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How complicated is it to use Adobe LiveCycle to create interactive forms with a SQL server database?

Posted on 2012-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-03-12
I am planning to hire a freelance form designer in livecycle to create a series of forms for me.

These forms need to be interactive with a SQL server database.  

Does the designer need to have SQL experience or is that something I can work with her on?  I am very proficient with SQL server but have never used LiveCycle!

Thanks for you input!
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Question by:lthames
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 37709627
As always, it depends :)

You need some level of SQL background to create forms that interact with a DB, but the system does take some load off your back by providing methods that can do work for you that you would have to do yourself with a less sophisticated system. It all depends on what exactly it is you want the form to do.

Take a look at this article that gives a brief introduction about how to connect a form to a DB. As you can see, there is not much SQL involved, but the form is very simple. As soon as you are doing joins, it gets more complicated and your form designer may need a bit more SQL background. You can always try to do the heavy SQL lifting for the designer, but in my experience it's best if the forms designer has that background.

http://forms.stefcameron.com/2006/09/18/connecting-a-form-to-a-database/
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by:lthames
ID: 37709693
Great,  Thanks!  I will read that article this morning.

I started doing some reading last night and was having a hard time figuring out if the entire lifecycle suite was required to write to a SQL database or if just the lifecycle desiner would do.  Do I need to install the entire thing?

Again, Thanks!
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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 37709740
Lifecycle Designer will let you create forms that can access a database. You do not need anything else. Adobe unfortunately has this "Livecycle" range of products that do all sorts of things, and that causes quite a bit of confusion. Most of the Livecycle products are for the server, Designer is a - even though it's tied to the server products by name - client level product.

If you want to get more into how this all works, I can recommend a book that even though a few years old, still is a good resource to understand XFA forms:
Creating Dynamic Forms with Adobe® LiveCycle® Designer by J. P. Terry
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Author Comment

by:lthames
ID: 37709864
I read the article and understand the process. . . very similar to Access forms in logic.  

I am really confused about the range of products . . . I guess I do need to buy the book so I can wrap my head around it . . . . but I am trying to hire someone who can do the project because I am limited on time.   I am in the process of installing LiveCycle (which is how I figured out that I need to install alot more than just the designer).

I use my development PC as a SQL server for development and was installing LiveCycle ES2 and the other components on my PC for that reason.  

I am assuming that in the live environment LiveCycle ES2 will be required on their SQL server?  Or is that a server for handling form applications and not required JUST to use designer to make forms that will connect to a SQL server?

Are you for hire?
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Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 37709933
For just a form that talks to a SQL database, all you need is Designer.

I assume that you are planning on only using the form in-house, otherwise you would have to expose your database through the firewall. The LC server products do provide support - among other things - for DB access on the Internet, but that's not an area that I am too familiar with.

As far as your last question goes: EE does not permit discussions about contracts off the EE site. You can look at my profile to find out more about what I do and how to contact me.
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Author Comment

by:lthames
ID: 37709989
This form will be used on Ipads in the field and connect to a hosted SQL server.  But I've got that covered, assuming Adobe doesn't limit the ability to access SQL server by IP address.

I'm going to be testing that on a simple form this morning . . . .

Thank you for all of your help.  

Lynn
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Author Closing Comment

by:lthames
ID: 37709995
Very helpful information and very fast responses.
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Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 37710076
I don't think XFA forms are supported on the iPad.
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