I currently have the Adobe Design Premium CS3 which includes (among other things) Acrobat 8 Professional and LiveCycle Designer 8.0.
I have gone through the LiveCycle tutorials and created a PDF form, bound data to fields in the form, and populated those fields by pressing a button.
I'd like to move onto a real-world application. Specifically, we are currently building an extranet application in ASP.NET running on IIS in Windows. I would like to have my extranet users be able to click on a form name on one of my pages, and have that PDF form come up pre-populated for them with data from our SQL Server database based on their login credentials. They should be able to fill in additional data on the PDF form, and send the PDF form back to us. We do not need to automatically retrieve the data they sent back. They should, however, be able to save a partially completed form to their own hard drive, and complete filling it out when they want, returning it when they want. The only assumption we can make about what the users have is Adobe Reader.
Do I also need a a Forms Server, or should I be able to do what I want with the tools I currently have? I see that there is an entire suite of LiveCycle products available. Also, do I need to have some sort of certification for the PDF form?
You cab use Forms Server to be able to merge the data onto the form. As well you will need Reader Extensions to be able to allow your Reader users to save their files locally. If you buy Reader Extensions you get the LiveCycle foundation which has a data import and export for PDFs. You coudl use that and not get Forms (if data merge is all you want to do).
Actually, the Reader Extensions is another thing I am confused about. I thought that by using the "Advanced/Enable Usage Rights in Adobe Reader" menu option in Acrobat, that gave the user the ability to save files locally.
Nonetheless, it sounds like either Reader Extensions (which includes LiveCycle Foundation) OR Forms Server will meet my needs. Would Reader Extensions be the better choice? Is there a big cost difference between the two? Will I still be able to do what I need to do from within my ASP.NET app? (i.e. merging data into the PDF form dynamically).