We are currently evaluating LiveCycle ES and had some general questions on the capabilities of LS:
1. Is the only way for desktop applications to interface with LiveCycle ES is through web services?
2. Many of our PDF documents are generated by running a Crystal Report, then exporting to PDF. Is there any way for LiveCycle ES to run a Crystal Report and export the PDF, passing in parameters? Does anyone have a solution for this?
3. Can LiveCycle ES server serve as a document repository library, storing thousands of pdf's for later retrieval, where each document in the library would be associated with a database record? If an outside desktop application had the database record, would the application be able to use LiveCycle web services to use the database record to ask LiveCycle to retreive the document associated with the database record?
1. Yes. LiveCycle ES enables SOAP access to all core services and all custom services (the processes you orchestrate to use the core services). Any client tooling that can consume WSDL can produce an executable to utilize LiveCycle ES.
2. Ideally you would use LiveCycle ES to generate PDF documents. There is nothing out-of-the-box that enables this functionality. However, LiveCycle ES has a variety of tools that can be used to integrate with third-party applications, including the file system, JMS, FTP, Web Services. The dependencies typically lie with the third-party application and the APIs and protocols it supports. LiveCycle ES is highly extensible. It designed to enable the creation of custom components to solve problems such as this. Take a look at the Programming with LiveCycle ES to get a sense of the possibilities.
You can interact with LiveCycle using different methods from a client's environment. You can use web service, watched folder, email, java api, remoting (for Flex application) and the Workspace client. You have other options that just web service.
Just an addition to #2 above. We have crystal reports that generate a report with grouping, calculations, sub reports, formatting, crosstabs, etc. from database data. We export some of them to be saved in the document server.
Does LSES have the capability to create complex report easily, with select database tables, seting report parameters, creating sub reports, etc.? I didn't see such reporting capability in LiveCycle ES, but maybe I missed it.