re: electronic forms - pdf question

Subject: re: electronic forms - pdf question
From: David Castro <thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 09:39:18 -0700 (PDT)

> We would like to send a .pdf form to our client that they can fill out
> and return to us _electronically_. From what I can see, they would need
> to have Acrobat (not just the reader) installed to do so. Do you guys
> know of any alternative solutions? We would eventually like to get the
> data into Excel, and I would _really_ like to avoid doing all that data
> entry by hand.

Your assumption about your clients needing Acrobat is not quite correct. If you
host the PDF file on your web site (or, it seems, if you can get your readers
to open the PDF locally in a web browser), then you can collect the information
from the user in a CGI or other (ASP, JSP, PHP, etc.) script. This, of course,
only applies if you have the ability (or have someone in the company who does)
to create the script on the web server. The script on the web server would then
take the information provided and populate a database (I believe Excel can be
set up as an ODBC datasource), send an email with the data, or whatever.

If you would like, I can show you how to set up a JSP script to collect form
information. If you can't host the JSP page on your web server, and it is worth
$25/month to your company, I can also point you to a web hosting company that
you could use to host the JSP page to collect the information. (The users
wouldn't ever actually *go* to the web site, so it shouldn't matter if it has
your company's URL or not.) Contact me offline if you are interested.

-David Castro
email -at- davidcastro -dot- com

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