Adobe has just recently released the Livecycle ES suite. I’ve just returned from a train-the-trainer event in Sydney where I’ve learned about how to teach the first two LC ES classes of the Adobe certified curriculum.
I was pretty excited to go from the first place, as it was really my first real world contact with “the other side” of Adobe. I’ve read a lot of stuff on LC 7.2 and played with a few elements of the LC ES Deisgner (which comes with Acrobat 8), but that was it so far.
I need to digest all the information before being able to deliver a highly expertised statement or provide further technical insight – but: I can def. see the idea behind Livecycle, I can see how it benefits organisations and I can also see why it has the pricetag it has.
It is actually pretty cool for modelling organisational workflows with pdf forms and it’s amazing what you can achieve with PDF (not a surprise that Acrobat Reader is as large as it is – I’ll blog a bit about the Reader Extensions in the future).
A nice bonus is that you can integrate Flex with Livecycle ES. I’ve just started to look into the different options, but I’m def. looking forward to giving that a try – and I’ve got some ideas what I want to do with it. An important point to mention. Livecycle is from my point of view extremely powerful (will all the restrictions mentioned above), but not the right product for a lot of organisations “somehow” dealing with PDF.
An example: You want to write plain PDF documents based on MS Office for your 3 person company – LC ES is too much, get a few copies of Adobe Acrobat or move to Mac OSX which allows you to save to PDF anyway.
Another example: Users of your website should be able to get a print version of particular pages which has to be created on the fly – PDF might be a nice output format for it. Get either ColdFusion 7.02 or 8 doing it, if you’re on Java use iTxT or Apache FOP, similar is valid for other web technologies.
So, who could use LC ES?
Imagine Inland Revenue and the fun task of processing all the countries tax returns. Huge forms and amounts of data that need to be processed by admin people. Particular situations might need different people to look at the tax return (maybe to launch auditing or to make a decision about a particular expense claim). Think about workflows in which people have to be notified and escalation paths need to exist (Hey, would you want to wait for your tax refund, just because tax office John Doe is on vacation for 4 weeks?). Think about storing and retrieving all the data for reporting purpose and persistence of processes. Well, if that sounds like you – then you def. should look into LC ES.
But obviously there are grey shades between the different examples, I’ve provided. Smaller scenarios might also justify LC ES as well as larger scenario might qualify for a custom built solution in .NET. But expect to read more about Livecycle in the future 🙂