Adobe Launches PDF Platform For Web Services

If Adobe has its way, every document or form
published
with its software will be a lot smarter than its ancestors.


The creator of the ubiquitous portable document file (PDF) software is
launching one of its most important pieces of its Intelligent Document Platform yet, with document services that bridge the gap between static document publishing and
Web
services by adding business process management and security features to
the
mix.


Adobe LiveCycle is the company’s vision for a new layer in the
IT
services stack that handles all document processing throughout its
lifecycle, from creation to disposal.


Based on XML , this vision spans the
desktop
side for individuals creating intelligent documents, but also works at
the
server level, such as serving statements generated in a bank’s network.


“Everyone is familiar with PDF and what you can do with it,” according
to
Shawn Cadeau, director of product marketing for Adobe’s Intelligent
Document
Business Unit. “What we’ve done over the last couple of years is
enhanced
the PDF file format with XML. We’ve enhanced the security capabilities,
as
well as the interactivity of the PDF itself.”


For example, with LiveCycle, users can create intelligent forms
that
supply reams of information after a user types, for example, a name.
The
“live” PDF will automatically fill in data such as address, zip code
and
other details, cutting the time it takes to fill out, send and process
a
form from minutes to seconds.


Customers can also place keys inside PDF files so that when someone
receives
that file inside the Adobe Reader, digital signature and features that
lie
dormant will spring to life to give that file “Acrobat-like”
functionality,
Cadeau told internetnews.com.


LiveCycle consists of both previously created software, such as
document generation and collaboration, and new technologies, such as
business process management and security, Cadeau said.


BPM will enable offline and online document processing, simple form
management, workflow, special bar-coded paper forms to allow data to be
fed
directly into a computer network and local data saving capabilities.
Document security provides authenticity, integrity and confidentiality.


“Document security is the ability to take a document in batch mode or
off
your desktop to secure document delivery to ensure that it wasn’t
tampered
with or edited,” Cadeau said. “It also ensures the document came from
the
person it says it came from. You can also control how long a user can
view a
document for.”


As for process management, the executive said electronic form templates
with
calculations validation and version control and management, which
allows
users to create the form, make them intelligent and allow people to
fill
them out online or offline.


Both the new security and control and process management features make
LiveCycle a prime candidate for Web services, which allow
applications to communicate, or “talk” to one another to perform tasks,
such
as claims processing or banking transactions. This is where Adobe hopes
to
hit big.


Cadeau said the call for such rich, interactive documents came from
government and financial services, which are seeking faster, more
secure
document services to deal with increased record keeping policies,
including
Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA.


Adobe is partnering with IBM and SAP to help LiveCycle,
available
June 8, reach more customers. Pricing starts at $100,000 for the
Process
Management bundle, but individual components can be purchased for
$35,000
each. Pricing for the Document Security Server starts at $50,000.

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