Monday, July 10, 2006

Adobe LiveCycle: why is it so boring?

So you might think that is a funny title for a blog entry made by a guy who is supposed to be the evangelist for Adobe LiveCycle. I mulled it over for quite a while before deciding that it really is accurate and portrays what I want to say.

For those of you who do not know what LiveCycle is, it is a core part of Adobe’s engagement platform. Essentially, it is a platform plus a series of servers that provide core functionality to act as a bridge to allow an enterprise to engage the far edges of the internet in a variety of ways. The marketing spiele states:

The Adobe® LiveCycle® family of J2EE-based enterprise software enables organizations to create, deploy, and optimize solutions to more efficiently capture, process, and archive information. It combines robust process management with electronic forms, document security, and document generation in an integrated and cohesive set of products that work inside and outside the firewall, for users in online and offline environments.

LiveCycle solutions leverage the universal client Adobe Reader® software and Intelligent Documents based on PDF and XML to capture information from users and automatically process it to the back-end or transaction systems that need it.”

For more about what it is, just visit

The top four reasons why I think some find it boring?

  1. Most successful technologies are very simple and do something so well that they are often forgotten. Think about HTTP – you don’t see analysts and press talking about how radical and exciting it is. HTTP simply is a workhorse that does something extremely useful to the benefit of everyone. Once it is up and running, you tend to forget about it unless you have a problem. Adobe LiveCycle is a workhorse – most people are more interested in what it has done rather than how it has done it. Once it is deployed it sits there quietly in the background just performing its tasks. Not really that exciting…
  1. Another trait that well designed and well thought out technologies have is that they solve a problem and do it well. Once the problem is solved, the IT group moves on to the next problem and unless something breaks, tend to somewhat forget about the problem they just solved over time. Once you deploy LiveCycle to do something, you should hopefully be able to move on to other problems and more or less forget about it.
  1. LiveCycle does the middle tier connecting. Simply, with all the buzz about Application Servers and Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s), the workhorse (the middle tier) is often neglected. Although absolutely essential, most people will never see it directly, only interact with it other that the results. Look at components like LiveCycle Assembler. It gathers data from various other sources and serves it up as a PDF document then hands it off. The end user only sees the PDF document and should not really care how it got created. In fact, if you started telling them about Assembler, most would probably go to sleep since they do not need to care how.
  1. LiveCycle is complex. In fact, there are so many libraries providing the functionality behind the scenes, that most people would (and should) get bored if they tried to read through and understand all of it. If someone is really excited about LiveCycle and talks about it with a passion, they need another hobby.
Of course, if you are excited about LiveCycle, that doesn't imply a social adjustment is in order. The people who make, design and promote LiveCycle have to be somewhat fanatical about the platform itself and we are.

In following weeks, I will post some more advanced subjects converning LiveCycle. Stay tuned.


  1. Hehe...

    When you go to someone's nice new house, you always comment on the art, flooring and fancy appliances. You don't often say "Gee bob, that sure is some sturdy and effective plumbing you have in here. I love how the sink empties out."

    I wonder if plumbers are bummed out by that? Their work isn't sexy either, but we're always happy to see them show up when the toilet is overflowing.


  2. Developers everywhere love you for saying this. Seriously - this is not just a LiveCycle problem. It is epidemic in the industry. No one sees our work


  3. A agree Life cycle is boring but not for the reason you say. I tried to install and find it very hard. once works it maid me give username and passowrd every time.


Do not spam this blog! Google and Yahoo DO NOT follow comment links for SEO. If you post an unrelated link advertising a company or service, you will be reported immediately for spam and your link deleted within 30 minutes. If you want to sponsor a post, please let us know by reaching out to duane dot nickull at gmail dot com.