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Customized pdf form sent to client: Possible?

P: n/a
Let me first apologize for the myriad bits of ignorance that are to
follow.

Our company does consulting work. We have found over the years that it
is best to have an agreement in writing, both to make sure all terms
are clear and to help deal with the small percentage of people who are
simply not honest.

We send them a PDF form to fill out (by hand, it needs a signature)
and send back to us. Depending on the job, certain things change,
notably the quoted price. Our consultant fields calls and emails from
out of the office. He wants to be able to refer people to a form on
the web that has the correct price already printed on it.

I found a script that allows us to give the client a password to
access the correct form. That works fine. But there are two problems:

We don't want non-clients, especially competitors, to read the form.
We understand that there is no 100% solution to that, but we don't
want search engines to be able to index the files easily. Toward that
end we have converted the forms to a "picture" and then printed them
as pdfs. Thus there is no text to index.

This "solution" has led to both of our problems. The files are quite
large (2.75Mb) and slow to load. In addition, coverting them to a
picture and then to pdf is a bit of a pain in the neck, especially
since there are about 20 different versions. Occasionally we feel the
need to change the form, which is a lot of work.

I would love to be able to find a different method. Perhaps some way
to insert a specified price into a blank spot on an otherwise defined
page. Or even better, a way to generate the proper pdf for each client
who logs in, but still leaving the text un-searchable.

Can anyone point us in the right direction?

Greg Guarino
Jun 18 '07 #1
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3 Replies


P: n/a
Greg Guarino wrote:
Let me first apologize for the myriad bits of ignorance that are to
follow.

Our company does consulting work. We have found over the years that it
is best to have an agreement in writing, both to make sure all terms
are clear and to help deal with the small percentage of people who are
simply not honest.

We send them a PDF form to fill out (by hand, it needs a signature)
and send back to us. Depending on the job, certain things change,
notably the quoted price. Our consultant fields calls and emails from
out of the office. He wants to be able to refer people to a form on
the web that has the correct price already printed on it.

I found a script that allows us to give the client a password to
access the correct form. That works fine. But there are two problems:

We don't want non-clients, especially competitors, to read the form.
We understand that there is no 100% solution to that, but we don't
want search engines to be able to index the files easily. Toward that
end we have converted the forms to a "picture" and then printed them
as pdfs. Thus there is no text to index.

This "solution" has led to both of our problems. The files are quite
large (2.75Mb) and slow to load. In addition, coverting them to a
picture and then to pdf is a bit of a pain in the neck, especially
since there are about 20 different versions. Occasionally we feel the
need to change the form, which is a lot of work.

I would love to be able to find a different method. Perhaps some way
to insert a specified price into a blank spot on an otherwise defined
page. Or even better, a way to generate the proper pdf for each client
who logs in, but still leaving the text un-searchable.

Can anyone point us in the right direction?
Sure. NONE of this is really a JavaScript question.

You should generate the PDFs on the fly, server-side. PHP, Perl, and
Python have *several* options (most free) to do this, I am not sure
about ASP.

--
-Lost
Remove the extra words to reply by e-mail. Don't e-mail me. I am
kidding. No I am not.
Jun 18 '07 #2

P: n/a
On Jun 18, 10:05 am, Greg Guarino <g...@risky-biz.comwrote:
Let me first apologize for the myriad bits of ignorance that are to
follow.

Our company does consulting work. We have found over the years that it
is best to have an agreement in writing, both to make sure all terms
are clear and to help deal with the small percentage of people who are
simply not honest.

We send them a PDF form to fill out (by hand, it needs a signature)
and send back to us. Depending on the job, certain things change,
notably the quoted price. Our consultant fields calls and emails from
out of the office. He wants to be able to refer people to a form on
the web that has the correct price already printed on it.

I found a script that allows us to give the client a password to
access the correct form. That works fine. But there are two problems:

We don't want non-clients, especially competitors, to read the form.
We understand that there is no 100% solution to that, but we don't
want search engines to be able to index the files easily. Toward that
end we have converted the forms to a "picture" and then printed them
as pdfs. Thus there is no text to index.

This "solution" has led to both of our problems. The files are quite
large (2.75Mb) and slow to load. In addition, coverting them to a
picture and then to pdf is a bit of a pain in the neck, especially
since there are about 20 different versions. Occasionally we feel the
need to change the form, which is a lot of work.

I would love to be able to find a different method. Perhaps some way
to insert a specified price into a blank spot on an otherwise defined
page. Or even better, a way to generate the proper pdf for each client
who logs in, but still leaving the text un-searchable.
Sounds like overkill. If you already require the user
to log on in a fashion that's reasonably secure before
the form is sent, a search engine is unlikely to see
the form in the first place. You could always include
one of those 'verify you're human by typing the letters
in this bitmap' checks in the login form.

For the rest of it, if you send the pdf over a secure
socket, you might just as well create it on the fly
and not worry about it being searched. Unless you
expect a competitor to start searching the hard
drives of your clients' systems.

If someone is that determined, it's likely easier for
them to create an account, generate the forms they
want, and read them manually.

----
Geoff

Jun 18 '07 #3

P: n/a
On Mon, 18 Jun 2007 10:21:17 -0400, -Lost
<ma****************@techie.comwrote:
>Sure. NONE of this is really a JavaScript question.
Even that is useful information for me.
>You should generate the PDFs on the fly, server-side. PHP, Perl, and
Python have *several* options (most free) to do this, I am not sure
about ASP.
Thank you very much. I'll look into it. \

Greg
Jun 18 '07 #4

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