Rendering forms based on fragments

The Forms service can render forms that are based on fragments that you create using Designer. A fragment is a reusable part of a form and is saved as a separate XDP file that can be inserted into multiple form designs. For example, a fragment can include an address block or legal text.

Using fragments simplifies and speeds the creation and maintenance of large numbers of forms. When creating a form, insert a reference to the required fragment and the fragment appears in the form. The fragment reference contains a subform that points to the physical XDP file. For information about creating fragments, see Designer Help

A fragment can include several subforms that are wrapped in a choice subform set. Choice subform sets control the display of subforms based on the flow of data from a data connection. Use conditional statements to determine which subform from within the set appears in the delivered form. For example, each subform in a set can include information for a particular geographic location. Also, the subform that is displayed can be determined based on the location of the user.

A script fragment contains reusable JavaScript functions or values that are stored separately from any particular object, such as a date parser or a web service invocation. These fragments include a single script object that appears as a child of variables in the Hierarchy palette in Designer. Fragments cannot be created from scripts that are properties of other objects, such as event scripts like validate, calculate, or initialize.

Here are advantages of using fragments:

Content reuse:
You can use fragments to reuse content in multiple form designs. To use some of the same content in multiple forms, it is faster and simpler to use a fragment than to copy or re-create the content. Using fragments also ensures that the frequently used parts of a form design have consistent content and appearance in all the referencing forms.

Global updates:
You can use fragments to make global changes to multiple forms only once, in one file. You can change the content, script objects, data bindings, layout, or styles in a fragment. All XDP forms that reference the fragment will reflect the changes.

For example, a common element across many forms may be an address block that includes a drop-down list object for the country. To update the values for the drop-down list object, you must open many forms to make the changes. If you include the address block in a fragment, you only need to open one fragment file to make the changes.

To update a fragment in a PDF form, resave the form in Designer.

Shared form creation:
You can use fragments to share the creation of forms among several resources. Form developers with expertise in scripting or other advanced features of Designer can develop and share fragments that take advantage of scripting and dynamic properties. Form authors can use the fragments to lay out form designs and to ensure that all parts of a form have a consistent appearance and functionality across multiple forms multiple people designed.

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