[reportlab-users] PDF Form-Filling Layer

Jeff Kowalczyk reportlab-users@reportlab.com
Thu, 23 May 2002 22:14:10 -0400

One of the few remaining barriers to my selection of ReportLab over FOP
for a near-term project in Zope will the the issue of Form-Filling
fields in the PDF document when using a recent versions of Acrobat
Reader on Windows. I'm enormously impressed by Reportlab's
functionality, even astonished at the new SVG experimental stuff I've
seen. And I would much rather use a python library interface with my
Zope project than Java Servlets.

The use case would be to generate downloadable PDF with as much form
information as is available server-side at the time of the request, but
providing the user with a standalone document that they could modify or
complete later. The cited example would be a salesman with a laptop at a
client meeting, having completed most of the form ahead of time. The
form-filling would support the need to revise and enter additional
information onsite, but still have the printed result look consistent.

I realize that this is a recent and not-completely-standardized addition
to PDF, and even FOP doesn't have the funtionality mainstreamed into the
main API yet. However, I do want to assess the prospects of support
rudimentary textbox and checkbox form-filling in Reportlab. Dinu
mentioned that it seemed to be not too dissimilar to the annotation

I think it is a feature of PDF that would certainly get a lot of use,
even if there isn't quite a loudly-voiced demand for it in the ReportLab
community just yet. Thanks.