Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer

Adobe AIR 1.0 Released!

While this may not immediately seem related to LiveCycle and forms, it’s too important not to mention: Today, Adobe released version 1.0 of it’s AIR platform which basically lets you deploy Rich Internet Applications to user’s desktops and run across operating systems.

What’s the link with LiveCycle? Well, as of LiveCycle ES, all processes (new and deployed) now have a remoting interface which can be used to invoke a LiveCycle process from another application as well as pass input parameters to it.

This means that you could, for example, write an AIR application in Flex that has a "submit" button that could initiate a LiveCycle process, passing it some collected data, which would, in turn, assign a new form-filling task to a user. Upon opening the form as a PDF in Acrobat/Reader or as a Form Guide, the user would be presented with a pre-filled form or guide using the data that was submitted from the AIR application.

There’s so much potential there so go forth and mash-up! If you make something cool, please let me know!

Posted by Stefan Cameron on February 25th, 2008
Filed under General
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Adobe AIR 1.0 Released!”

  1. John Nesbitt on March 19th, 2008


    I assume that the next version of LiveCycle will use the Flex 3.0 SDK to build Form Guides. This would be pretty exciting as customised panel layouts would be able to take advantage of AdvancedDataGrids and (the best part) would allow the caching of the Flex framework in the Flash Player (this should almost halve the size of the .swf!).

    Can I start to get excited that by the fact you mentioned that AIR may not “immediately” be related to LiveCycle and Forms that there are plans to allow Form Guides to be exported as an AIR application in a future release?!?! The ability to create a portable Form Guide (albeit with the requirement to build customised layouts to take advantage of the Net API to monitor for web connection to get data / version updates) would be so damn cool!

  2. Trevor Ward on March 25th, 2008

    Hi John,

    Yes, Form Guides is using the Flex 3.0 SDK in the LC release this coming summer. We are still working through what the ultimate size impact will be.

    As for AIR support, we are in discussions about how best to handle this, but note that it is expected that you will not be “required” to build custom layouts
    to make this work. Just create your own “host” AIR swf that brokers AIR capabilities (we will provide a sample). That “host” would swfload the Form Guide SWF (created by Guide Builder) as an asset which had been included in the AIR package when it was created. This makes it just a standard normal use of AIR.
    There may be some limitations with what is provided, but it is good to hear the strong interest.

    Note: Switching to the PDF (offline) is not expected to be support in the first version.

  3. John Nesbitt on March 26th, 2008


    Great to hear that the support is being considered and that it should be an easy task to complete.

    I guess the host would essentially just replace the existing HTML template that is rendered by LC Forms (i.e. it sets up the message handlers, then calls back to the LC server for the Form Guide SWF and then pass the flashVars to it). This would be ideal because you could then cache the SWF & PDF in the host and simply call a web service to check that they are the latest version – if not, it could request a new versions from LC Forms (via renderFormGuide). Another web service call would then retrieve the data that populates the SWF.

    Another advantage to that is that you’d also be able to show the DownloadProgressBar while swfload loads the SWF – at the moment, the preloader is overrideen with ga.ui.DownloadProgressBarCustom which, as far as I can tell, does not actually show the download progress (even when less than half of the SWF hasn’t downloaded in 700ms). Our Form Guide SWFs are over 1Mb each and public facing so while they are downloading, all the user sees is a blank preloader (the progress bar does not increment and there is no status displayed). Once the download is complete, the preloader then displays the “Initializing…” status and the progress bar starts at about 70%.

    In our case, we actually use a customised Toolbar and remove the switch to / from PDF so that lack of functionality won’t be an issue…just as long as the whole concept behind Form Guides remains (i.e. the data entered into the SWF populates the PDF under the covers so that a nice printable version of the form is produced).

    Thanks for the heads-up – can’t wait for the public beta (I am visiting Labs everyday hoping to see the public beta link),

  4. Trevor Ward on March 27th, 2008

    Hi John,

    Just to clarify a couple points. I stated that the Guide SWF would be an “asset” of the AIR app. That means it would be inside the installed AIR app,
    not requested from the Server at run-time. This is a Security sandbox issue. It is possible to get it via the Server, but it does bring up issues as to
    what exactly was “signed and certified” when the AIR App was created.

    In the 8.2 timeframe we expect that the Form Guide SWFs will only allow one Guide per AIR App. This is due to the fact that Form Guides are not
    currently compiled as Modules but as standalone SWFs (thier initial intended use) and don’t unload cleanly when used in this manner.
    They will unload when the AIR App closes.

    As for the PDF support, I had implied that there would be no PDF support at all (not just losing the flip part). But, we have investigated a bit further
    and PDF support (with flip as well if wanted) should be ok.

    I will look into your “swf loader” issue.

  5. John Nesbitt on March 27th, 2008


    Thanks for the clarification. I haven’t yet looked at AIR app security in detail but it makes sense that you aren’t allowed to dynamically load new applications into it at runtime.

    I guess then that if the host was just a self updating AIR app with the Guide SWF as an asset, then you would be building the Guide offline (i.e. with Designer) and thus negate the need for Forms ES at runtime?!?! If that’s the case then are you going to create a server side certification / signing system (much like Reader Extensions) to sign the AIR app / Guide SWF so that people are still required to buy a Forms ES license?

    Good to hear that PDF support will be available because that’s what we see as the power of LiveCycle PDFs / Form Guides (little duplication of business logic to produce both a printable PDF and a Flex app).

    Thanks again for your help – I’m even more excited about 8.2 now!


  6. Trevor Ward on March 27th, 2008

    Hi John,

    No plans for forcing certification / signing by the server. I trust that Forms ES and LiveCycle ES as a whole have more value than just serving back a PDF or SWF. It is more about adpotion of AIR and Guides with the expectation that the Server-side will add value and thus be licensed.

  7. Randy Taylor on February 20th, 2009

    I need a walk through of how to deploy a form guide in Air. Is there any way to encourage you guys to continue your dialog it was really interesting!

    I need stand alone form guide that renders PDF (:<)

  8. Trevor Ward on February 26th, 2009

    Hi Randy,

    If you look at
    I have posted a sample that shows how you can create an AIR app with a guide and pdf. (might take a while to show up).

    [Stefan Cameron] More specifically, see the Form Guide in AIR app with a PDF post.