Announcement

Collapse

The Alpha Software Forum Participation Guidelines

The Alpha Software Forum is a free forum created for Alpha Software Developer Community to ask for help, exchange ideas, and share solutions. Alpha Software strives to create an environment where all members of the community can feel safe to participate. In order to ensure the Alpha Software Forum is a place where all feel welcome, forum participants are expected to behave as follows:
  • Be professional in your conduct
  • Be kind to others
  • Be constructive when giving feedback
  • Be open to new ideas and suggestions
  • Stay on topic


Be sure all comments and threads you post are respectful. Posts that contain any of the following content will be considered a violation of your agreement as a member of the Alpha Software Forum Community and will be moderated:
  • Spam.
  • Vulgar language.
  • Quotes from private conversations without permission, including pricing and other sales related discussions.
  • Personal attacks, insults, or subtle put-downs.
  • Harassment, bullying, threatening, mocking, shaming, or deriding anyone.
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
  • Sexually explicit or violent material, links, or language.
  • Pirated, hacked, or copyright-infringing material.
  • Encouraging of others to engage in the above behaviors.


If a thread or post is found to contain any of the content outlined above, a moderator may choose to take one of the following actions:
  • Remove the Post or Thread - the content is removed from the forum.
  • Place the User in Moderation - all posts and new threads must be approved by a moderator before they are posted.
  • Temporarily Ban the User - user is banned from forum for a period of time.
  • Permanently Ban the User - user is permanently banned from the forum.


Moderators may also rename posts and threads if they are too generic or do not property reflect the content.

Moderators may move threads if they have been posted in the incorrect forum.

Threads/Posts questioning specific moderator decisions or actions (such as "why was a user banned?") are not allowed and will be removed.

The owners of Alpha Software Corporation (Forum Owner) reserve the right to remove, edit, move, or close any thread for any reason; or ban any forum member without notice, reason, or explanation.

Community members are encouraged to click the "Report Post" icon in the lower left of a given post if they feel the post is in violation of the rules. This will alert the Moderators to take a look.

Alpha Software Corporation may amend the guidelines from time to time and may also vary the procedures it sets out where appropriate in a particular case. Your agreement to comply with the guidelines will be deemed agreement to any changes to it.



Bonus TIPS for Successful Posting

Try a Search First
It is highly recommended that a Search be done on your topic before posting, as many questions have been answered in prior posts. As with any search engine, the shorter the search term, the more "hits" will be returned, but the more specific the search term is, the greater the relevance of those "hits". Searching for "table" might well return every message on the board while "tablesum" would greatly restrict the number of messages returned.

When you do post
First, make sure you are posting your question in the correct forum. For example, if you post an issue regarding Desktop applications on the Mobile & Browser Applications board , not only will your question not be seen by the appropriate audience, it may also be removed or relocated.

The more detail you provide about your problem or question, the more likely someone is to understand your request and be able to help. A sample database with a minimum of records (and its support files, zipped together) will make it much easier to diagnose issues with your application. Screen shots of error messages are especially helpful.

When explaining how to reproduce your problem, please be as detailed as possible. Describe every step, click-by-click and keypress-by-keypress. Otherwise when others try to duplicate your problem, they may do something slightly different and end up with different results.

A note about attachments
You may only attach one file to each message. Attachment file size is limited to 2MB. If you need to include several files, you may do so by zipping them into a single archive.

If you forgot to attach your files to your post, please do NOT create a new thread. Instead, reply to your original message and attach the file there.

When attaching screen shots, it is best to attach an image file (.BMP, .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, etc.) or a zip file of several images, as opposed to a Word document containing the screen shots. Because Word documents are prone to viruses, many message board users will not open your Word file, therefore limiting their ability to help you.

Similarly, if you are uploading a zipped archive, you should simply create a .ZIP file and not a self-extracting .EXE as many users will not run your EXE file.
See more
See less

PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

    I am moving these two posts from the other thread I started on using electronic pdf files. I am doing so for two reasons, the first is that others may have some interest in using pdf as electronic forms for desktop applications.It will provide another means of capturing data and then moving it to the database. My goal was to do this in a way that would have no costs, using readily available open source or freeware tools. While there may be other tools, but I opted for the open source fork of OpenOffice.org called LibreOffice. My search also lead me to a freeware pdf reader called FoxIt Reader, which has far more functionality than the Adobe Reader. What follows for those that have an interest, is my progress to date. My next major step will be creating the code to actually load the data in the A5 database. So if anyone has any thoughts on improving on what I am doing and still meeting the goal of no added costs for software or components please let us know.

    Oh, the second reason I am starting this thread is simply that I said I would so I could at least report on what if any progress I make/made. So from the other thread...
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Okay - I created a simple one field form in LibreOffice. I then used that software's 'export as pdf function' and left the form data as the "FDF" default. When I opened the form using Adobe Reader it would let me fill in the form field, but would not let me email it or save the form with the data in the field. I double checked my settings in the LibreOffice export function and confirmed I had granted permissions to save the data. I checked the Adobe Reader and could not find a setting that would impact saving the changes. So no luck saving the data with the Adobe Reader product.

    I then did some cursory searching on the internet and came to the conclusion that Adobe Reader looks for some special Adobe tagging in the form that will allow it to save the changed data. That does not work because I am creating the form in open source software LibreOffice, so no Adobe tags. I then came across FoxIt Reader, which is freeware like Adobe Reader. It however, allows me to to open and complete the form and save the data. I was then able to email the completed form with the data. So at this point that much works and without cost.

    Let me say first impressions of FoxIt are very favorable. It appears to be far more robust than the Adobe Reader and is professionally done. They, like a Adobe, do sell a host of pdf creation software at prices appearing to be less than Adobe. For me though, the experiment is using Open Source software to create the forms. The FoxIt Reader is very much worth a look.

    Now I have a completed form, but I need to get the data from it, by a means other than OCR. This may prove to be my show-stopper, but its worth the try. Having electronic forms that can capture the data I want and allow me to get it into the A5 desktop database will be a nice addition to my app if I can pull it off. I will let you know if I make any more progress. Any suggestions or ideas will be appreciated.

    ----------------------------------

    Update - I just opened my completed sample form in the FoxIt reader and was pleasantly surprised to find it has Form Data Import and Form Data Export functions. The choices include XML, FDF, Text and couple of others. For my experiment I used DataExport -> Text and I found myself the proud owner of text data file containing the data from my form. I suspect I could use XML and then create a script to read the data into my database.

    FoxIt says it supports JavaScript which I have yet to look at, but perhaps it will allow me to add some automation to the process. Right now, it does appear I can create the form in open source sofware LibreOffice, use the FoxIt Reader (freeware) to complete and return the form, then again use FoxIt Reader to save the data from the form in a format that I can work with to populate/load fields in my A5 native database.
    -----------------------------------
    Regards,

    John W.
    www.CustomReportWriters.net

  • #2
    Re: PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

    Update for those who have an interest - I created a multi- field test form in LibreOffice. I tried to collect a variety of data types on the form. I have been working with the various export formats from FoxIt. I really love the interactive code window in A5, its a very nice feature. I been spending most of the morning working with the A5 XML Parser. I admit XML is not my favorite format to work with and try to avoid it whenever possible. Anyway, after spending time with that, I wanted to go back and look at the FoxIt export data f to text data function. Again, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that that it is exported in a tab delimited format. That said it created a format I can easily use to import my form to my A5 database. This concept has a long way to go before production ready, but clearly electronic forms are a viable option and can be easily done without cost to the developer or the customer.
    Regards,

    John W.
    www.CustomReportWriters.net

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

      Just happened across this post while looking for A5 XML Parser information. For anyone else looking to do this (extract form data from a PDF). I would advise check out the following product;

      http://www.a-pdf.com/form-data-extractor/index.htm

      It does just this and can be automated from the command line. Low price of of $39. This web site has a host of PDF tools several which I have used with good success.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

        Hi Paul,

        Thank you for information.

        Question: Can you get the data value from Alpha 5 tables?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: PDF forms as a means of electronic data collection

          The program extracts data from a pdf form. It neither creates a pdf nor fills in one from table values.
          There can be only one.

          Comment

          Working...
          X