Case study: Processing forms with webPDF
Automatic processing of attached PDF documents
On the basis of a concrete project example one can best show the application areas and functional characteristics of webPDF. Some of our customers come from the insurance industry, for example. We always work closely together with our customers and implement many individual wishes accordingly. This concrete case study should show how we have implemented an application for the automatic processing of e-mail attachments (PDF documents) as part of a customer project from the insurance industry.
Extract form values with webPDF – customer request
The prerequisites were here: The respective PDF document contains interactive forms (AcroForms). It is necessary for the automatic and customer-oriented further processing of the document and for an automatically generated customer mail that the form values are extracted. The document for the customer mail should then contain only selected pages (the page range was determined by values from the interactive forms). It was also desired that the interactive forms would not be editable.
All requirements for the processing of the PDF document were implemented with webPDF Webservices. For the written application the freely available webPDF-wsclient library was used for communication with webPDF. The webPDF-wsclient library enables the use of the webPDF web services via REST and SOAP and is written in Java.
webPDF Toolbox Operations: Toolbox forms
webPDF makes its PDF functions available as SOAP or RESTful web services. In addition, the web services can be integrated into programming languages in order to use the functions of webPDF there. Independent of the (SOAP or RESTful) interface, the webPDF server provides some web services to use the PDF functions of webPDF.
All web services are controlled via parameters that are defined as XML or JSON structures. For example, the forms operation was used for webPDF Toolbox operations that are available. With the toolbox operation ‘forms’ contents of AcroForms can be changed, created or read as in this case. In addition the possibility is offered to ‘flatten’ the forms (removing the fields and rendering the content). The toolbox operation ‘delete’ additionally offers the possibility to delete selected pages or page areas from the document.
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What is the role of webPDF in the processing of forms?
In the insurance industry or in asset management, forms are often filled out in everyday work. Clients and advisors fill in these forms individually (e.g. with contact details and other asset data). The following steps are then carried out according to our customer’s requirements:
- First, the PDFs are read in by webPDF for analysis.
- Pages or selection selections are selected that are relevant and filled with content.
- webPDF flattens the PDF, i.e. removes all interactive elements.
- The PDF is made available to the consultant and the customer for the files and for further action (as an e-mail with an attachment).
- At this point it would also be conceivable to provide the contact information for a CRM or similar.
Possible applications – not only in the insurance industry
Similar scenarios would be conceivable in various areas. For example, does your company have forms for employees or customers that always follow a similar structure? By using webPDF there are many possibilities to automate many processes and thus processes can be accelerated.
Attaching barcodes to PDF documents
Another exciting way to forward data via PDF documents and evaluate them automatically is, for example, the web service Barcode. We also have some customers who provide their PDF documents with barcodes in order to distribute them internally. This means that barcodes can be attached to documents. Analogous to manual selection (as described above), you can also define the processes yourself using the attached barcode. The task description is stored in the barcode and the system then processes the PDF accordingly. For example, pages can be cut out and split, and so on.
For further information and questions regarding the processing of forms or barcodes in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time via our contact form.