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Download, edit, save PDF on the server

Posted on 2003-11-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
Hi.   We have some forms that until now our Customer Service Dept has been printing off and mailing or faxing to the customer, which the customer fills out and faxes back.  

My boss came up with the idea the other day of allowing the customer to download the form in PDF format, change it, then email it back.   They did not consult me first, but instead had another guy in the office develop the 7 page form.  Now, we're back to step one--and the client wants this asap.    

Now, we find out that the client has to have Adobe PDF Writer to save it on his end.   Is there any way to save it on the server instead?  I'm guessing no--since he opens it in his browser, makes changes, and it is not submitted back to the server.    

Any ideas?    It's looking like we'll have to post a Word Doc version of it for now.    If he would have asked my input from the start I'd have had the web-based form done by now to allow him to input info, with a database table on the back end by now.   But, he didn't ask....

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Question by:keith_dude
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Accepted Solution

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MusicMan earned 50 total points
ID: 9828705
You are right in your assumptions:
1.  You cannot open and edit a PDF file on the server, it is done on the local machine.
2.  Using PDF as a method sucks big time.

Can you get your web based form into operation (even to demo) quickly enough to satisfy your boss / client? Probably be the best option (word is functional but messy)
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Author Comment

by:keith_dude
ID: 9838032
I wish.  It's about a 7 page form, with about 150 checkboxes, 50-60 text boxes and some select boxes.   It kind of ticked me off when my boss gave it to him on Monday last week, since I knew that it was something that should be done by me on a web form.   He's made it clear that he does not want to use a database back end for it...says it will take too much time.    He considers it too much overhead.  
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Assisted Solution

by:BeanBug
BeanBug earned 50 total points
ID: 9983857
I have a workaround but it would require what MusicMan said. Also, there are some assumptions:
1. You are using PHP (not ASP, not Coldfusion, not Java)
2. You have access to the web server (enough to install some programs)

Well, here's how we do it in PHP:
1. Create an HTML template with areas for the answers
2. Let the customer answer an ONLINE FORM
3. Programmatically transfer the answers into the form (using GET or POST method)
4. Use PDFlib to save the formatted HTML file (with values) into PDF
 
Of course this is more complex than it seems... the point is to try and learn to use the tool.
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Author Comment

by:keith_dude
ID: 9985071
I've considered using ASP/Crystal Reports to allow them to edit, then export it to a PDF, but my boss wants them to be able to save the file in an editable electronic format.  

It's really beginning to look like excel will be the answer--albeit a messy, not so great one, but it will work, I guess.
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Expert Comment

by:MusicMan
ID: 12471259
I think split points and PAQ is fair on this one
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Expert Comment

by:MusicMan
ID: 12564031
Thanks :)
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