Rage Against the Form

Rage Against the Form


Joel Geraci

I’m taking a break from the usual Sample of the Week again to post a little news about how the Datalogics PDF WebAPI is being used. Adobe Acrobat DC was released on Tuesday. I’ve been playing with the prerelease versions for the last few months and I must say that I’m very impressed. Adobe has managed to make using the more advanced functionality of Acrobat more discoverable and easier to use. Working with electronic forms is a much better experience regardless of where you’re starting from, a fully interactive form, a scanned image of a paper form or anywhere in between, they all work more or less the same way.

As part of their promotion of the new release, the social media team created “#FormRage Selfies”, a site where you can create a custom “selfie” that helps you vent your frustrations with paper forms. Lori DeFurio, Group Manager, Social Strategy at Adobe told me “We want the experience to work on mobile as well as the desktop, content to be easily shared on social networks, and to leverage PDF technology”. So I recommended the Datalogics PDF WebAPI to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Check it out then come back here and read how it works.

Take your time… I’ll wait.

How #FormRage Selfies Works:

The site is an interactive user interface that drives the Datalogics PDF WebAPI. The five backgrounds are actually PDF forms hosted on the FormRage server. Users select the background they want, choose a font, color, and font size and then enter their own message. Each step of the way the image updates with their selections. In the background, the site submits their choices as form data to a server application that formats the request for WebAPI where it merges the PDF and the form data, in this case just the text message is visible but the selections for the font, color and size are also merged into fields on the form. The WebAPI then runs JavaScript in the PDF file to modify the message field properties to match the user selections, flattens the form, and converts it to an image.

Using PDF for the page templates allowed the designers to work with tools that they were already familiar with like Photoshop and Illustrator to combine images, text, and vector graphics into a compelling design. Adobe Acrobat made it easy to convert that static artwork into a PDF form that can be scripted and customized for each individual user. And the Datalogics PDF WebAPI allowed the web developers to use familiar technologies like PHP, JavaScript, and JSON to create a web application that could work with PDF files without knowing anything about the PDF file specification or install any PDF libraries on their own servers. Integrating PDF into your web application can really be that simple.

Sign up for a free Datalogics PDF WebAPI account today.


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