Hi all,


today’s blog is the second in my series and as mentioned in my previous blog

How to develop a form – A process perspective

this blog will focus on the different techniques and what are the advantages and disadvantages, all from my very personal point.

Now, where is a good start to begin? This is very specific point; it depends on how deep you are into developing forms. I start here with the three basic descriptions and afterwards I show a decision-table (a very personal one).

What are the three different techniques? (a very small part of history included)


Sapscript


is the oldest way to create an output. It has some limitations and out of this reason it isn’t used that much right now. I know a lot people saying that this way to create output is horrible, but I do not agree at all. Yeah, it might be a hard fight to have dynamic boxes and to insert a dynamic picture is really hard to manage. Yes, that’s true, but on the other hand, it has a genius concept behind, is very easy to understand and you get your data on the paper in less than 5 minutes if necessary.




Smartforms, the WYSIWYG Sapscript

Why I’m saying that, because the entire introduction always starts with what you see is what you get and that is in my opinion nearly everywhere NOT true. I mean, if you do not have just hard coded values without any dynamic flow on the paper it might be true (but in that case it would be easier to go for Sapscript). Anyway, I do not want to take the given opportunities away. Smartforms is based on an interface and that is a big + to it. With Smartforms it is possible to have one form reused in a very easy way if you know how to use an interface. But that was another story and I already published it here

10 Tips how to make a smartform easier and more readable.


SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe (IFbA)

http://www.zebra.com/id/zebra/na/en/index/about_zebra/alliances/strategic_alliances/erp/interactive_forms.Par.00011.Image.gif

This is today the state of the art technique to deliver forms. In release 6.40, SAP introduced Adobe forms and this was a major step for all the form-developers. It uses also an interface and additional to that, as the name already tells it has an own IDE developed by Adobe. This IDE contains everything you ever used before in Word / Openoffice or whatever you are addicted to. IFbA has a lot of good stuff for you. For example you can save the data of the output and use it in your testenviroment to develop the form. You can easily include graphics from a server and a lot of different fonts/barcodes/qr-codes are native supported. On the other hand, you leave your ABAP-world just after entering the designer. No ABAP here, just Formcalc and Javascript. You need to have some prerequisites (for example you need to have an Adobe document stack running on your system and you have less chance to debug in an easy way.

Also here a lot of people are talking about the WYSIWYG, but my mind also did not change here.

Enough of talking about the techniques itself and let us continue with the decision table. This table doesn’t contain all the different cases and of course it has a very personal note.


What would(should) I use?

What is the requirement?

SAPScript

SmartForms

Adobe

Complex drawing of lines and boxes (static and dynamic)

No

This is a messy work and take a lot of time

Yes, you got a good support

Absolutely yes!

Label printing

Yes, just depends how complex it is

Yes

Yes, but it will take some time to understand the concept

Graphics without converting or SE78-uploads (BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, EXIF)

No

No

Yes

A lot of different TrueType fonts using in one font

(not Helve and Courier 😉 )

Yes, but not recommended

Yes, but not recommended

Yes

Systembarcodes (that means you do not need a barcode-module

Yes, also here, have a look at SAP-OSS 1558595

Yes

Yes

Interactive scenarios

No, not possibleat all

No, not possible at all

Yes (who would have thought 😆 )

Colored Fonts

No, not possible without using the backdoor

Yes

Yes

How fast can I  find a mistake?

fast

Fast to slow, it really depends on the delivered quality

Fast, but you might end in trouble when you love to code inside your form

What do you need to know

ABAP

ABAP

ABAP + JavaScript / FormCalc, at least you need one of the additional

Conclusion

Now you may say, why don’t always use Adobe. Here is my answer: Adobe is always to prefer, but you also need to see, how much it takes to develop the form. If you have a preconfigured program given by the SAP or you adopt an old one made with sapscript or Smartforms (not the good ones) you might get in trouble to move everything to Adobe. So what I want to say is that you need to decide if there is a quality shifting doing it with Adobe again, especially if you are not that familiar with Javascript/Formcalc and the given workbench of Adobe. I suggest that it offers more than 1000 Buttons and you will never know them all 😕

Hope I could give an insight in the different techniques and may help you with the next decision.

As always, feel free to leave a comment, add something I could insert in the decisiontable and/or give your opinion to this topic.

Cheers

Florian

PS: I really do not know an official Logo of Sapscript. Maybe someone can anwer the question if there is one.

PPS: Next time I do the counting thing again. It doesn’t feel like me without having some bullet points included 😆

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    How timely, Florian

    Just this past week, we have been struggling with the 1099-MISC forms supplied by SAP (these are US tax forms to send to vendors)

    Note http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/2094639 offers by SmartForms & Adobe

    However our developer pointed out that they won’t provide these forms in SmartForms in 2015. 

    We’ve switched to Adobe for this form, but not all forms.  We have a mix of SAPScript (for checks), Smartforms, Adobe and Print Workbench (IS-U specific).

    Great blog, as usual.

    Tammy

    (0) 

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