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Author's profile photo Florian Henninger

How to develop a form – A process perspective

Hi all,

Today’s blog is the first of a series in Output Management. I really thought a long time about what to focus here and finally I found it.

So now, some of you might think: “What he’s talking about?” – I’m talking about developing a driver program from the very beginning with all the necessary steps between.

There are some blogs available at the moment and I want to draw the whole picture, so that everyone is able to start from the beginning and hopefully got a good developed driver program and also a good Sapscript/Smartforms/Adobe in the end.

A guide how to handle the process from the request to the final form.

What to do before getting your hands on your keyboard and what not to forget when having the hands on there

30% is developing with the hands on the keyboard, what are the other 70%?

What do you expect from your output?

This blog will focus on the different techniques and what are the advantages and disadvantages, all from my very personal point. I will also share my lessons learned and perhaps it helps some to avoid some pitfalls. This blog complete the first part of the process.

Here is the link: What do you expect from your output? (Added 23-Nov-2014)

How to begin – What are the different sources and what is a good basis to start with?

Where to look for proper/preconfigured programs/forms and how I decide if I take it or leave it in the end.

What are the sources and what to do before you start (Added 15-Dec-2014)

Interfaces in forms – What to do and what not to do?

There are a lot of mistakes out there or people believe how things work. Because it is showing the correct value doesn’t mean that it is a good solution. I don’t want to tell more right now.

How to enhance my own programs – Enhance the interface?

This blog will focus on the interface itself and how to make your life easier when the program returns to you.  I’m not sure at the moment if it gets an own blog or if I include it in the Interface in forms blog… I will see at the moment I’m writing it.

Make your smartforms more readable

That is already here. Here is the link: 10 Tips how to make a smartform easier and more readable

And because this intro blog would be really short I start here with the first blog in the series

What to do before getting your hands on your keyboard and what not to forget when having the hands on there

The headline says the complete blog in on sentence. You got different techniques to develop an output for your customer / company (or whatever you are developing for).

That means in the beginning you have to translate all the necessary things from the business.

Until this point there is no difference between developing and if you follow a previous recommendation of mine

Be a better developer

I think everything is fine.

But, forms are most of the times not in the direct focus. The reason might be that all people focus on the system and the doing inside it.

Easy example, business is thinking about having new pricing things, everybody focus on the calculation view and if everything is managed correct. Often the form is passed out and in the end there is a ticket for me 🙂

But that is not everything you have to think about. I made myself a decision-card which I use a couple weeks right now.

It doesn’t contain the whole picture I think, but if you take care about these points (ok, here is my counting again 😎 ) I’m pretty sure you can speed up your developing or if you are doing it in a similar way you are able to add something useful to it.

Ten questions I ask always in the beginning:

1st What techniques are available in this system?

If Adobe is available try to use it. It is the state-of-the-art technique and you are very flexible with it.

2nd Are there other forms already developed?

I always try to match the “mainstream” in a system. All forms developed with Sapscript and no need to change to another technique out of the business requirement I stay with Sapscript.

3rd Is a corporate design necessary?

Normally there is one in a company. You need to take care about it in any case, if there is no hard-written book available take your time to check other forms and have a look at it. It ends in a lot of wasted time when you are just designing things by your own. It is just like music, not everyone likes hard rock.

4th Is a layout-proposal offered?

Nice if you have one, but most of the times it just contains less information, because the business cannot imagine the output in the end (at least all the different variants). So it is very important to call the responsible persons from time to time and discuss the next steps.

5th Do you need special information on the form?

That question is not that clear, what I mean is if it is necessary to print a datamatrix / barcode or if the form is planned to put in the next machine afterwards (automatic mail-machine for invoices for example).

6th What about future requirements?

Any plans to enhance the today-build program? I let all the stuff explain to me and decide within the future requirements. It doesn’t help you and your business just because of saving one or two days of developing today, if that mean you need a lot more time in future to maintain or to enhance the form.

7th What kind of device-types are installed?

Different types mean different behavior and so I have to know before starting with my work. There a lot of OSS-Notes out there, for example this one: 90437 Generic device types do have less space between letters. That is very important to know before designing the layout.

8th How many people using the form in the end and how much printouts are expected?

This is a very important question too, this let me decide how I handle my data.  Example: Business wants a delivery number printed. The select need to pass 5 tables before it is available. This information helps me to redesign the process and not let my driver-program fetch the information leaving every performance behind. Sometimes this leads to a complete other developing for me too.

9th Translation needed?

Answered with yes, what is the default and if already forms there how is the translation managed? (This is another story to tell, because there is another way next to the SE63 available, a custom-made way, but in my opinion with a lot advantages)

10th Are you pretty sure about the nine questions before?

The most important question at all. Make sure you write down all the answers and summarize it in a document and give it back to the business. Everybody involved should have a copy of it (also the guys of the marketing division).

In any way keep always in mind that another developer should be able to answer all the given questions with this document. It always helps to sent it before to another developer and ask for feedback.

That’s it, this is the first part of my blog series and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Feel free to leave a comment and/or give your opinion to this topic.



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