Chapter 31. Working with Data

As we previously discussed in Chapter 14, data is a very important part of form development and all too often it is overlooked or written off at development time. We've all encountered the mentality of "one thing at a time"; we'll consider implementing that in the next phase; we can't do everything at once, anything will be better than what we had.

If we design the form, only to expect the form recipient to mail or fax back a printed copy of that information, we have solved only a minute piece of the overall form collection problem, the readability of the returned data. What about the need to enter that data into an electronic system, or sharing that data with interested parties in our organization?

Mailing or faxing requires the form recipient to take additional steps that rely on them to follow through with the process. What if they lose the fax number, or don't have access to a fax machine? The Postal Service does a wonderful job of delivering mail as long as it is legible, has a valid address, and proper postage. These are just a few of the items that can cause a delay in data collection. Even worse, we may never receive the data. Capturing data electronically is the real value in creating fillable forms.

In this chapter we focus on working with XML form data in a Designer form. After we discuss how XML is structured, we explore ...

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