms Manager data in sync with the LiveCycle native repository.
  • Support to add additional meta data to the forms like:
    • Title of the form
    • Description of the form
    • Author’s name
    • CQ tags
    • Custom properties
  • Advanced search based on various attributes of the form (including meta data)
  • Search APIs to enable developers to share forms on an existing portal.
  • Manual and Scheduled activation and deactivation of forms for managing availability of forms on the customer facing portal.
  • HTML and PDF preview of forms with optional sample data.
  • Viewing and browsing form relationships.
  • Configure submit URL, render profile for the form.
  • Synchronization of forms between LiveCycle

A LiveCycle user having  ‘Forms Manager Administrator’ role can log in to Forms Manager by accessing the URL: http://<server>:<port>/lc/fm (Super Administrator has this role out of the box).

FM-001

Forms Manager

Forms Manager initial screen can be divided into 6 main parts (refer to the attached screenshot):

  1. Tab bar: The tab bar shows the various forms that are currently opened by the user. The user can switch between the open forms by clicking any of the open tabs.
  2. Breadcrumb: Forms Manager provides a folder like interface which can be used to traverse the various applications, folder and forms. The breadcrumb is shown during the traversal to provide the user with the information about his current location and offer shortcuts.
  3. Action Bar: The action bar contains the basic search pod on the left side which helps perform a full text search on the forms. On the right it contains action buttons for editing the meta data of the form, uploading/downloading forms and images, activating and deactivating forms, and form preview (HTML & PDF).
  4. Advanced Search: The advanced search pod is initially hidden to provide more space for the form listing area, and can be expanded by clicking on the pod.
  5. Form Listing Area: This area lists down all the applications/ folder / forms and images. A user can select the Forms button in Action bar to show only Forms (hiding the folders and images).
  6. Options Widget: The options widget provides information about the user logged in, and admin options to perform on demand synchronization/scheduling.

For more information on the exciting new features introduced in Adobe LiveCycle ES4  refer to the LiveCycle ES4 documentation link: What’s new in Adobe LiveCycle ES4 . For more information on Forms Manager Introduction to Forms Manager

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LiveCycle ES4 now Available

In an earlier blog post we announced the upcoming release of LiveCycle ES4 . The LiveCycle team is very pleased to inform you that LiveCycle ES4 is now generally available. ES4 makes it easier to create, manage, and publish large numbers of forms on websites and allows mobile clients and workers to actively participate in business processes, improving engagement and productivity.  See LiveCycle ES4 in action and find out more about what’s new in the ES4 documentation.

LiveCycle customers with maintenance and support contracts will be able to access ES4 from the Adobe licensing website (LWS)  in the coming week.  LWS account owners will be notified by email when ES4 has been posted to their organization’s account.   A trial version of ES4 will also be made available March 31st.  If you are not a currently a LiveCycle customer we encourage you to contact your Adobe representative or solution partner for more information.

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Mobile Workspace in offline mode

With the release of ES4, Mobile Workspace introduces offlining of tasks that have been assigned to a user. This helps the customer to work even when they are out of the network area. The users can perform actions associated with the tasks namely open the task, update and even complete the task while the application is offline. Once the user goes online, the application can be synced to the LiveCycle server. With this implementation, application provides a great user experience and no delay since everything works as if its on the device. The time consuming actions and tasks are done in background to enable the user best experience in the form of a mobile app.

Overview

User is logged into the Workspace after validation of credentials stored in the key-chain. The data associated with any task includes the form and the attachments. Mobile Workspace enables you to configure what all data you want to offline for a task. By default the application does not store any data for the task and these settings can be changed by the user.

ds_mws_gen_set

Working offline

Once the settings have been configured, any further login enables caching of all the task data to the local disk. The forms are stored in the browser cache which is backed up by local disk, where as the attachments are downloaded to the disk. Once this is done, the user can browse through all the tasks and perform any operation on the task in offline mode.

submit_task_offline

Any subsequent operation on the task like save or complete marks the task into the outbox filter. Hence it is able to track the work done in offline mode.

outbox_filter

Sync offline work

Once the user comes online, the offline work can be synced back to the server. The status bar on the main screen shows the status of sync. the failed tasks are marked and remain in the outbox thereafter. Otherwise the tasks get synced to the server and the application is marked updated to current time stamp.

after_sync

 

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HTML Workspace in LiveCycle ES4

Adobe LiveCycle ES4 has come up with a brand new HTML based Workspace along with the traditional Flex-based Workspace. HTML Workspace matches the capabilities of the existing flex workspace and adds new capabilities to extend and integrate workspace and makes it more user-friendly. HTML Workspace is purely based on html technology and doesn’t require Adobe Flash player or Adobe Reader to work.

HTML Workspace is a web based application hosted on CRX. When Workspace is opened in a browser, a CRX resource is accessed, and the application is rendered as HTML page in the browser. Because it pure html based and even hosted on CRX, it becomes more easy to enhance and customize this workspace and takes no time in deploying new changes. This HTML Workspace has been designed into modular JavaScript components which can be individually customized and reused in other web applications.

htmlws_overview

Below are some key capabilities and new features of HTML Workspace:

  • Pure html JavaScript based application, even has the capabilities to take existing xdp or pdf and render it as complete html form. And hence increase its visibility from desktops to tablet devices.
  • HTML Workspace is the component-based software, so it can be easily customized and reused in other web applications. Each component follow Backbone library to have MVC architecture in web application.
  • HTML workspace supports a new summary pane for the tasks. With this summary pane, User can show additional information about the task using an external URL. This feature will be quite useful for a long running task where reviewers or approvers of the task can see the complete summary of the task instead of going through complete task form or other details.
  • HTML Workspace also support for managers view which will allow managers to access or act on tasks of their direct reports. It will also allow managers to drill down, in the Organization hierarchy, to tasks of their indirect reports.
  • One of the important features of HTML workspace is the support for integrating third-party applications inside HTML Workspace. This will allow Organizations to integrate their custom workflows into LiveCycle Workspace like render Adobe LiveCycle CM letter templates as tasks within LiveCycle Workspace window and thus complete the task in Workspace itself without going into LiveCycle CM UI.
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New PDF Export formats introduced in PDF Generator ES4

PDF Generator ES4 introduces new export formats which convert PDF documents to Office Open XML formats (DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX). These conversions use Acrobat based conversion route to perform the operation.
Similar to other existing export formats these new formats are only available on Windows platform, and are single-threaded. The output generated would have the same quality as standalone Acrobat Export option.
For converting files to the new formats the user can use the PDF Generator UI, and in Export PDF screen select the desired export format:

Export PDF Screen

Export PDF

For converting the files using Java API a developer can use the enumerations:

  • ConvertPDFFormatType.DOCX
  • ConvertPDFFormatType.XLSX
  • ConvertPDFFormatType.PPTX

Here is a sample code snippet for exporting to the new format:


//Create a ServiceClientFactory instance
ServiceClientFactory factory = ServiceClientFactory.createInstance(connectionProps);

//Create a GeneratePdfServiceClient object
GeneratePdfServiceClient pdfGenClient = new GeneratePdfServiceClient(factory);

//Get a PDF document to convert to an RTF document
String inputFileName = “C:\\testFile.pdf”;
FileInputStream fileInputStream = new FileInputStream(inputFileName);
Document inDoc = new Document(fileInputStream);

//Convert a PDF document to a DOCX document
ExportPDFResult result = pdfGenClient.exportPDF2(
inDoc,
inputFileName,
ConvertPDFFormatType.DOCX,
null);

//Get the newly created RTF document
Document createdDocument = result.getConvertedDocument();

//Save the RTF file
createdDocument.copyToFile(new File(“C:\\testFile.zip”));
}

As seen in the code above, the output generated is a zip file which contains the exported DOCX, XLSX or PPTX file.

 

For more information on the exciting new features introduced in Adobe LiveCycle ES4  refer to the LiveCycle ES4 documentation link: What’s new in Adobe LiveCycle ES4 .

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PDFG ES4 with UAC enabled

Adobe Livecyle ES3 SP2 and ES4 now supports running PDFG with UAC enabled. Apart from the code changes done in PDFG some OS level settings are also required. This article describes these settings and configurations required for PDFG to work seamlessly. However please note that UAC should be disabled at the time of Livecycle installation and Configuration.

 1) Update the following settings related UAC. From the Start-> run type gpedit.msc .Go to Windows Settings ->Security Settings-> Local Policies ->  Security Options

  • User Account Control:Only elevate executables that are signed and validated should be “Disabled”.

 snap1

2) Replace process level token should be turned On for the Administrators. Type gpedit.msc  Go to  Windows Settings ->Security Settings-> Local Policies -> User Rights management ->Replace Process level token.Add all the PDFG users here.
 snap2

 3) Change the folder permission of the PDFG temp folder and give rw access to all the users in step#2.

Additional Information:

  • PDFG temp should be created under c:\users\<UserName>\Appdata\Local\Temp\ pdfg-<Username>.Where Username is the user running the Appserver 
  • We need to explicitly give rw permissions for all users.Assigning permissions to admin group does not work.

P.S: If any of the setting is not done correctly you will see “Connection to failed service”.

 

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How to render xdp as HTML form in HTML Workspace

By default xdp forms are rendered as PDF forms even in HTML workspace. So to render/submit existing xdp/pdf as HTML form in HTML Workspace, we need to add a new action profile called “HTML” which will include render process as “render new html form” and submit process as “submit new html form”. Below are some simple steps to configure this:

1. Goto Adobe Livecycle Workbench ES4, and open your existing process for which you want to change the configuration regarding render/submit processes.

2. Then goto “Presentation & data” section in Process Properties window and click “manage action profiles” as depicted in below snapshot.

pic1

3. Then in “manage action profile” dialog, create another action profile and name it as “HTML”. With this profile, configure render process as “render new html form” and submit process as “submit new html form”. Select this profile to be used and click OK button to save your changes. See below snapshot.

pic2

Note: Please note change your action profile from default to html in all “assign task” or “start point” activity in this current process.

4. That’s it, now you can just check-in and deploy your updated process. Now if you open this process (start point) in HTML Workspace, it will be render/submit as HTML form.

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Requirements and Recommendations for running LiveCycle PDF Generator ES4 on Windows 2008 server

To get the full advantage of PDF Generator features provided by LiveCycle ES4 on Windows 2008 Server, administrator needs to ensure that all the prerequisites are met for conversions to succeed. Based on the conversion formats required, some of these prerequisites may not be applicable.

This blog tries to list down these requirements with a brief description on each of them.

Run application server as a service

It is highly recommended that the LiveCycle server should be running as a Windows service. In case of turnkey installation, the service is created automatically as part of the installation, but for non-turnkey installations this needs to be done manually. Here are some helpful links (though the links may vary based on the specific version of the server you are on).

Select the user with which the application server should run

The user account used to run the application server needs to have following privileges:

  • User account should be Local System Account, or a member of the Local Administrators group on the machine
  • The user account should have ‘Replace a Process Level Token’ permission.

Local System account has this permission by default, but if the server is running with a user of Local Administrators group this permission needs to be granted explicitly. For granting this permission:

  1. In the Windows Start menu, click Run and then enter gpedit.msc.
  2. Click Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment and edit the ‘Replace a process level token’ policy to include the Administrators group.gpedit
  3. Add the user to the Replace a Process Level Token entry.

Note: In case of a cluster, the server needs to be run as an Administrator account to allow access to a shared GDS folder.

Disable UAC (User Account Control) during installation and LCM

It is required that User access control should be disabled on the server during the installation and LiveCycle configuration.

Steps to disable UAC on Windows Server 2008 R1

  1. To access the System Configuration Utility, go to Start > Run and then enter MSCONFIG.
  2. Click the Tools tab and scroll down and select Disable UAC.
  3. Click Launch to run the command in a new window.
  4. When finished, close the command window and close the System Configuration window.
  5.  Restart your computer.

Steps to disable UAC on Windows Server 2008 R2

  1. To access the System Configuration Utility, go to Start > Run and then enter MSCONFIG.
  2. Click the Tools tab and scroll down and select Change UAC Settings.
  3. Click Launch to run the command in a new window.
  4. Adjust the slider to the Never notify level.
  5. When finished, close the command window and close the System Configuration window.
  6. Restart your computer

Run PDF Generator configuration batch file

PDF Generator configuration batch file available at: <LiveCycle Installation Directory>\pdfg_config\Acrobat_for_PDFG_Configuration.bat needs to be executed on all the nodes in the cluster. In case of turnkey and non remote installations, this step is automatically performed on the server, but in case of remote deployment this step needs to be performed manually.

For details on running the configuration batch file on remote machines, please refer to the blog post: Configuring PDF Generator ES4 on windows for remote deployments.

Add users to PDF Generator user account list

PDF Generator requires atleast 1 user to be added to the PDFG User accounts list for conversions to work. This requirement is also enforced by the LiveCycle Configuration Manager (LCM). Here are some considerations while adding users to the PDFG user accounts list:

  • The users being added should have Administrative privileges on the server machines (part of Local Administrators Group)
  • In case of a cluster, these users should be valid on all the nodes in the cluster
  • If a new user is added, or an existing user is removed, a server restart is required
  • In case a user password is updated, the same needs to be updated in user account configuration in PDFG UI under User Accounts (password change does not require a server restart).

Ensure full read/write/modify permissions on LC temp / PDFG temp folder

By default all Local Administrator Group users have full control on all the folders (read/write/modify). But at times the domain controller enforces some additional security on the servers which can cause restrictions on certain folders.

Ensure that user with which application server is running, and all the user accounts added to PDFG users accounts list should have full control on the temp folder (configured during LCM run or through AdminUI >Home > Settings > Core System Settings > Configurations).

Permission issues may be seen when instead of adding the users individually, the Administrators group is given the permission. It is recommended that user accounts should be added individually.

Note: PDFG Temp folder refers to a folder inside the LC Temp folder, created on first PDFG conversion. PDFG temp folder is created with the name: pdfg-<username> when the server is running with an Administrator role user, or with the name: pdfg-<machinename>_ when running with Local System Account.

Granting permissions

  1. Right click on the temp folder
  2. Go to the Security tab
  3. Edit the permissions and add all the required users individually with Full control option.

Disable Windows error reporting

It is recommended that Windows error reporting should be disabled on the server machine to avoid third party dialogs during PDF conversions (as it can cause intermittent failures). To disable error reporting on the server:

  1. Open Server Manager by clicking Start, pointing to Administrative Tools, and then clicking Server Manager.
  2. On the Server Manager home page, expand the Resources and Support area if it is not already open.
  3. Click Configure Windows Error Reporting.
  4. On the Windows Error Reporting Configuration dialog box, select ‘I don’t want to participate, and don’t ask me again’.

Set Adobe PDF Printer as the default printer

Various print route conversions require Adobe PDF printer to be set as the default printer. The printer is installed along with Acrobat installation and is required to be set as the default printer on the server machine.

To set the Adobe PDF printer as the default printer, right-click on the Adobe PDF printer and select ‘Set as default printer’

Note: If a remote desktop session is opened to the server machine and client has the option ‘use printers in the remote session’ enabled (default), the default printer on the server machine is modified and can result in failures. It should be ensured that the option is disabled while taking a remote desktop on the server machine.

Run System Readiness Tool (SRT)

System Readiness is run as part of LCM, and reports main configuration issues on the server. Based on the application/file types you plan to convert the report should not contain any errors/warnings. Some of the checks done by SRT include:

  • JAVA_HOME is set correctly, and is of supported version
  •  JAVA_HOME _32 is set correctly to a 32 bit JDK, and is of supported version
  • Acrobat_PATH is set correctly
  • Acrobat version is correct (Acrobat XI)
  • PDFGen.api is copied to Acrobat plugins folder
  • FrameMaker / PageMaker / OpenOffice / WordPerfect / Notepad path are set
  • Applications versions for various supported applications
  • Adobe PDF printer is set as the default printer
  • Print spooler is in a running state
  • PDFMaker DLL is registered

Verify file format specific requirements are met

For details on various application specific configuration please refer to the blog post: File Format specific PDFG configuration requirements in LiveCycle ES4.

 

For more information on the exciting new features introduced in Adobe LiveCycle ES4  refer to the LiveCycle ES4 documentation link: What’s new in Adobe LiveCycle ES4 .

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Configuring PDF Generator ES4 on Windows for remote deployments

PDF Generator configuration batch file performs a set of configurations on the server machine which are required to successfully perform various conversions. The batch file is run as part of the LiveCycle configuration for turnkey and local deployments, but is required to be executed manually in case of remote deployments. For a clustered deployment, this needs to be run on all nodes in the cluster.

This post provides the steps to run PDFG configuration batch file manually on a remote Windows server machine.

Note: The configuration batch file needs to be run after the required software has been installed and initial dialogs dismissed (for Acrobat 11 and other required software based on the file formats you want to convert). A server restart is required in case you have already run LCM and the server is in a running state.

Steps to run the configuration batch file manually:

  1. Ensure UAC is turned off on the machine while performing this task.
  2. Log in to the remote LC server machine through which Acrobat XI was installed.
  3. Create a folder, eg: C:\LC_Config_Files
  4. From the machine where LiveCycle ES4 is installed – copy the following folders to the LC_Config_Files folder
    1. plugins
    2. pdfg_config
    3. pdfg_srt
  5. Create a folder with the name ‘configurationManager’ inside  LC_Config_Files folder
  6. On a command prompt
    1. Browse to the folder : LC_Config_Files\pdfg_config
    2. Run the batch file: Acrobat_for_PDFG_Configuration.bat
  7. Run SRT (System Readiness Tool) to verify the configuration. On a command prompt
    1. Browse to the folder : LC_Config_Files\pdfg_srt
    2. Run the command:  SystemReadinessTool.vbs out
    3. This will generate a report in LC_Config_Files\pdfg_srt\out (SystemReadinessTool.html)
    4. Review the generated report of any issues

For more information on the exciting new features introduced in Adobe LiveCycle ES4  refer to the LiveCycle ES4 documentation link: What’s new in Adobe LiveCycle ES4 .

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File Format specific PDFG configuration requirements in LiveCycle ES4

PDF Generator supports a large number of file formats for conversion to PDF, and requires corresponding software installations on the server. Below is a list of applications which are supported by PDF Generator, including the file formats each application supports.

Generic Requirements:

  • PDF Generator is supported only on English, French, German and Japanese platforms (operating system), and each platform should have all  applications installed in the same language.
  • WordPerfect is only supported on English platform.
  • Some applications require environment variables to be defined.
  • Only 32 bit versions of applications below are supported.

Application specific requirements:

  • Adobe® Acrobat® XI Pro : XPS, DWG, DXF, DWF ,Image formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPG, TIF, TIFF, PNG, JPF, JPX, JP2, J2K, J2C), HTML formats -
    • Acrobat_PATH should be set to Acrobat.exe  path
    • All initial registration/activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • Acrobat should be installed after all Microsoft applications have installed.
    • Automatic updates should be disabled.

     

  • Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Project (versions: 2007/2010): DOC, DOCX,  XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, RTF, TXT, VSD,PUB, MPP -
    • Acrobat_PATH should be set to Acrobat.exe  path
    • All initial registration/activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • Acrobat plugin should be visible inside Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Visio/Project
    • Adobe PDF printer should be seen as default when printing
    • Adobe Acrobat Distiller should be launched manually once for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.

     

  • Adobe PageMaker® 7: PMD, PM6, P65, PM -
    • All initial registration/activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • PageMaker_PATH should be set to PageMaker exe path

     

  • Adobe FrameMaker® 8.0: FM -
    • All initial registration/activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • FrameMaker should be configured to use ‘Framemaker’ product interface (to be selected when FrameMaker is first installed). This can be updated from Preferences section too.
    • Adobe PDF printer should be seen as default when printing
    • FrameMaker_PATH should be set to FrameMaker exe path

     

  • Corel WordPerfect 12 / X4: WPD -
    • All initial registration/activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • Adobe PDF printer should be seen as default when printing
    • WordPerfect_PATH should be set to WordPerfect exe path

     

  • OpenOffice 3.x: ODT, ODP, ODS, ODG, ODF, SXW, SXI, SXC, SXD, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, RTF, TXT , Image Formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPG, TIF, TIFF, PNG, JPF, JPX, JP2, J2K, J2C), HTML, HTM -
    • All initial registration activation dialogs should be dismissed for all the PDFG user accounts configured on the server.
    • OpenOffice_PATH should be set to OpenOffice installation directory

     

For more information on the exciting new features introduced in Adobe LiveCycle ES4  refer to the LiveCycle ES4 documentation link: What’s new in Adobe LiveCycle ES4 .

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