Use AEM Forms as a Cloud Service Communications

Communications capability helps you to create brand-approved, personalized, and standardized documents such as business correspondences, statements, claim processing letters, benefit notices, monthly bills, or welcome kits.

The capability provides APIs to generate and manipulate the documents. You can generate or manipulate a document on demand or create a batch job to generate multiple documents at defined intervals. Communications APIs provide:

  • streamlined on-demand and batch documentation generation capabilities.

  • capability to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents on-demand.

  • HTTP APIs for easier integration with external systems. Separate APIs for on demand (low-latency) and batch operations (high-throughput operations) are included.

  • a secure access to data. Communications APIs connect to and access data only from customer designated data repositories, making Communications highly secure.

A sample credit card statement
A credit card statement can be created using Communications APIs. This sample statement uses same template but separate data for each customer depending on their usage of credit card.

Document generation

Communications document generation APIs help to combine a template (XFA or PDF) with customer data (XML data) to generate documents in PDF and Print Formats like PS, PCL, DPL, IPL, and ZPL formats. These APIs utilize PDF and XFA templates with XML data to generate a single document on demand or multiple documents using a batch job.

Typically, you create a template using Designer and use Communications APIs to merge data with the template. Your application can send the output document to a network printer, a local printer, or to a storage system for archival. A typical out of the box and custom workflows look like the following:

Communications document generation Workflow

Depending on the use case, you can also make these documents available for download via your Website or a storage server.

Some examples of document generation APIs are:

Create PDF documents

You can use the document generation APIs to create a PDF document that is based on a form design and XML form data. The output is a non-interactive PDF document. That is, users cannot enter or modify the form data. A basic workflow is to merge XML form data with a form design to create a PDF document. The following Illustration shows the merging of a form design and XML form data to produce a PDF document.

Create PDF documents
Figure: Typical workflow to create a PDF document

Create PostScript (PS), Printer Command Language (PCL), Zebra Printing Language (ZPL) document

You can use document generation APIs to create PostScript (PS), Printer Command Language (PCL), and Zebra Printing Language (ZPL) document that are based on an XDP form design or PDF document. These APIs help to merge a form design with form data to generate a document. You can save the document to a file and develop a custom process to send it to a printer.

Processing batch data to create multiple documents

You can use document generation APIs to create separate documents for each record within an XML batch data source. You can generate documents in bulk and asynchronous mode. You can configure various parameters for the conversion and then start the batch process.

Create PDF Documents

Document manipulation

Communications document manipulation APIs help to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents. Typically, you create a DDX and submit it to document manipulation APIs to assemble or rearrange a document. The DDX document provides instructions on how to use the source documents to produce a set of required documents. The DDX reference documentation provides detailed information about all the supported operations. Some examples of document manipulation are:

Assemble PDF documents

You can use the document manuaplation APIs to assemble two or more PDF or XDP documents into a single PDF document or PDF Portfolio. Here are some of the ways you can assemble PDF documents:

  • Assemble a simple PDF document
  • Create a PDF Portfolio
  • Assemble encrypted documents
  • Assemble documents using Bates numbering
  • Flatten and assemble documents

Assembling a simple PDF document from multiple PDF documents
Figure: Assembling a simple PDF document from multiple PDF documents

Disassemble PDF documents

You can use the document manuaplation APIs to disassemble a PDF document. The APIs can extract pages from the source document or divide a source document based on bookmarks. Typically, this task is useful if the PDF document was originally created from many individual documents, such as a collection of statements.

  • Extract pages from a source document
  • Divide a source document based on bookmarks

Dividing a source document based on bookmarks into multiple documents
Figure: Dividing a source document based on bookmarks into multiple documents

Convert to and validate PDF/A-compliant documents

You can use the document manuaplation APIs to convert a PDF document to a PDF/A-compliant document and to determine whether a PDF document is PDF/A-compliant. PDF/A is an archival format meant for long-term preservation of the document’s content. The fonts are embedded within the document, and the file is uncompressed. As a result, a PDF/A document is typically larger than a standard PDF document. Also, a PDF/A document does not contain audio and video content.

Types of communications APIs

Communications provide HTTP APIs for on-demand and batch document generation:

  • Synchronous APIs are suitable for on-demand, low latency, and single record document generation scenarios. These APIs are more suitable for user-action based use cases. For example, generating a document after a user completes filling a form.

  • Batch APIs (Asynchronous APIs) are suitable for scheduled, high throughput, and multiple document generation scenarios. These APIs generate documents in batches. For example, phone bills, credit card statements, and benefits statements generated every month.

Onboarding

Communications capability is available as a standalone and add-on module for Forms as a Cloud Service users. You can contact Adobe Sales team or your Adobe representative to request access. Adobe enables access for your organization and provide required privileges to the person designated as administrator in your organization. The administrator can grant access to your Forms as a Cloud Service developers (users) of your organization to use the APIs.

After onboarding, to enable Communications capability for your Forms as a Cloud Service environment:

  1. Log in to Cloud Manager and open your AEM Forms as a Cloud Service Instance.

  2. Open the Edit Program option, go to the Solutions & Add-ons tab, and select the Forms - Communications option.

    Communications

    If you have already enabled the Forms - Digital Enrollment option, then select the Forms - Communications Add-On option.

    Addon

  3. Click Update.

  4. Run the build pipeline. After the build pipeline succeeds, Communications APIs are enabled for your environment.

NOTE

To enable and configure document manipulation APIs, add the following rule to Dispatcher configuration:

# Allow Forms Doc Generation requests
/0062 { /type "allow" /method "POST" /url "/adobe/forms/assembler/*" }

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