When Adobe purchased Macromedia and ColdFusion with it, you knew there had to be more integration with Adobe products coming including PDF. Before Adobe came along, doing anything with PDF documents required great difficulty and usually a 3rd party library. This has improved in recent versions of ColdFusion and now with ColdFusion 8, you can do virtually anything you need – from creating new PDF documents to managing, merging, and manipulating existing PDF documents.Rather than re-invent the wheel for ColdFusion, Adobe has added a slimmed down version of its LiveCycle product to this release.
By doing this, ColdFusion developers now have access to an XML vocabulary called DDX. Simply put, DDX is a set of XML code that describes one or more PDF documents that ColdFusion can build based upon other inputs. You can specify things like watermarks, headers, footers, a table of contents and more.For example, in a project we just finished up for Adobe MAX this past week, we took the United Way’s existing Volunteer web site and added a handful of bells and whistles. One of these additions took the results from a survey about the visitor’s interests in volunteering and put together a customized PDF packet of information for that visitor.
This custom packet included the United Way location closest to the visitor on the cover with a series of other pages describing volunteering activities that would interest the visitor based upon their selections in the survey. Each of these different pages started as an individual PDF document which then, using ColdFusion and DDX, where merged together into one document and a common header applied.To find out more about the possibilities of DDX and how to use it in ColdFusion, check out this article on the Adobe ColdFusion DevNet … http://www.adobe.com/devnet/coldfusion/articles/ddx_pdf.html