Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer

'Script Editor' Category Archive

FormFeed Debugging Tips

My friend John Brinkman has posted a really good list of handy form development and debugging tips. Check it out! These tips could save you a lot of time and effort. I use them all the time when I work on forms with Designer, Acrobat and LiveCycle Forms.

One other nice thing about console.println() for outputting debug information to the JavaScript Console in Acrobat is that these strings are also output to the Flash Log when you run form guides generated with LiveCycle ES Update 1 (8.2.1) using the Flash Debug Player. (The 3rd part of my MAX 2008 Tutorial series has details on how to set this up under the “Flash Log and Debug Players” section.)

Posted by Stefan Cameron on May 27th, 2009
Filed under Acrobat,Debugging,Designer,Form Guides,Script Editor,Tips

Setting JavaScript as the Default for New Forms

If you’ve ever written scripts in Designer, you will have noticed that the default scripting language is FormCalc which is a problem if you need to (or prefer) to write your scripts in JavaScript.

The easiest way to make sure that all your new scripts default to the JavaScript language is to use the Form Properties dialog and set JavaScript as the default scripting language (in the Defaults tab). The problem with this setting is that it affects only the current form. If you’re like me, you create lots of forms every day, you constantly forget that the default scripting language is FormCalc and you only remember once you’re running your form and you get a FormCalc error message box in Acrobat telling you that your syntax is incorrect. How annoying!

Fortunately, there’s a way to set JavaScript as the default scripting language for all new forms — based on a specific template. The default setting for the scripting language is actually specified as a processing instruction in the XML Source. If you create a new document and go to the XML Source tab, you’ll find the following processing instruction set as a child of the <template> element (also shown in the image below):

<?templateDesigner DefaultLanguage FormCalc?>

Since all new documents created in Designer are based on templates and that each template comes with its own set of processing instructions, modifying the processing instruction in the template would effectively modify the default scripting language on all new forms based on that template. Going one step further and making that modified template your default template would ensure makes things even easier when you’re creating new forms.

Fortunately, you don’t have go to the XML Source view to modify this processing instruction. Instead, you can set its value using the Form Properties dialog (accessible via the File menu): In the Defaults tab, set the Default Language property to “JavaScript”.

Modifying Designer Templates

In Designer, you use the Template Manager to organize your templates. You can access the Template Manager from the Tools menu.

To modify a template, you can follow these easy steps:

  1. Create a new document based on the template you wish to modify.
  2. Make the necessary modifications (like setting the processing instruction for the default scripting language setting to "JavaScript").
  3. Save the new document as an "Adobe LiveCycle Designer Template (*.tds)" file. If you want to replace an existing template (say "Letter"), use that same name as the file name for the new (modified) template file you’re saving.
  4. Using the Template Manager, select the tab pertaining to the group in which you want to add your new template. If you’re wanting to replace the "Letter" template, for example, select the "Standard" tab.
  5. Right-click in the list panel and select "Add Template…". Select the template you just saved and it’ll be added to Designer’s "template store". Note that if the name of your new template file is the same as an existing template in the group you selected (e.g. the "Letter" template in the "Standard" group), you’ll be prompted to overwrite the existing template.

One important thing to note in the way Designer handles templates is that any template file you add to the Template Manager gets copied into the "template store" which means that new documents based on that template aren’t actually based on the template file in the location where you saved it but rather on the copy that was placed in the "template store".

If you’re wondering what the "template store" is, it’s actually a folder inside Designer’s Application Data folder on your system. While I don’t encourage you to look in there (because you might see things that look interesting but you shouldn’t be playing with ;) , if you find them, then you should also be able to open them directly in Designer and modify them without having to create a separate copy.

Updated: January 17, 2006

Posted by Stefan Cameron on January 10th, 2007
Filed under Events,Script Editor,Scripting

XFA SOM Expression Generator

Have you ever had trouble figuring-out what the SOM expression is for a particular object which you’re trying to address within your script?

If so, here’s a tip that might come in handy the next time you’re stumped:

With the input focus (the “I” beam) set within the event you’re scripting on the Script Editor palette in Designer, hold-down the Control key and move your mouse over the canvas. Notice that as you hover over objects, the mouse pointer switches to a “V” cursor. If you click, the full SOM expression for the object you clicked will be automatically inserted into your script. But that’s not all! The generated SOM expression will be automatically formatted to work with your script’s language settings:

If you haven’t named the “page 1” subform and you pick an object on it, you’ll get the following code if your script’s language is FormCalc:


If your script’s language is JavaScript, you’ll get the following code (for the same object):


Note that if you click on the object on which you’re scripting the event, “$” will be inserted for a FormCalc script and “this” will be inserted for a JavaScript script.

Posted by Stefan Cameron on June 5th, 2006
Filed under Script Editor,Scripting