Adobe Extends Smarts to PDFs

Adobe Systems recently bulked up its LiveCycle server platform, providing a graphical interface for assembling business flows, components-based building blocks for analyzing business processes, and an enhanced process management server.

LiveCycle incorporates server applications including Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions, which enable commenting or form-filling on a per-document basis.

The new Adobe LiveCycle Workflow creates and distributes interactive documents and forms that can be filled out, routed and secured according to a business’s defined rules and policies. The LiveCycle Workflow allows businesses to assemble workflows without coding by using reusable components, called Quick Process Action Components. Businesses build apps that automate document processes via QPACs by integrating steps in a process—such as routing tasks to a user—sending an e-mail message and integrating with back-end systems.

It now offers a visual design tool that allows developers to sketch a workflow, receive data from back-end applications, and configure access privileges to documents. Businesses can apply digital signatures to Adobe PDF files, publish certified documents and add controls that define who can open, view, print and copy documents. They also can apply these controls at different points in the workflow. The server uses Web services protocols and XML to connect to other systems.

LiveCycle provides 2-D bar codes to capture information as businesses enter it, and it stays with the printed documents as it’s routed. It also uses Celequest’s business activity monitoring software, which provides real-time dashboards for managing business processes. The upgrade also uses operations performance and other technology from Adobe partners, such as Avoka, Corticon, ILOG, iGrafx and NetManage.

LiveCycle runs on BEA Systems’ WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and JBoss, and supports AIX, Windows and Solaris. Adobe plans on adding support for Red Hat Linux and Novell SUSE Linux platforms later this year.

Pricing for the LiveCycle platform starts at $50,000.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.