History of Forms support
The PDF file format has been around for 30 years now and it has continued to evolve to meet the needs of its users. Since 1996, it has offered the ability to create interactive Documents where users can have interactive fields to enter values and business logic which can update values and perform calculations.
The original Forms Technology (AcroForms) was introduced in 1996 and XFA (an XML based forms technology) was added in 2003. XFA has now been removed from the format, which left many wondering what the future of Forms on PDF is?
Taking forms forwards
The really good news is that there are plans to update forms support to meet the needs of users in 2023. The PDF Association (which now looks after the open file format). There is a working group (open to anyone interested) which has been producing a specification since 2020 for evolving forms.
What are the Key features of new forms support
The new forms (forms.next) proposals includes lots of exciting ideas. Here are the key ones you should know:-
- Backwards Compatible and builds on existing AcroForms.
- Support for JSON
- Much easier to add data constraints
- Much improved featureset
- Much improved support for Country specific settings, time and dates.
What about backward compatibility?
Forms.next will be based on AcroForms and will include fallback suggestions. For example, the new /FieldType includes an /FT setting as well, so new forms should partially work on old PDF tools.
Where do I get more details?
There is a nice explanation on the PDF Association website.
Do you need to solve any of these problems?
|Use PDF Forms in the Web Browser|
|Integrate PDF Forms into Web Apps|
|Convert PDF forms to HTML5|