Does PDFNet SDK support XFA/LiveCycle PDF forms?

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Nov 14, 2008, 2:44:11 PM11/14/08
Q: Does PDFNet support XFA/LiveCycle PDF forms?

A: PDFNet SDK currently offers very limited support for XFA (i.e.
Adobe LiveCycle) forms. Also we are not aware of any other third party
product on the marked that fully and correctly supports XFA.

A solution is to re-save PDF document with AcroForm/PDF compatibility
in LifeCycle-Designer. After resaving the document using LifeCycle-
Designer you will be able to properly render and process the document
using PDFTron's products such as PDF2Image or PDFNet SDK.

(excerpt from another article):

XFA Forms have their roots in a former e-forms company called JetForm
later renamed Accelio and acquired by Adobe in 2002. XFA concepts were
first introduced in PDF 1.5 (Acrobat 6) and expanded in PDF 1.6,
(Acrobat 7). Unlike Adobe’s earlier forms technology XFA Forms utilize
XML throughout. While this can be viewed as a technically superior
approach as it leverages XML as the backbone for all types of
structured documents, there are distinct drawbacks to be considered:

- Adobe XFA Forms are not compatible with AcroForms, and they cannot
be modified in Acrobat.

- Creating XFA form requires Adobe LiveCycle Forms Designer which
ships with Acrobat 7; and, on the backend there are no commercial or
open-source alternatives to the proprietary Adobe Forms Server for
processing XFA Forms.

- Existing Acrobat AcroForms cannot be automatically converted to XFA
Forms. Typographic fidelity may need to be sacrificed when manually
redrawing the forms with LiveCycle Designer.

- Adobe XFA Form documents are not compatible with versions of Acrobat
or Reader prior to 6.0. There are no reliable statistics on the
versions of Acrobat and Reader currently in use in the world.
Anecdotal evidence based on sales and customer support calls indicates
plenty of end users are still running version 5 or 4.

- AcroForms JavaScript is not supported with XFA Forms. A different,
incompatible JavaScript syntax is used which leads to increased
programming costs.

- XFA Forms are not part of the PDF/A (Archiving) standard which is
based on PDF Version 1.4. Applications for government or other
institutions that must comply with digital archive standards may be

- There are no commercial or open-source alternatives to using Adobe
products for XFA Forms as there are with AcroForms. If you run into
problems with XFA Forms you will have no one else to call besides


Nov 13, 2014, 11:24:11 PM11/13/14

FYI: XFA was voted to be deprecated from PDF spec (ISO32000:2). PDFTron voted in favor and is glad with the decision.
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