Created

6 November 2006

Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES is the latest version of LiveCycle Designer. One of the first things you will note is a difference in our version numbers and brand. ES (Enterprise Suite) replaces the numerical version we used in earlier releases. LiveCycle Designer ES is version 8.1 under the numerical versioning scheme. LiveCycle Designer is an integral part of Adobe's LiveCycle Enterprise Suite and the LiveCycle Workbench ES design environment. When running inside of LiveCycle Workbench, LiveCycle Designer can store and interact with application assets such as forms, images, and fragments. LiveCycle Designer ES can also operate as a stand-alone application and is available as an upgrade to Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional for Windows.

The following is a summary of what's new in LiveCycle Designer ES.

Fragments

Fragments are reusable components of forms that that are external to form designs.

You can design parts of a form once and reuse them across a collection of related forms. When creating a new form for the collection, you insert a reference to the preferred form fragment (see Figure 1). When a form author updates a fragment, all forms that contain a reference to the fragment will reflect the changes when they are re-rendered through LiveCycle Forms ES or saved as PDF from LiveCycle Designer ES. Fragments can be made up of one or more form objects. A common example of this would be an address block for your company that you put on every form. Rather than editing that address block in each form, you can simply change the fragment and all the forms will be updated with the new address block. You can also create fragments from script objects to centralize your forms' scripted logic and make maintenance easier and faster.

In LiveCycle Workbench ES, fragments are saved in one place: the LiveCycle repository. In the stand-alone version of LiveCycle Designer ES, fragments are managed in the fragment library and saved on the file system.

Form guides

Form guides (see Figure 2) are a Flash-based interface through which form authors build on an existing form design to provide a more visually appealing and streamlined method of capturing form data. The enhanced interface can help reduce data entry errors through improved usability by simplifying the information presented to a person that is completing the form. You create and edit form guides using Guide Builder, a tool within LiveCycle Designer ES. LiveCycle Forms ES is required to render a form guide.

PDF print options

PDF print options let you specify default print settings for a PDF form during form creation. When users print the form, a number of printing options are already set for them, eliminating the need for them to configure the print job. The options you can specify are number of copies, duplex/simplex, and printing automatically to a specified printer when the form is opened.

XForms import

LiveCycle Designer ES now imports XForms and converts them to XDP format. XForms is a W3C standard for describing form fields, their data bindings, and form logic. XForms require a host language such as HTML, XML, or XHTML. IBM's Workplace Forms product hosts XForms in their proprietary XFDL format. LiveCycle Designer ES can extract and import the XForms components hosted in these file formats.

Target version warnings

With LiveCycle Designer ES, you can now target a specific version of Adobe Reader/Acrobat and receive version compatibility assistance while you create the form. When you try to use a feature that the selected version of Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat does not support, a message appears in the Warning inspector informing you that the feature is not available in the version you are targeting (see Figure 3).

Syntax checking for scripts

This new option lets you check for syntax errors in scripts while you work. The script errors appear in the Report palette, and the error is highlighted in the script editing window. You can apply syntax checking to both JavaScript and FormCalc languages.

Patterns interface

The LiveCycle Designer ES interface for creating and modifying data, display, and validation patterns has been simplified. When you select a specific pattern (see Figure 4), you can see an example of how the pattern will format data according to the field's country and region locale.

Hardware barcodes

New hardware-rendered barcodes supported by the Zebra printers have been added. Hardware-rendered barcodes are used when printing directly from the LiveCycle ES Output service. LiveCycle Designer ES now supports the following hardware barcodes:

  • Aztec
  • Planet Code
  • RFID
  • RSS 14
  • RSS 14 Stacked
  • RSS 14 Stacked Omni
  • RSS 14 Truncated
  • RSS Expanded
  • RSS Limited
  • UPS Maxicode

Actionable overflow indicators

Text overflow indicators are markers that appear on objects when their values or captions are too small to contain their content. The marker warns you when the object does not hold all of the text entered and provides you with the option to expand the object to fit all of the content by clicking on the indicator.

Metadata in PDF

Form information such as the title, description, and author collected in the LiveCycle Designer ES form properties is now saved into the PDF as XMP metadata.

Printing

The LiveCycle ES Output can print LiveCycle Designer templates directly to PCL, Postscript, and Zebra label printers. In some cases it may be desirable to print on both sides of the page. LiveCycle Designer now enables you to create documents that print single- or double-sided, or switch between single-sided and double-sided at various points throughout the document.

Connect to LiveCycle Workbench ES repository

When using LiveCycle Designer ES outside of LiveCycle Workbench ES, you can set up your file system so that you have access to resources that reside in the LiveCycle ES repository. After your administrator sets up a web folder on your file system and maps it to the location in the repository, you can access resources such as fragments and images. You use the Publish to Repository command to publish the files into the LiveCycle Designer ES repository; the links to the resources are maintained.

Whether you are using LiveCycle Designer ES within LiveCycle Workbench ES or stand-alone, these powerful new features will help you develop effective form and document solutions.