We have been using LiveCycle Designer ES4 to create PDF flyers for our branch managers throughout the United States.Each state has different information needed on their PDF flyer so we are using LiveCycle to populate that information and they simply choose their branch.
The PDF’s, after distribution, need to load dynamic data. The managers will have acrobat reader. Once the manager opens the PDF, the PDF will need to dynamically populate the options in a drop-down list by making a call to a SQL Server database, by making a call to a Web Service, or any other reasonable method to pull data from a server. We can support several different data access methods. We are set up with a SQL Server query at this time.
We have tested several methods, and while we can get data to pull in from the LiveCycle development tool, we have not been able to get any method to work in Reader after the PDF is distributed. We need to be able to distribute these documents once, and make sure they stay current by loading the most recent data when the PDF is opened.
What you ask is possible. However, you must extend the form using LiveCycle reader extensions after it is created. Specifically Database and Web Service Connectivity.
Acrobat reader extensions are not sufficient.
I may give you a temporary advice or answer on this. On my knowledge, Adobe Reader cannot connect directly to a database.
I've tried many different options and I've come to conclusion that only Acrobat Pro can connect to a database.
There might be a way to do so using a Trusted Function (not sure).
A trusted function is usually in a file (*.js) that you need to install within Adobe Files on each computer that will open the PDF file, so that each users can trust the content of the behind code.
I don't remember exactly if it could work that way, but I know that Adobe Reader does not connect to database due to Security matters. Unless someone can prove that I'm wrong, I'd be happy to know how.
If there is a way to do so, maybe in Adobe Reader you need to set manually some security settings on the user's computer to be able to connect to a trusted domain or host... blabla...
But on my side I could not do so, because users don't have access to my database, even though I tried to make it work locally on reader with no success...
Unfortunately, the only work around I've managed to do with Reader is to load the database in the PDF file itself (within Acrobat Pro) and once in Reader a Script Object manages the information loaded in hidden fields.
I hope this may lead you to an approach for a solution.
Hope this will help.