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Author's profile photo Otto Gold

Adobe forms: Use your imagination (first!)

I try to help people with their problems/ questions in the IFbA forum like every day and what I have found behind most of the questions (not the basis ones like “my ADS is not working, help me, its urgent!!”) is that people don´t know how to solve problems in more than a single way (or even not a single one) and has no imagination to come up with a new/ better/ faster (etc.) approach.

Behind many questions there are people who can do some basic things in Adobe forms (because that is not their job, how many of us has worked on the projects, where there were so many forms that the project could pay a guy for the Adobe forms only…) and are frustrated these basics don´t fit to the clients’ needs. Sometimes you need to/ must completely change your approach because the way you´ve chosen is very awkward to do or use, not scalable, not maintainable or doesn´t solve the whole problem (“nobody wants to say “I have succeeded with the half your task, don´t expect the second half” to his client). Sometimes it is enough to use these basics in a little different way and you don´t need any “advanced” techniques.

That leads me back to adapted proverb: “think first, think in variants, develop later“. You can spare some time or your good temper:))

For example, there are questions like: ” I would like to use Adobe forms in my workflow.” (Why? I ask. How?) “Because my clients want me to do” (Mostly means that the client is using Adobe and wants to use it everywhere:))).

My typical answer:

Do you want the form to be a transport medium? (If you write the data into a form only to spare the backend coding for every WF step – you don´t need to save the data from every WF step, mostly the last one is enough. It also answers the question if the form is WD/ online – because you would have to maintain all the steps in the backend, WD is only a screen and doesn´t hold data itself, but the offline/ saved filled form can hold data).

Do you want the form to be send as a change notification? Or do you want to archive the WF steps result (like in GOS etc.) (You can use the WF data to print a print form and send it through email to notice somebody that a change has been made and he needs to archive the file, send to the partner/ client etc.)

Through what GUI can the user access the WF? If he can use the portal, then the WD form is an option. You can also use the “off-SAP workflow” with the offline form, which is only uploaded back to SAP through portal (or SAP GUI user which has mostly the better license type).

Do you want to use some Adobe+WF framework (like HCM P&F, ISR)? (obvils mason). Etc., etc.

Is it always better to be able to choose the approach or to let your customer choose it. You won´t get caught in the corner with something you can´t do.

Like my first morning post today:

Question: We have a requirement where we need to display the address which is fetched in to a internal table in a block in adobe interactive form.

My answer: There are options how to send the address into a form:
1) There is “business address service” (BAS: http://www.****************/Tutorials/AdobeForms/Address/WithBAS.htm).
2) There is a way how to directly send the standard texts into the form – through context text elements.
3) To format the address you can use multiple text fields arranged in the positioned subform. You can use the “standard custom” Library component Address block (tab Custom in your LCD). If you would like to use this option and doesn´t like the “standard custom” address, create your own Library component with this blog
4) You can also use the static text with floating values within (right mouse, floating field)
5) you can use the table, sure, create a subform table, subform line/ row, create a single text field to display the string line from your backend source table, do the binding
Comment: maybe the data are not extracted from DB/ prepared for the form the right way, so you can´t use some of the options. Maybe you can use the other way, which will make coding faster/ easier, helps the user maintain his data with some more comfort etc.

Hope this helps you/ inspires you to think about “thinking in variants”. Have a nice day, Otto

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