PDF Conference 2005
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PDF Forms and Database Connectivity Solutions
Franklin J. Garner, III
President and CEO
September 26, 2005
Every company and organization uses business forms, and now most have PC’s with access to
the Internet. With great software like Amgraf OneForm Designer Plus (OFDP) and Adobe
Acrobat, paper forms can be converted to Internet forms (I-forms) thereby saving significant
costs in printing and storage. With additional effort, I-forms can be extended into fillable,
submittable containers for data capture, retrieval, presentation, and processing.
The benefits of database-connected I-forms solutions include improvements in productivity,
transaction accuracy, and user satisfaction. So where’s the problem?
Forms layout and design, and even the steps to insert fill fields, are usually graphic designer
tasks. A non-connected PDF form is a self-contained file with everything packaged within the
visual image. To make an I-form submittable, the originator must go beyond the form image and
interact with software for field data extraction, data communication with acknowledgement, and
navigational methods to start and end the form filling session. These functions have traditionally
been performed by computer programmers, and are worrisome tasks for graphic designers.
Adding database connectivity also introduces another layer of complexity onto I-forms.
This white paper is intended to clarify the technical issues involved in implementing an I-forms
data collection and retrieval system.
Basic Internet Forms Functionality
Internet forms can be used for many online transaction functions. The starting point is where the
image of a form is converted so that it can be displayed on a computer screen and output to a
local printer. Most Acrobat Distiller users have mastered this conversion step, and many web
sites now have links to PDF forms for user access. Upon clicking a link, the free Adobe Reader