Adobe expands e-forms push

Publishing software giant Adobe Systems plans to announces a new electronic forms application that appears to be aimed at Microsoft's upcoming InfoPath product.

The as-yet unnamed product, which Adobe plans to introduce next year, allows companies to create and distribute interactive forms using Adobe's portable document format (PDF) and extensible markup language (XML), the fast-spreading standard behind Web services. XML support means data from forms designed with the software can be automatically sucked into backend software, such as corporate databases and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, eliminating the costly data re-entry associated with paper forms.

Microsoft is touting similar advantages for InfoPath, a part of the dramatically revamped Office productivity software line the company plans to introduce in a few months. InfoPath, formerly code-named XDocs, designs XML-based forms and ties them in to backend software to automate data exchange and delivery. Key differences in the Adobe product include reliance on the widespread PDF format, which can be read by any device equipped with the free Adobe Reader software. InfoPath forms can be used only by those who buy the application.

News source: C|Net News.com

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