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View Full Version : Looking for the best way to populate an offline form.



tosbourn
09-09-2008, 03:10 PM
Basically I have a paper based form (there is also a pdf version of it) that I would like to recreate online and populate with information from a database. With a view of then letting the user print out the form with all the information already completed.

The form is quiet complex, so simply having a print preview of a webform populated with data is out of the question.

Any ideas?

The tools I have at my disposal are Dreamweaver (I thought maybe using their layering tools to knock something up, the code would be messy but the layout should be easy to tweak), Fireworks (I was wondering if there is a way to scan the form as an image, and slice it allowing room for the dynamic input).

The server has PHP and MySQL installed on it.

mlseim
09-09-2008, 08:21 PM
If you have the correct version of Adobe, you can actually create a PDF form
that can be put online and it acts just like a real form. The results can be
processed (emailed), etc.

The PDF is written with form fields, and saved as a PDF, looks like a PDF and
operates like an online web page form. Since Adobe is so expensive, there are
other clones available...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=pdf+online+form&btnG=Search

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=pdf+adobe+form&btnG=Search

To see it work,
View some of the forms from this website:
http://www.copyright.gov/forms/


.

tosbourn
09-10-2008, 08:54 AM
If you have the correct version of Adobe, you can actually create a PDF form
that can be put online and it acts just like a real form. The results can be
processed (emailed), etc.

The PDF is written with form fields, and saved as a PDF, looks like a PDF and
operates like an online web page form. Since Adobe is so expensive, there are
other clones available...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=pdf+online+form&btnG=Search

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=pdf+adobe+form&btnG=Search

To see it work,
View some of the forms from this website:
http://www.copyright.gov/forms/


.

Thanks, I will look into this!

tosbourn
09-10-2008, 10:40 AM
Unfortunately these tools only allow a user to input information, there is no automated way for stuff from my database to get in there!

I did find a tool from adobe that changes pdfs to html, but it doesn't seem to work.

Any other ideas anyone?

mlseim
09-10-2008, 12:52 PM
oh, sorry I missed the part about the database.

You'll have to use PHP to dynamically create the form.
If you had some fields in your database that indicated what
type of question it was (text, checkbox, radio, etc) that might
be of use. Without seeing any of the database, it might be
hard for anyone to come up with some ideas on that.

I'm just thinking you could have a PHP script that creates a
form from any part of your database ... no static pages needed.

tosbourn
09-10-2008, 01:42 PM
Creating the form and populating it isn't an issue, the problem is getting from that form on my site to a PDF.

The PHP classes I have found can create new PDFs fine but they can't edit a PDF, I could just recreate one from scratch but then we have a layout issue.

There was one program that took FDFs and made PDFs based on it, however it was never successfully installed on any webservers so that is out of the question.

I have sent an email off to the company that handles the PDF at the end of the process to see if they would mind if the final sheet they get posted to them isn't an exact carbon copy, if not I should be able to use CSS to make the form look almost identical to the PDF and then problem solved!

Cheers again for the input.



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