Adobe Livecycle and ActiveWizard Comparison

Similar to our Open Source efforts, most of our ideas for posts come from clients. For this post, we will address a question from a client evaluating Adobe LiveCycle ES2 and TSG’s Active Wizard as part of a forms effort.

“In a nutshell, what are the differences between Adobe LiveCycle and Active Wizard?”

This is a difficult question for a few reasons: Continue reading

Documentum Transformation Services (DTS) – Alternative Approaches with Adobe LiveCycle and OpenOffice

Since the very first Momentum (1996 in a very windy Miami), the Documentum user community has pushed for a more reliable means to convert mostly Microsoft office documents into PDF.  Back then, during a wrap-up luncheon, the feedback on AutoRender ( a previous incarnation of DTS) was anything but positive.  Similar to some complaints today, some of the main complaints included:

  • Having to monitor/reboot the AutoRender Server throughout the day
  • Unreliable PDF Transformation included:
    • Unsupported Document Types
    • Font Replacement
    • Broken links

At the time, Documentum threw some engineering effort into AutoRender to address some of the shortcomings.  One of the changes was to have AutoRender reboot itself (not really a fix but it did address some of the shortcomings).   Like other products from Documentum, TSG is occasionally asked for alternatives.  This post will address some of the tools we use in non-Documentum environments that could easily be adapted to the PDF rendition needs for Documentum.

Adobe LiveCycle

For a couple of our non-Documentum customers, we have leveraged the Adobe LiveCycle component PDF Generator. We have been very impressed with their reliability and functionality. Considering Adobe created the best known implementation of Portable Document Format, it makes sense to rely on Adobe technology to convert your native content.

Continue reading

Documentum Annotation – OpenAnnotate

Clients often struggle with adding simple annotation capabilities to Documentum or Alfresco.  Brava, PDF Annotation Services, Snowbound and Annodoc are all solutions we see regularly at clients.  Issues with these solutions include:

  • Price – per user licensing can be difficult to justify for casual or external users.
  • Support – most tools require a client side component that can be difficult to deploy or support.

Based on client requests, TSG has developed a dramatically different solution..  OpenAnnotate is a free thin client tool that allows users to review and annotate PDF documents directly within their web browser.

Summary of OpenAnnotate Key Features:

  • No Client Machine Dependencies

Thin Client viewer allows users to view and annotate documents directly in their browsers without dependencies on Adobe Reader or other viewing applications.

  • Leverages Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Systems

TSG’s OpenContent Web Services are utilized to store and retrieve annotations from an Enterprise Content Management system of your choice (i.e. Documentum, Alfresco, SharePoint, etc.)

  • Secures Document Distribution

Users only have access to image renditions of individual document pages preventing them from downloading an entire document and distributing it outside of the managing application.

  • Powered by Adobe LiveCycle Transformation Engine

TSG’s OpenContent Web Services are utilized to request document image renditions from either Adobe LiveCycle or an Open Source transformation engine.

  • Integrates with Documentum Webtop – View Demo

A Documentum Webtop Connector is available allowing users to review documents directly from Webtop.  OpenAnnotate will even display annotations originally generated using Documentum PDF Annotation Services.

OpenAnnotate also has the ability to integrate with TSG’s High Performance Interface (HPI) designed to run on an Enterprise Content Management system of your choice.

  • No Licensing Costs

TSG does not charge a licensing fee to use OpenAnnotate.

Under the Hood:

OpenAnnotate leverages Adobe LiveCycle or other Open Source software to transform PDF documents into image files that can be viewed within a web browser.  Google Web Toolkit is utilized to provide an interactive user interface for annotating.  Additionally, OpenAnnotate integrates with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems through TSG’s OpenContent Web Services, allowing OpenAnnotate to store and retrieve annotations without being tied to one specific ECM platform.  OpenAnnotate reads and saves annotations in Adobe’s standard XFDF format, so annotations are compatible with all other tools leveraging XFDF, including Documentum’s PDF Annotation Services.

Adobe Livecycle PDF Workflow Automation

We recently had a client ask us to automate the conversion of PDF to PNG images as part of their business process.  Working with PDF files usually involves the time-intensive manual process of opening the PDF with Adobe Acrobat to make changes. Their process involved converting hundreds of PDF files into individual PNG images for each page, all within a few seconds of upload.  With Adobe Livecycle this entire process was automated without writing a single line of code.  Leveraging the Adobe Livecycle Enterprise Suite and the Adobe LiveCycle Workbench, we were able to map, design, develop, and test the entire solution in a very short time. An excerpt from the LiveCycle workflow can be seen below, which shows the logic of determining the orientation (portait or landscape) of the imported page, and the conversion to two separate sets of image sizes.


Realizing this is only the beginning of what the Adobe Livecycle suite can do, we were also able to utilize the LiveCycle PDF Generator combined with the open source iText PDF manipulation library to automate the creation of a PDF file compiled from a variety of separate sources. The compiled PDF was generated from existing PDF files along with tabbed pages and inserts from their book layout system to create a complete book ready for printing.

The final piece of Livecycle utilized for this project was the PDF Generator IPP driver that allows a user to install a printer driver that they can print directly to from their favorite desktop applications. This lightweight PDF printer will generate the PDF on the Adobe LiveCycle Server and email the generated PDF to the user.

This is just the beginning of what Adobe LiveCycle can accomplish, and we are eager to explore more solutions that leverage LiveCycle. If you’d like more information about what we’re doing with Adobe LiveCycle, please feel free to comment or contact us.