Software engineers or experts can you help?

13
Posted 16th Oct
Hi all,
I wonder if anyone can help me on here. I'm looking for a way to create an offline standalone data capture program, that has custom fields that can be filled out by an applicant and then a button at the end of the form generates a PDF with all the entered data present.

Does anything exist that would allow me to do this? I've played around with an old version of Microsoft Access that will allow to make custom fields to produce a spreadsheet display but its not very user friendly.

Thank you
Dean
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You could create an offline webpage that generated an XML output which you could run through Apache FOP with a custom stylesheet in order to produce your output pdf.
davie41216/10/2019 11:54

You could create an offline webpage that generated an XML output which you …You could create an offline webpage that generated an XML output which you could run through Apache FOP with a custom stylesheet in order to produce your output pdf.


Is all of this pretty straightforward to acheive? It sounds ideal. I have built wordpress websites in the past and altered stylesheets but I've never created anything of my own from scratch.
Excel?
It'd be a good project to start learning a normal programming language with. The data entry is nice and simple and it sounds like there's little or no processing required, simply passing the data into a document template.

I haven't done any work with PDFs so I can't recommend a good language specifically. It's probably best to start with one of the big languages for the platform you're developing for, such as C# for Windows or Swift/Object-C for Mac OS, as they'll have good interface libraries built-in and PDF libraries available.
Edited by: "EndlessWaves" 16th Oct
EndlessWaves16/10/2019 12:17

It'd be a good project to start learning a normal programming language …It'd be a good project to start learning a normal programming language with. The data entry is nice and simple and it sounds like there's little or no processing required, simply passing the data into a document template. I haven't done any work with PDFs so I can't recommend a good language specifically. It's probably best to start with one of the big languages for the platform you're developing for, such as C# for Windows or Swift/Object-C for Mac OS, as they'll have good interface libraries built-in and PDF libraries available.


Yes that's what I am looking to achieve. It is actually an application for finance form, for internal use only that will produce a pdf that can be printed or emailled if required.
Sir.Charles16/10/2019 12:32

I've played around with an old version of Microsoft Access that will allow …I've played around with an old version of Microsoft Access that will allow to make custom fields to produce a spreadsheet display but its not very user friendly.


Presumably expecting the user to have a commercial program available to them is unrealistic. I'm thinking of open source solutions, likely involving portable applications.
Maybe an open source portable PDF editor modified with an integrated template. Sumatra for example has a portable version of ludicrously small size of about 3MB, but it's a reader not an editor.
Or combination of text file template plus open source portable PDF generator / export / printer. CutePDF may have some permutation option.
Consider most OS' have an integrated PDF printer so you may only need to supply a cross-platform-friendly text-based template, although the user has some control over the exported / printed PDF appearance so different users may produce non-consistent PDF docs.
That's possibly three separate routes to consider for solutions.
Edited by: "AndyRoyd" 16th Oct
KISS Make a Word Template. Applicant completes. Saves. Prints and uses snail mail or attaches to email. When it comes to data you will be aware I'm sure of GDPR.

support.office.com/en-…a9f
Edited by: "tardytortoise" 16th Oct
Sir.Charles16/10/2019 12:01

Is all of this pretty straightforward to acheive? It sounds ideal. I have …Is all of this pretty straightforward to acheive? It sounds ideal. I have built wordpress websites in the past and altered stylesheets but I've never created anything of my own from scratch.


It wouldn't be too difficult but there may be simpler options. My approach would be to generate XML with the inputted data and run through a stylesheet with Apache FOP, there should be many examples floating around online to show you how to access and display the xml data.
Sir.Charles16/10/2019 12:32

... an application for finance form, for internal use only that will …... an application for finance form, for internal use only that will produce a pdf that can be printed or emailled if required.


What OS?
Sir.Charles16/10/2019 16:56

Windows 10


Any old template, created in native text document, native rtf document, open source document, commercial document, then file > print > Microsoft print to pdf. Job done?
You can do it in Microsoft Access just create the table to hold the data then use the form wizard to create the data capture screen then make a report showing the data in a pretty form.
It will take a bit of fine tuning making everything look good and idiot proofing it.

You should be able to find loads guides on doing this as it used to be a big part of the IT GCSE.
As above with access. You can then create a macro that experts the data to excel, or a word document. Set the macro to open the document after the export.

Then in the excel or access, you can have it to automatically convert to pdf on start.
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