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Thread: Editable forms-out of ideas!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Editable forms-out of ideas!

    I am completely out of ideas and hoping someone can help:

    We have a 13 page agreement where we fill in information like customer name, owner name, date, etc. This information is filled in on several pages so we need a way to just be able to enter the customer name once and have it go to all of the pages applicable. Sounds easy so far, but here are the things it needs to do:

    1. Be easy to edit. This agreement is constantly changing and I need to be able to change text within an hour at the most. Also, my coworkers who have less programming knowledge than I have may need to edit it.

    2. Be customizable. For example I may need 2 owners to sign instead of 1. This is why a fillable pdf wouldn't work.

    3. I work in the Marketing department and therefore don't have a lot of programming options at my disposale. Pretty much Microsoft programs and simple web tools are my only options.

    Here's what I've tried so far:

    Word form using macros - works great except for the customizable part.

    HTML/Javascript form - works great except that when I go to print it the header/footer defaults print (for example, the url, page title, and page number). After extensive google searches it doesn't seem to be an option to remove these. If I was the only one printing it, not a problem, but it will be impossible to communicate to all of the employees using this how to turn this option off and I have been told that it isn't acceptable to have the header/footers print on the agreement.

    I'm still thinking that a web form is the way to go which is why I'm posting here. Any ideas? Thanks in advance - I appreciate all the help I can get!!

  2. #2
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    Have you considered converting the HTML to PDF with Acrobat? I haven't used it but it can be done from the browser toolbar, according to the Abobe website.

    Another more complicated option would be a data base application, where each section of the agreement would be stored in the database as HTML or just text. An in-browser editor, which works basically like a word processor (TinyMCE is one) could be used to customize the sections as needed. Then, a report writer like Crystal could be used to print the final agreement.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks DeveloperBill!
    Is converting it to pdf a separate program I would need to have downloaded? From everything I'm finding via google search it seems to be that way, but let me know if there's a way to do it without something extra (a lot of employees will be using this and I don't think it's an option to download a program). I don't have a lot of resources at my disposal...sorry, I know that makes a solution difficult!

  4. #4
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    There are several programs available that will do the same thing, and some are free. Here's a link to I found: http://download.cnet.com/Free-HTML-t...-10691753.html. Try a Google search for "convert HTML to PDF". I would think instructions for installing could be given to the users. Do you have an IT Staff at your disposal for something like this?
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  5. #5
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    While I'm not all that experienced on the matter, I did manage to do a little research that you may find helpful.

    There are a few HTML to PDF solutions that can be implemented using PHP; which means you can remove the dependency of external software and additional instructions/steps for other employees using this form system. Some are commercial, however, I did find two free solutions.

    The first is FPDF. I don't personally see that it is all that amazing as it would seem to require a lot of work on your end to set up the code which converts your HTML to the PDF. Essentially, it just seems that the commands are relatively simple which limits the code; you basically couldn't just import a block of HTML(or a form) and have it be converted automatically for you. But this could still be worth a look.

    The second option, which I believe to be much more promising, is dompdf. I will have to say that unfortunately I have never used it and so I can't really give you a solid set of instructions for your specific case. Regardless, it seems to be capable of doing exactly what you need and with a relatively small amount of work(compared to FPDF or distributing conversion software). Below is an example of using the dompdf class to create a PDF from html:
    PHP Code:
    <?php
    require_once("dompdf_config.inc.php");

    $html =
      
    '<html><body>'.
      
    '<p>Put your html here, or generate it with your favourite '.
      
    'templating system.</p>'.
      
    '</body></html>';

    $dompdf = new DOMPDF();
    $dompdf->load_html($html);
    $dompdf->render();
    $dompdf->stream("sample.pdf");

    ?>
    Based on seeing this I believe that if you can take the time to set up dompdf you can use this to convert the entire html page(or pages) in to a pdf to be saved.(not all that complicated, but it does seem to have two dependencies to download and there may be a chance you might need to access the php.ini file(not sure)).
    "Given billions of tries, could a spilled bottle of ink ever fall into the words of Shakespeare?"

  6. #6
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    You would have a basic termplate for this and at the points in the document where the users details need to appear, assuming your form collects

    FullName

    Address

    Town

    for example, in your user agreement template, use tags like &#37;FullName% or #FullName# and then use a string replace function to then render the output text stream that is then PDF'd or Rendered as a plain old JPG image.

    One downside to PDF is the security aspect, unless your going to password protect the agreements they're editable and could be changed by the client.

    You would need to think about security tags that are visible and some visible hashing code that your office would know is genuine by crunching it to validate it if needed.
    We all have baggage to carry in life, unfortunately for me I always get the trolley with the wonky wheel...
    Code:
    Youre = {
          STILL_not_getting_it:function(){
               alert("YOU, the original poster / thread starter NEED to POST the code and NOT a LINK.");
          },
          MissingThePoint:function(msg){
                alert("You're missing the point. " + msg);
          }
    }
    Youre.STILL_not_getting_it();

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    JunkMale-can you provide a more specific example? I pretty much just know basic coding. I'd be game for either a jpeg or a pdf output!

    Thanks everyone else! I've done some more research on html to pdf converters and it doesn't look like it's going to be an option. 1. I can't use php (agh!) and 2. the "website" will be housed on our intranet so I therefore can't use any of the free conversion tools out there. I feel like it's one thing after another!!

  8. #8
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    Unless you have a server and server-sides, your not going to be able to do this effectively and you will need proprietary software like Adobe PDF writer or use a word processor that allows creation of secure PDF files.

    Without using "FREE" opensource software, your not going to go very far given that nearly all the internet is supported by opensource software like PHP, MySQL, Apache to name the main three services of choice.

    So your web admin will need to come up with someway of you being able to support these services and if theyre in the interest of the company, the IT guy should get on with sorting out the issues of the intranet and access to the tools you need. If he doesn't then sack him as hes a walrus and living in the past, bit like the head admin on our corporate network thats running a network topology thats 24 years out of date...

    So the ball is in your court, you present a picture of paying $1,000's to buy software that will need people being trained or Mr IT guy can open up the server for free and give access to the server and it programming tools whatever they may be for $0.

    Pretty much a no brainer when you present the company managers with this argument, pay money or pay nowt.
    We all have baggage to carry in life, unfortunately for me I always get the trolley with the wonky wheel...
    Code:
    Youre = {
          STILL_not_getting_it:function(){
               alert("YOU, the original poster / thread starter NEED to POST the code and NOT a LINK.");
          },
          MissingThePoint:function(msg){
                alert("You're missing the point. " + msg);
          }
    }
    Youre.STILL_not_getting_it();

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    10
    Thanks JunkMale - you summed up what I was starting to discover (that it's impossible ). I'll definitely be bringing this up. Appreciate everyone's time and help!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Milwaukee
    Posts
    344
    Quote Originally Posted by LauraAnn View Post
    HTML/Javascript form - works great except that when I go to print it the header/footer defaults print (for example, the url, page title, and page number). After extensive google searches it doesn't seem to be an option to remove these. If I was the only one printing it, not a problem, but it will be impossible to communicate to all of the employees using this how to turn this option off and I have been told that it isn't acceptable to have the header/footers print on the agreement.
    This may help with the printing issue: http://www.meadroid.com/scriptx/freedep.asp

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