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SaintDanBert 09-06-2012 03:23 PM

online forms with PDF from a linux desktop
 
I want to use interactive PDF forms for a data interchange application. Can someone tell me how to create forms documents in PDF using linux applications? There are several LQ items about adding data to an existing PDF form. I want to make the form in the first place ... without Adobe® Acrobat™ and win-dose.

I can make forms with LibreOffice and various HTML parts. I've used linux almost exclusively for over 10 years. I have win-dose and continue to dual boot because there are a few things that I have been unable to make linux applications do for me. PDF forms is one of them.

What I'm talking about is a PDF document that presents a form. One types into the various fields and can then (1) save the completed form with the field data added, or (2) print the completed form with the field data added, or (3) send the field data by email or CGI to a remote application.

Thanks in advance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

jefro 09-06-2012 04:09 PM

I think the way would be to use any method to collect data to some web based form. Then you could use that to either save to pdf or send to.

The only way I ever saw a sort of easy way was to use once::radix. Kind of a complex process.

Good web page designer should be able to do it in php I'd think.

It is not easy to create what Filemaker pro does.

michaelk 09-06-2012 04:11 PM

scribus might be what you are looking for.

http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Your_...m_with_Scribus

SaintDanBert 09-07-2012 10:10 AM

A web page solution is interesting and may be my only resort. However, I'm seeks something that behaves like people are used to doing things:

1. Here is a form. === Send them a smart document in PDF format
2. They fill the form === smart PDF enables this
3. They return the form === smart PDF forms again

I know this is what Acrobat™ or FileMaker™ deliver as a proprietary feature set.
I keep hoping that someone in linux-land has a reasonable approximation to the high cost
and win-dose hosted approach.

Thanks for your suggestions,
~~~ 0;-Dan

SaintDanBert 09-07-2012 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by michaelk (Post 4774468)
scribus might be what you are looking for.
http://"http://wiki.scribus.net/canv..._with_Scribus"

(blush) I don't know why I never think of Scribus. Your link Scribus PDF Forms has details for making PDF form documents. Some other searching turned up even more information about Scribus and PDF forms.

I'll follow that road and see if it leads me to "interactive" or "live" forms details. I'll report back with what I find.

Thanks, heaps,
~~~ 8d;-Dan

mjolnir 09-07-2012 10:55 AM

I have a number of forms that I created with Acrobat 9 Pro Ext. If I get the chance I'll also give Scribus a whirl. I hope that it will be as simple as copying the javascript from the Reader enabled forms to the appropriate place in Scribus. Probably not. :-)

SaintDanBert 09-07-2012 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mjolnir (Post 4775075)
I have a number of forms that I created with Acrobat 9 Pro Ext. If I get the chance I'll also give Scribus a whirl. I hope that it will be as simple as copying the javascript from the Reader enabled forms to the appropriate place in Scribus. Probably not. :-)

Another useful bit of detail might be: Where does Adobe stash the scripts and can we drop our own scripting into the same place and have it mostly work?

Waiting eagerly,
~~~ 0;-Dan

jefro 09-07-2012 02:33 PM

What I was saying is the format to the user doesn't have to be PDF. The user only needs to see a form. The fact that it is pdf or web html is not needed at this point of the process. We have corporate applications that are just web pages that are pages that look like pdf forms. When a user requests data to be printed the option of a pdf or other format is asked then it is printed or downloaded as a converted pdf file.

SaintDanBert 09-07-2012 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jefro (Post 4775212)
What I was saying is the format to the user doesn't have to be PDF. The user only needs to see a form. The fact that it is pdf or web html is not needed at this point of the process. We have corporate applications that are just web pages that are pages that look like pdf forms. When a user requests data to be printed the option of a pdf or other format is asked then it is printed or downloaded as a converted pdf file.

I can hand a sheet of paper to someone and they write on it.

I can email a PDF file, or share it from a thumb drive and someone can fill it out.

If I share "web page forms" both I and they need an intermediate web server and CGI or application support.
I can't deal with this complexity in my situation.

Thanks in advance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

mjolnir 09-08-2012 03:52 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I d/l Scribus this morning and got to play around with it some. The good news is that after I got my bearings it was relatively easy to add form fields, insert javascript from forms that I built on windows software (Acrobat 9 Pro Ext.), save to pdf, and get the desired behavior on linux (wubi install of Ubuntu 12.04).

The bad news is that I haven't, yet, found how to open a previously created .pdf (Adobe) and display/extract the script within Scribus. I also had no luck getting Evince to work properly. I had to d/l and install acroread (Reader 9) to get proper behavior. I had forgotten that it is a quite sizable d/l.

I should have more time to mess with it tomorrow.

Fred

SaintDanBert 09-09-2012 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mjolnir (Post 4775794)
...
I also had no luck getting Evince to work properly. I had to d/l and install acroread (Reader 9) to get proper behavior.
...

That is quite a lot of effort in a short time. Congratulations and thank you.
I, too, have trouble with Evince and many PDF files. I started using Okular (yes, its a KDE app)
and have not looked back. Even so, there are some PDF file attributes that choke anything except
true Adobe® software. You gotta love proprietary software ?!

~~~ 0;-Dan


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