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Web service adding Adobe functionality for non-Portal applications

by on February 9, 2010

We are considering developing a service that will enable LPAs to access Adobe ‘LiveCycle’ functionality via a web service.

Using the service, an LPA would upload planning application files together with a manifest and receive back the files with the Adobe ‘LiveCycle’ functionality added, e.g. Site Measuring Tool. Currently, only files submitted via the Portal carry this functionality.

This would remove the need for LPAs to buy or deploy licensed software in their own domains, reducing costs, support and maintenance and delivering easy-to-use functionality, with a minimum of disruption to LPA systems.

I am canvassing feedback to see if you would be interested in this service, which may be made available for a small annual fee or on a pay per use service.

  1. Ken Usman-Smith permalink

    It would be very welcome.

    The ‘small’ annual fee would be the only issue as well as we share the Portals budget woes, but if handled in a process engineering way its likely to generate a lot of work.

    And that will be the challenge as its a lot of stuff to go down a narrow pipe! And its at the back office integration and automation that real benefits and challanges will arise.
    And it will move us away from ‘free ware’, and some very inventive and risky methods currently in use nationally!

  2. Definitely of interest to Cheltenham BC.

    As mentioned in the previous post, the ‘small’ fee would be the key potential stumbling point.

    Investigated the feasibility of Adobe LifeCycle, but due to the very limited need at present, it would be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

  3. This would be very helpful.

    I know that we can display reference numbers and date registered information etc from our back office with the documents but the moment the document leaves the back office, sent via email, printed, or even just opened up for viewing, the related information is not immediately obvious on the document. This is a problem that I highlighted to Scott, Robin, and Ashley at the Portal LPA Workshop at Guildford on 26 November 2009.

    This would be a very useful tool but, as Ken has pointed out in his previous comment, the Adobe ‘LifeCycle’ service would need to be accessed by mutliple users at each authority in order for the volume of applications to be processed electronically in the same way that they are processed in hardcopy at the moment.

  4. Matthew James permalink

    Our authority was part of the trial a few years ago. This was using the live cycle function from adobe to unlock (‘tokenise’) pdf’s so that they can be scaled/stamped etc.

    Issues we had which led to us dropping it:

    – As an authority, the cost of the LiveCycle tool to use corporately was HUGE thus would only have been able to use on planning documents.
    – The file size was slightly increased each time it was tokenised.
    – Any changes made to the file, by software other than adobe, removes the tokenisation.
    – Only works for PDF’s (obviously), but as the Portal don’t restrict file types it lets applicants submit. Thus we would need to convert files if we want to give our officers & the public the functionality on all files submitted.
    – We couldn’t integrate the software with our back office system thus staff would have to manually type unique reference stamps/dates when stamping electronically.

    Obviously some of the above issues we had wouldn’t be an problem with your proposed solution. But I would consider the following:
    – Time delays electronically sending documents to be tokenised and getting them back.
    – Price
    – No integration with back office systems for stamping using unique information
    – Users would be forced to use adobe to stamp the documents or the tokenisation would be lost.

    There are quite a few free products on the market which allow scaling (seem accurate from our limited testing) which have similar stamping functionality to what adobe would offer. I would recommend LPA’s review these before going down the LiveCycle route.

    Ideally the portal would pressure adobe to release this functionality for free so that no “tokenising” is required. As I said, there are a lot of free products so adobe must already be feeling pressure on this service it’s enforcing.

    Also, I would say, we don’t think the Portal should tie itself to closely to one commercial supplier, especially when costs are involved and it could reduce flexibility for LPA’s. We have already encountered situations where formats produced by adobe have caused problems for other systems (i.e. XFA format).

  5. This would definitely be of interested.

    It would obviously be very dependant upon the practicalities of using the service.

    Dave (LPA Systems Admin)

  6. East Dorset DC would be interested in this service for PDF measuring. Having looked into Adobe LiveCycle I can only concur with Sanjay at Cheltenham that it would, indeed, be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Please give us your feedback but we won’t publish any comments that are not constructive or that criticise any individual, any named business or any local authority. Please note, all comments will be moderated before being published.

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