Should I upgrade to AEM Forms 6.1 Feature Pack 1?

by Rajesh R. Kandasamy

Adobe released AEM Forms 6.1 Feature Pack 1 (FP1) on November 20, 2015.

There are many features that are made available with this feature pack – a couple them were initially expected to come out with AEM Forms 6.2 by mid 2016.

Here are some features that I found interesting:

Authoring of Adaptive Forms:

For AEM Forms, Adobe’s current focus is to create a non-technical-user friendly interface for form designers and business analysts to create Adaptive Forms. The goal here is to reduce their  dependence on IT and have a faster time to value.

With FP1, this is accomplished using a new feature called Rule Editor. If you are from the Adobe LiveCycle Designer background, this is very similar to the Action Builder tool. If you are a business user, you can use the visual editor without worrying about JavaScript, and if you are a developer, you can use the code editor. It adds dynamic behavior to forms and simplifies form filling. There is an out-of-the-box chart component that can be used to increase customer understanding.

Performance Improvements:

Our core development and consulting team did some test drive of the new AEM Forms Feature Pack 1 and appreciated performance improvements, and even vouched this as a good enough reason to upgrade to the latest FP1.

So, what’s the trick here? Lazy Loading…it does improve performance!

With FP1, you can convert adaptive form panels into fragments. Just like an XDP fragment, the AF fragment doesn’t get loaded while designing the form. What you see instead is an image as shown below:

More than the re-usability of the AF Fragment, it helps solve one big complaint that I hear from my team when they work on complex insurance forms – which is the load time while authoring.

It helps significantly reduce the load time when authoring and thus improves the overall performance, especially for large forms.

Enhancements to AEM Forms App:

– If you just migrated from Adobe LiveCycle to AEM Forms, you may be wondering if AEM Forms App is a new tool. It is actually the Adobe LiveCycle Mobile Workspace app rebranded as AEM Forms App. The Workspace App used to be in the back burner of Adobe’s plan, but with AEM Forms App, it has gained more traction and investment from Adobe to enhance it and make it available for a wide range of devices out there in the market. AEM Forms App can be installed on Blackberry Q10 as well!

Android version of AEM Forms App is already available on Google PlayStore. In terms of PhoneGap support, there is a big jump from version 2.1 to version 5.

And more…

  • There is now a closer integration with Adobe Target so you can include targeted content in document communications.
  • Some usability enhancements were made to Correspondence Management
  • Document Security now has the support for 64-bit version of Microsoft Office
  • APIs to approve/reject submitted forms
  • etc..