I recently exchanged emails with a client to answer questions about how their large insurance business could take advantage of Reader Extensions for PDF files. Here’s one question and my reply:
> 1. When I download the PDF can I work on it and save it while I am
> working on it in case it takes me a couple of days to complete?
If you have Adobe Acrobat, sure. If only the free Reader, then no.
Absent 3rd party software, there are three solutions for Reader users:
- Adobe Reader Extensions as conferred by Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 or 9. Advantage – free with the software, super-easy to apply. Disadvantage – a licensing limit of 500 instances of the form collected, or 500 named users. Also, Acrobat-conferred Extensions do not include the specific ability to add attachments, to spawn new pages, and several other features available via the Reader Extensions Server.
- Adobe Reader Extensions as conferred by an Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions Server (LCRES). Advantage – no 500 instance/user license limits, also, the ability to add attachments (and some other nifty abilities as well). Disadvantage – the LCRES is VERY expensive (but may be negotiable for your size of implementation, call your friendly local Adobe rep). Individual PDFs with Reader Extensions, or “blessings” (as I think of them) are commercially available, but can cost thousands per form, as many of our clients know from bitter experience.
- Build your own server to provide an “online save” function for Reader users. In this model, the user submits the form to the server in order to save the data in the form. The same user can then later retrieve that form-instance from the server, complete the form, and perform a formal “submit” into the processing workflow. Advantage: This solution avoids the whole question of Reader Extensions, and offers other flexibility besides. Disadvantage: This approach requires that users have an internet connection through which to save/retrieve the form AND it requires significantly more server-side development to establish an “interim submit/restore” function on the server, not to mention the uptime requirements, etc, etc.
By Duff Johnson