Adobe Beta Tests 'Designer' XML Form Tool

Adobe has begun external beta tests of Adobe Designer 6.0, a graphical XML form design tool.  Designer falls into the "generation" branch of Adobe's Intelligent Document Platform strategy, and automates form-base workflows. The Intelligent Document Platform generates, processes, and secures documents in the enterprise.

When combined with other Adobe document products and services, Designer connects to backend systems to automate business processes and collaboration between internal and external users.

The software features a drag-and-drop interface with form elements based upon XML schema. To support migrations to XML, data can be imported from existing PDF and Microsoft Word templates. Completed forms are accessed through a Web browser or with Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.

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According to Adobe, form data can be shared with systems through XML, OLEDB and Web services. Input fields dynamically resize as data is entered, and display fields that are relevant to the end user while leaving others out.

"To fully realize their investment in enterprise applications, organizations must extend the reach of these applications with processes that enable the secure capture, exchange and track information.  To meet these challenges, Adobe Designer offers a dynamic interface to end users that utilizes XML to create flexible, intelligent documents, while enabling interactive data capture and business collaboration via PDF for efficient, reliable, secure information exchange," said Ivan Koon, senior vice president of the Intelligent Document Business Unit at Adobe.

In an effort to branch out vertically and take on competitors such as Adobe, Microsoft's Office 2003 extended to the backend. The Office 2003 System introduced InfoPath, which, like Adobe, offers customers an XML based form creation solution.

The Designer 6.0 beta coincides with an aggressive push by Microsoft to leverage its upcoming Office service pack to cram more functionality into InfoPath. The InfoPath overhaul is expected to be completed by June. Adobe will make Designer available for general release mid-2004.

Designer is available for download at Adobe.com. No pricing details have been released as of yet.

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