What is SAP Adobe Forms?
SAP Adobe Forms – Since 2002, SAP AG has had a strategic partnership with Adobe. Starting with SAP NetWeaver 2004 (SAP Web AS 6.40), the new FORM technology SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe is available in addition to SAPScript and Smart Forms. The tool as such is officially called SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe, even if it is partly used in pure print scenarios. This technology was originally intended to replace the SAPScript and SAP Smart Forms technologies. Unlike SAPScript, ADOBE strictly separates data from layout. Although new PDF forms have been delivered with each enhancement package in the Business Suite, these technologies now exist.
SAP Smart Forms vs. SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe
Smart Forms vs. Adobe – The Adobe Form Development approach is based on SAP Smart Forms. This makes it easier for developers to switch. Note 1009567 describes the functional differences between SAP Smart Forms and the SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe. As a prerequisite, we need the JAVA stack. It doesn’t matter if interactive forms are used or not. A web service converts the SOAP call to a PDF document. The call can be made from an ABAP program, POSTMAN or other programs. You can no longer use ABAP nodes in the Adobe form. There is a so-called context for this. The relevant design time tools are interface, context, layout, and form template. This makes the interface (ABAP, XML, or Smart Forms) the only part that still plays out in ABAP. Because there is no abAP in the form anymore. The form refers exactly to an interface. Smart Forms forms have the option of switching to the new technology at run time.
Benefits of Adobe Forms
- PDF as standard (note: also works with SAPScript and Smart Forms)
- Life Cyle Designer easy to use (Note: matter of taste)
- Design forms in accordance with accessibility guidelines
- Use TrueType fonts, no upload required (Note: This is very good)
- Interactive scenarios possible
When do we take what?
Now we come to the decision between Smart Forms and Adobe Forms. When do we use what? Basically, there are simple rules of thumb. Adobe for graphically demanding things, accessibility or PDF/A-2. When not to use: Mass printing scenario > 100,000 operations (http call and XML data slow slower the system); see also notes on restrictions 894389, 735050, 852235. Adobe is platform-independent. As a result, there is no longer any printer-specific control (shaft control). Converting Smart Forms to Adobe is problematic.
How much does Adobe Forms cost?
Cost – Please read note 750784. In summary, there are no additional licensing costs for the use of the components for design and the mere issuance of the forms. Only for interactive forms we need licenses. Of course, we also need a reader to display the forms. This is what Adobe is all about. The Adobe LiveCycle Designer for form development is free.
SAP Adobe Forms Installation
To work with SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe, you need Adobe Document Services (ADS) and Adobe LiveCyle Designer. Adobe Document Services are integrated into the Netweaver Java.Application Server. The architecture is more complex than SAPScript and Smart Forms due to the integration of external Adobe services. The central transaction for processing the forms is transaction SFP (transaction SMARTFORMS for Smart Forms and transaction SE71 for SAPScript).
Server – Installation Adobe ADS
Adobe Document Services is like an add-on. It is an application on an SAP JAVA system. THE ADS Services are the server component of the application. Excursus: Originally, SAP had 3 different system types:
- ABAP – ERP, BW, Netweaver GRC, IDES, S/4HANA, SRM
- JAVA – Portals, SAP PI, SAP PO, SAP Netweaver, ADS
- ABAP + JAVA – Solution Managers, CRM – so-called dual stacks
Later, SAP said dual stacks are obsolete from Netweaver 7.4. They are now split and installed separately if necessary. Now there are only ABAP or JAVA systems. Unfortunately, it is not possible to install the ADS on an existing ABAP system. In any case, you need to install your own JAVA system:
- own database, data files, logfiles
- own SID and instance number, ports
- must be stopped/started yourself, have backups
- connect to the SAP Netweaver Administrator via the portal: http://hostname:500/nwa
It does not count on which server it is installed. There just needs to be enough memory, CPU and disk space available. You use SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe as a print form and want to use PDF/A-2b or PDF/A-3b as the output format. This functionality requires Adobe Document Services ADS NW750 ADS SP-5 or later. In addition, you and the corresponding Netweaver Base and Support Package version.
- SAP BASIS 7.31 SP20 / 7.40 SP16 / 7.50 SP05 / 7.51 SP01
Client – Installation Adobe LiveCycle Designer
The Adobe LiveCycle Designer is a dedicated tool that the form designers use to create the forms. However, the form structure is similar to the structure of SMART Forms. The essential elements of the forms are static and dynamic building blocks. In addition, there are so-called tables. In any case, the LiveCycle Designer is installed locally. It is a front-end application. This is well integrated into the SAP GUI. It can also be operated standalone. The higher the version of the designer, the more functionalities are available. Therefore, it is recommended that you always install the latest version of Adobe LiveCycle Designer on your PC. You will receive it free of charge on the SAP Market Place service.
The Adobe LiveCycle Designer is operated within transaction SFP. In transaction SFP, he closely interacts with the SAP context and the SAP interface.
Adobe Performance Aspects and Installation Check
Due to the complexity of installing and exchanging XML data streams, special attention needs to be paid to performance. This is, of course, especially true for the use of large amounts of data. Checking the ADS RFC connection via transaction SM59.
SAP Adobe Forms Training
SAP offers the following courses:
BC480 – PDF-Based Print Forms
Create print forms using the SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe Forms tool. Learn how to integrate them with ABAP application programs. This course provides basic knowledge of print scenarios. No application details nor Customizing details handled.
- Overview of the architecture of PDF-based print forms
- Form interface
- Adobe LiveCycle Designer • Integration of forms into ABAP programs
- Additional functionality of PDF-based forms
- Manage PDF-based forms
- Migration of older forms
BC481 – Interactive Forms
- Send and receive forms by e-mail
- Download, upload and analyze forms
- Extract the XML content of offline forms using the DOM table and inbound handler technique
BC 482 – SAP PDF Forms Workshop
You’ll learn how to find standard print programs and forms. Learn how to analyze, debug, and customize them. In any case, the course covers details about application programs, also known as form printing programs. In addition, you will learn how to handle spool jobs, print bulk data, bundle, parallelize, and send e-mail.
- Find, analyze, and debug standard scenarios
- Adaptation of two standard forms with SAP Adobe Forms to customer needs (invoice and packing slip)
Notes ADOBE Forms
Here we have collected some important hints about Adobe Forms. For more information, please refer to the respective notice. You can find them via the SAP portal under service.sap.com.
|750784||SAP Interactive Forms: Licenses|
|834573||SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe: Acrobat/Reader version|
|1861606||Adobe Reader XI new features0|
|1009567||Functional differences SAP Interactive Forms/Smart Forms|
|894389||Sharing Restrictions: SAP NW 7.0 – Adobe Document Services|
|735050||Output of forms (modified)|
|852235||Release Restrictions for SAP ERP 6.0|
|2347809||IFbA: Extension of supported PDF/A formats|
|2783795||eDocument EU PEPPOL: Installation Overview|
|894389||Sharing Restrictions: SAP NW 7.0 – Adobe Document Services|