16 June 2008
One year ago, Adobe released LiveCycle ES, a major architectural upgrade to LiveCycle 7.x. This release combined what was once multiple integrated server-based products into a true SOA-based platform. Now Adobe has released "LiveCycle ES Update 1" which further builds on the LiveCycle ES platform by providing new services and making significant tooling improvements.
LiveCycle ES Update 1 introduces LiveCycle Content Services ES, a fully integrated set of content services, ranging from an enterprise content repository to social collaboration tools such as enterprise forums. LiveCycle Content Services ES is now part of the base LiveCycle ES platform providing features such as check-in/check-out, versioning, auditing, archiving/retention and access rights management (see Figure 1). You can find more information about content services here.
LiveCycle PDF Generator 3D ES automates the creation, assembly, distribution and archival of Adobe PDF files from a wide-range of business applications and formats. This basically extends the capabilities of LiveCycle PDF Generator ES to include a wide range of CAD and engineering file formats. Formats include Catia, V4/V5, CGR, 3DXML, NX, NX I-DEAS, Solid Edge, JT, Pro/ENGINEER, Wildfire, CADDS, SolidWorks, Inventor, OneSpace Designer, Parasolid, ACIS, STEP, IGES, IFC, VRML, 3D Studio, Collada, OBJ, Lattice and Universal 3D. The resulting PDF file has 3D interactivity along with the features that you would expect in a PDF file including attachments, interactive form data, etc. Through orchestration, the PDF can also have additional LiveCycle capabilities applied to it such as rights management, etc., making this a very powerful combination for manufacturing (see Figure 2). For more information about LiveCycle PDF Generator 3D ES, visit the LiveCycle PDF Generator 3D ES page.
LiveCycle Workbench ES is the IDE for the LiveCycle software. LiveCycle Workbench ES provides two perspectives: one for building forms and the other for working with or creating services through orchestration (workflow). LiveCycle Workbench ES now provides a dialog box for locating services. In the past, users had to navigate a tree of nearly 200 services to find the appropriate one. Since many customers are adding their own services to the ones included with LiveCycle ES software, this search capability is a great time saver. Another enhancement is record and playback. LiveCycle Workbench ES allows the development of new services by combining existing services in an orchestrated process (see Figure 3). Some of these processes are fairly simple, such as a simple sequence of actions. However, many customers are now building much more sophisticated orchestrations that include conditional paths, parallel actions, etc.. The record/playback feature provides a means of recording the path of an orchestration and then playing back the process step by step to see how the flow was affected by variable values and other factors. The net result is better development and faster debugging. Last but not least is a new feature in workbench that validates an orchestration. Basically, it performs a series of tests on the process definition to confirm that there are no problems with it such as orphaned actions, redundant paths, etc. By catching common problems early, the development process becomes more efficient.
The LiveCycle ES software provides the ability to export an application along with its assets (variables, images, documents, etc.) to a single LCA file (LCA = LiveCycle Archive). This file can then be imported to another instance of LiveCycle. LiveCycle ES Update 1 broadens the scope of the LCA to also include the defined service endpoint configuration and their security (endpoints can be SOAP, watched folder, EJB, Flash remoting, email, etc.). Deployment can now also be scripted eliminating many manual steps previously required. New backup and recovery capabilities have been added, including the ability to perform hot backups.
Support has been added for 64-bit Windows, Solaris/JBoss and many more platform combinations including Linux. LiveCycle ES Update 1 also introduces a new turnkey installer. There are now two turnkey options — Windows/JBoss/MySQL and Windows/WebLogic/MySQL — both come pre-configured and ready to go, including sample applications, etc. The turnkey installer has been popular, especially in development environments.
Many LiveCycle customers take advantage of the ability to integrate people into a LiveCycle application. This has resulted in the addition of business calendar-aware services. It's now possible to define reminders, escalation rules, etc. that are business calendar aware (e.g. after 8 business hours, redirect to a manager) (see Figure 4). Also, the out-of-office handling is improved, allowing a user to redirect work while out of the office.
To learn more about the LiveCycle ES software, I suggest the following starting points:
You should also download the LiveCycle ES Update 1 beta.