Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer

'XFA' Category Archive

Tech Talk on Database Connected Forms

Paul Guerette, a colleague of mine at Adobe, will be giving a “tech talk” eSeminar on connecting forms to databases over at on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 10am PST (1pm EST).

If you have been struggling with connecting a form to a database, are wanting to know what the best practices and/or security concerns are, or have some specific questions you would like to ask, I highly recommend you attend the session. It’s free to attend (and free to become a member in order to attend)!

I’ll be answering chat questions “live” as the session unfolds. I hope you can join us!

Posted by Stefan Cameron on March 10th, 2010
Filed under Acrobat,Data Binding,Designer,Scripting,Tutorials,XFA

Disabling All Fields Within a Subform

I thought I would point-out a nice improvement that was made to XFA <subform> elements back in XFA 2.8: The addition of the access property.

In days of yore, if you wanted to disable all fields and exclusion groups (for the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to these collectively as “fields” in this article) in a particular section of your form, you would’ve had to write a script that recursively drilled down into all children of that section looking for fields to disable. This is because the access attribute only applied to fields.

With this change, assuming the section in question is contained within a subform, you can now easily disable all fields contained within it simply by setting the subform‘s access attribute to “readOnly”!

Continue reading…

Posted by Stefan Cameron on March 8th, 2010
Filed under Scripting,Tutorials,XFA

Tip: Inserting Line Breaks in Text

Did you know that you could insert a line break, as opposed to a paragraph break, in between two lines in a text object using the [Shift + Enter] keyboard sequence?

When editing the contents of a text object, pressing the [Enter] key will produce a paragraph break which means that any Above and/or Below Spacing you have specified will come into effect, amongst other paragraph formatting-related properties. Under the hood, the effect is the insertion of a “new line” character (\n) in a plain text object or a new <p> tag in a rich (XHTML) text object.

Sometimes, however, you need to break a line without producing a new paragraph. For example, you might have a long URL to insert and, given its position within the contents, it ends-up being broken onto another line and you would prefer to keep it on a single line, yet part of the same paragraph. To do this, use the [Shift + Enter] keyboard sequence. The result is a “soft” break to another line without moving to a new paragraph. Under the hood, this translates into the insertion of a U+2029 Unicode break character in plain text or a <br> tag in rich (XHTML) text.

Those of you using a version of Designer which precedes the 8.2.1 release should note that when using [Shift + Enter] in a plain text object, the contents of the object gets converted into rich text since previous versions of Designer would always use the <br> tag to denote a line break. Designer 8.2.1 coincided with the release of Acrobat/Reader 9.0 which provided improvements to the Text Engine in order to support the plain text U+2029 Unicode break character.

Continue reading…

Posted by Stefan Cameron on January 29th, 2010
Filed under Acrobat,Designer,Tips,XFA

Testing HTTP Submit Buttons

While recently helping a few people with some issues related to HTTP submissions from XFA forms, I ended-up creating new Data Service that helps with testing HTTP Submit Buttons.

The service is quite simple: It displays what you submit to it. Since Designer’s “PDF Preview” tab is actually an instance of Internet Explorer hosting a PDF version of the form you’re previewing (a temporary PDF if your form is saved as an XDP or is new), the results are conveniently displayed within the tab itself after clicking on the submit button.

To use the service, simply use either an http submit button (or a regular button with its “Object palette > Field tab > Control Type property” set to “Submit”) and set its URL to:

The idea is to use this service as a means to test/debug your forms before spending time writing the actual server code that will receive the data. You can also use it to ensure that you are submitting the correct data to a third-party service (for which you don’t control the server-side code).

Continue reading…

Posted by Stefan Cameron on December 16th, 2009
Filed under Data Binding,Debugging,Tables,Tutorials,XFA

XFA 3.1 Spec Now Available

The XFA 3.1 specification is now available. Note that while XFA 3.1 is supported by ES2, Reader and Acrobat will not support it until a future release. Therefore, you may want to stick with XFA 3.0 for the time being, unless you have a specific need for XFA 3.1 features within an ES2 environment.

Here’s a short list of what’s new in XFA 3.1:

  • relational data support for data containing multiple tables related by keys;
  • ability to bind to non-schema-defined elements (i.e. data injection into a schema data description);
  • long or short edge duplexing; and
  • support for more label printers, including Datamax Printer Language (DPL), Intermex Printer Language (IPL), and Tally Compressed Printer Language (TCPL).

Posted by Stefan Cameron on December 1st, 2009
Filed under XFA