CF India Summit: Part One – Workflow and Document Management Made Easy w/ ColdFusion

November 18, 2018
Host CF Alive podcast, founder CFUnited, CEO TeraTech
Wizard 24 posts
Followers: 5 people
0

CF India Summit: Part One – Workflow and Document Management Made Easy w/ ColdFusion

Host CF Alive podcast, founder CFUnited, CEO TeraTech
Wizard 24 posts
Followers: 5 people
November 18, 2018

With the 2018 ColdFusion and CFML conference season heading to a close, we now travel to India! Bengaluru, India to be precise. India is home to some of the world’s foremost experts in Adobe ColdFusion and the ACF engineering team. This would be an absolutely phenomenal opportunity for any of those available to go. Also… it’s free to register!

 

In this mini-series, we will bring to light some of the topics at CF Summit India 2018 . Our first article will focus on ColdFusion Workflow and Document Management. Kailash Bihani will present this topic. Although some may find it to be relatively basic or introductory, there should be no gravity lost in just how important this really is.

CIOs or those aspiring to be should pay careful attention to what can be gained through the study of workflow and document management. Thankfully, Adobe ColdFusion is a top-notch platform for this.

“On the business side, we are really comfortable, we are very happy where it is. And that gives us you know like added incentive and possibly a little bit of headroom for us to kind of sit back and say, ‘You know like can we do something really big? Can we do something adventurous?’”- Tridib Roy Chowdhury, General Manager and Senior Director of Products at Adobe Systems

 

From CF Alive episode, “065 The Future of ColdFusion (it is Bright) with Tridib Roy Chowdhury

What You Need to Know as CIO

Workflow management is nothing new. As a matter of fact, even automated workflow systems have been around for decades. Let’s examine in detail what it is and why it matters to successful organizations.

According to PNMSoft,

“Workflow is the definition, execution, and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.”

You can picture a proper workflow operating like a clock.

The Hour Hand (The Business End)

Workflow is designed to make sure that all systems, personnel, and components work together efficiently to produce viable and positive business results.

The Minute Hand (The Bottom Line)

It is designed to help you:

  • Save Money
  • Process Transparency
  • Improve Accountability
  • Raise Customer Satisfaction
  • Improve Productivity
  • Get Results Faster

The Second Hand (The Manager’s Perspective)

The second hand represents the manager’s perspective as this is the non-stop action of your company. It ticks through all of these variables portrayed through the hour and minute hands. Yet, the primary focus is those of the most immediate. Get the best results faster and cheaper.

Document Management

Document Management is an integral part of the workflow. Yet, it is its own beast and should be handled as such. So, what is document management then?

Document management as defined via AIIM is:

“How your Organization Stores, Manages and Tracks its Electronic Documents”

AIIM stands for the Association for Information and Image Management. They are a global community of information specialists. If anybody is going to know about workflow and document management… it’s these guys.

AIIM conducted a survey titled The Digital Office: Improving The Way We Work. This survey was focused on all the issues that embody document management including filing, sharing, and approving documents.

What did the findings reveal?

This survey was taken among 204 active members of AIIM.

  • 71% share via the network drive
  • 56% have an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or SharePoint system, but staff primarily use file-share day-to-day.
  • 55% do make use of shared folders for support documents.
  • 48% feel their users aren’t given an easy choice of where to file things.
  • 40% percent want a simpler way to sign contracts, etc., with customers.
  • 35% use open documents to collect input during meetings.
  • 32% agree the need to extend approvals capability to mobile devices.
  • 31% feel that their ECM or SharePoint systems are too cumbersome.
  • 22% use automated circulation of meeting agendas and minutes.
  • 15% share via a cloud file share

Document and Digital Disruption

Technology is ever-changing. And by doing so, it is changing the modern working environment.

Successful organizations need to move more and more to full digitization.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And nowadays it can be easy to accomplish. Why? One word.

Millennials.

According to many older generations (particularly the baby boomers), millennials are the most entitled generation. They are often portrayed as lazy and constantly complaining. Even if this were true, would these characteristics make for a poor worker in technological and IT fields?

Hell no. Here’s why.

They’re lazy and complain. That’s right. You heard correctly. What some see as negative may be construed entirely different. You see, a lot of Millennials put into practice the whole “work smarter, not harder” concept. This may seem like laziness, but in reality can be a much more efficient way of getting work done. And the complaining… well, they don’t like to just sit back and get steamrolled by anything.

This means that they are more susceptible to change that will empower vice being stuck in old, outdated ways. Heck, it’s difficult to get some boomers to change from a dot-AOL account–let alone a fully automated document and workflow management system. And yes, they will complain. Complain to make their lives easier… which includes introducing more efficient and effective office policies.

Now contrary to popular belief, the baby boomer (and other subsequent) generations are not going to be running the workforce forever. These millennials will soon be the new leaders of IT. And that means change.

In order for this to happen though, we need outreach. Instead of rejecting our new successors, perhaps we should encourage them more to get involved with our ColdFusion communities.

“To make ColdFusion more alive, I wish it gets included in the academic courses at schools and universities.”- Uma Ghotikar, Web application developer at ICF

 

From CF Alive episode, “077 Fundamentals of Unit Testing, BDD and Mocking (using TestBox and MockBox) with Uma Ghotikar

The Biggest Challenge for Workflow and Document Management

There are many numbers of small hiccups that could stand in the way of workflow and document change. These could include:

  • Office Policy
  • Allocated Funds for Change
  • Legacy Infrastructure
  • Stubbornness to Change

But the number one challenge for workflow and document management change is… the technology itself. Or the rate at which it changes. As I’ve stated earlier, technology is ever-changing. And it’s changing so much more rapidly than we could have ever imagined. So trying to keep pace with tech is proving to be exceedingly difficult. This is an issue that doesn’t seem fully solvable as of now. Yet, that does not mean we shouldn’t be vigilant in our pursuits though.

For Aspiring CIOs

In today’s world, a CIO is more than just a senior technologist. Today’s CIO is also a savvy strategic leader capable of running a proper and effective workplace.
 
 This is why it is so important for those looking to fill a role as CIO to understand workflow. There are two major areas that you can focus on to help your understanding of not only workflow and document management but leadership as well.

Vision and Innovation

This is a crucial lesson for prospective CIOs. Here you should take a step back and try to obtain a holistic view of the company. By doing this and thinking forward, you can stay a leg up on your competition. Embrace your new vision and support it with creativity and innovation. Let’s take an example from one of the greatest innovators of our time. Steve Jobs.

Do you know why Steve Jobs chose the name Apple? Sure, it’s a snappy and catchy name. It’s easy to recognize and hard to get out of your head. But he chose it also because it came before his major competitor in the phone book. Atari.

See, he had the vision to pull ahead of his competitor through his aggressive business move. And he had the innovation to achieve it.

Board Level Knowledge

If you want to be one the top dogs, you gotta think like one. Having guts and creativity can get you places. But having the right knowledge can keep you there. Part of that knowledge as a CIO is workflow and document management. No doubt about that. With proper workflow, you can not only relay your business efficiency to your employees and customers but to the rest of the C-suite as well.

How can I Improve my Workflow and Document Management?

There are three areas of focus for improving your workflow and document management.

  1. Learning
  2. By increasing your knowledge of workflow, you can start to utilize its intricacies. Workflow and document management can be a bit tricky at times. Through education, you can start cutting through the tricky parts and start building your system.
  3. Automation
  4. Maintaining every step of a manual workflow management system can be rather vexing and taxing at times. But with the use of automation tools including ColdFusion, you can more effectively make sure every aspect of your system is carried out correctly.
  5. Get the Right Tools for the Job
  6. Just as you wouldn’t use a fish to hammer in a nail, you wouldn’t want an old rank and file system for your complex work management needs. For your document management needs, you need to get yourself a great system that can support all your document needs. Luckily for us… We have ColdFusion.

“I think the first time I used ColdFusion was in my college days, and this was way back long time back. So I started using ColdFusion there. At that time, I realized how easy it was.”- Kishore Balakrishnan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe

From CF Alive episode, “058 All about the Adobe CF Summit East 2018 ColdFusion with Kishore Balakrishnan

CF Tech Talk

ColdFusion supports a wide array of documents and has many functions you can use to manipulate them as see fit.

Documents Supported by Adobe ColdFusion

From PDF to XML to spreadsheets, ColdFusion can handle it all. But what’s probably more important are some of the document conversion and manipulations that can be handled by CF. Here are just some of the conversions ColdFusion can do straight out of the box:

  • PPT to PDF
  • PPT to HTML
  • HTML to PPT
  • Word to PDF
  • Excel to Query
  • Query to Excel
  • Excel to HTML
  • HTML to PDF

CF Tags

Let’s take a look at some of the CF Document Management Tags as defined by Adobe.

  • Manages Excel spreadsheet files:
  • Reads a sheet from a spreadsheet file and stores it in a ColdFusion spreadsheet object, query, CSV string, or HTML string.
  • Writes single sheet to a new XLS file from a query, ColdFusion spreadsheet object, or CSV string variable.
  • Add a sheet an existing XLS file.
  • <cfhtmltopdf> creates high quality PDF output from a text block containing CFML and HTML using the PDF Service Manager.The WebKit implementation for <cfhtmltopdf> is referred as PDFG (acronym of PDF Generator) which is shipped as part of the Jetty installer. The component running inside the Jetty server is referred as the service manager, which takes request for PDF conversion from one or many ColdFusion server/s.
  • Use the cfpdf tag to read an existing PDF, write metadata to it, merge PDFs together, delete pages, create thumbnails of the pages, extract text and images, add or remove watermarks, electronically sign or unsign documents, sanitize and redact PDF contents for better security, and safeguard the PDFs with a password.
  • Defines the look of a dynamic slide presentation and determines whether to write the presentation files to disk. The cfpresentation tag is the parent tag for one or more cfpresentationslide tags, where you define the content for the presentation, and the cfpresenter tags, which provide information about the people presenting the slides.
  • Manipulates existing forms created in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe LiveCycle Designer. The following list describes some of the tasks you can perform with the cfpdfform tag:
  • Embed an interactive form created in Acrobat LiveCycle in a PDF document. You use the cfpdfform tag to embed the PDF form in a cfdocument tag.
  • Render an existing form created in Acrobat or LiveCycle. This includes prefilling fields from a database or an XML data file and processing form data from an HTTP post or PDF submission.
  • Extract or prefill values in stored PDF forms and save the output to a file or use it to update a data source.
  • Creates PDF or FlashPaper output from a text block containing CFML and HTML.

CFpdf Deep Dive

In Kailash Bihani’s CF Summit India talk, he will perform a deep dive into one of ColdFusion’s most pivotal CF tag for document management –cfpdf. This is a powerful workflow and document management tag and some of its functions include:

  • Merge several PDF documents into one PDF document.
  • Delete pages from a PDF document.
  • Merge pages from one or more PDF documents and generate a new PDF document.
  • Linearize PDF documents for faster web display.
  • Remove interactivity from forms created in Acrobat to generate flat PDF documents.
  • Encrypt and add password protection to PDF documents.
  • Generate thumbnail images from PDF documents or pages.
  • Add or remove watermarks from PDF documents or pages.
  • Retrieve information associated with a PDF document, such as the software used to generate the file or the author, and set information for a PDF document, such as the title, author and keywords.
  • Create PDF portfolios
  • Add and remove header/footer from PDF documents
  • Optimize PDF documents

This deep dive will also include discussion on redaction, sanitation, and digital signatures and forms.

All in all, this session gives each and everyone of us what we need most. A review of fundamentals. Fundamentals which can help to create a better workflow and document management system for your company.

About the Speaker:

Kailash Bihani, a Software Engineer in the Adobe ColdFusion team. Kailash responsibilities for ColdFusion features include Security, HTMLtoPDF, Websockets, and Mobile. When he has free time, he is either working on AR technologies or taking a trek somewhere in India.

Join the CF Alive revolution

Discover how we can all make CF more alive, modern and secure this year. Join other ColdFusion developers and managers in the CF Alive Inner Circletoday.

  • Get early access to the CF Alive book and videos
  • Be part of a new movement for improving CF’s perception in the world.
  • Contribute to the CF Alive revolution
  • Connect with other CF developers and managers
  • There is no cost to membership.
 

Originally published at teratech.com on November 18, 2018.

CF India Summit: Part One

With the 2018 ColdFusion and CFML conference season heading to a close, we now travel to India! Bengaluru, India to be precise. India is home to some of the world’s foremost experts in Adobe ColdFusion and the ACF engineering team. This would be an absolutely phenomenal opportunity for any of those available to go. Also… it’s free to register!

 

In this mini-series, we will bring to light some of the topics at CF Summit India 2018 . Our first article will focus on ColdFusion Workflow and Document Management. Kailash Bihani will present this topic. Although some may find it to be relatively basic or introductory, there should be no gravity lost in just how important this really is.

CIOs or those aspiring to be should pay careful attention to what can be gained through the study of workflow and document management. Thankfully, Adobe ColdFusion is a top-notch platform for this.

“On the business side, we are really comfortable, we are very happy where it is. And that gives us you know like added incentive and possibly a little bit of headroom for us to kind of sit back and say, ‘You know like can we do something really big? Can we do something adventurous?’”- Tridib Roy Chowdhury, General Manager and Senior Director of Products at Adobe Systems

 

From CF Alive episode, “065 The Future of ColdFusion (it is Bright) with Tridib Roy Chowdhury

What You Need to Know as CIO

Workflow management is nothing new. As a matter of fact, even automated workflow systems have been around for decades. Let’s examine in detail what it is and why it matters to successful organizations.

According to PNMSoft,

“Workflow is the definition, execution, and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.”

You can picture a proper workflow operating like a clock.

The Hour Hand (The Business End)

Workflow is designed to make sure that all systems, personnel, and components work together efficiently to produce viable and positive business results.

The Minute Hand (The Bottom Line)

It is designed to help you:

  • Save Money
  • Process Transparency
  • Improve Accountability
  • Raise Customer Satisfaction
  • Improve Productivity
  • Get Results Faster

The Second Hand (The Manager’s Perspective)

The second hand represents the manager’s perspective as this is the non-stop action of your company. It ticks through all of these variables portrayed through the hour and minute hands. Yet, the primary focus is those of the most immediate. Get the best results faster and cheaper.

Document Management

Document Management is an integral part of the workflow. Yet, it is its own beast and should be handled as such. So, what is document management then?

Document management as defined via AIIM is:

“How your Organization Stores, Manages and Tracks its Electronic Documents”

AIIM stands for the Association for Information and Image Management. They are a global community of information specialists. If anybody is going to know about workflow and document management… it’s these guys.

AIIM conducted a survey titled The Digital Office: Improving The Way We Work. This survey was focused on all the issues that embody document management including filing, sharing, and approving documents.

What did the findings reveal?

This survey was taken among 204 active members of AIIM.

  • 71% share via the network drive
  • 56% have an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or SharePoint system, but staff primarily use file-share day-to-day.
  • 55% do make use of shared folders for support documents.
  • 48% feel their users aren’t given an easy choice of where to file things.
  • 40% percent want a simpler way to sign contracts, etc., with customers.
  • 35% use open documents to collect input during meetings.
  • 32% agree the need to extend approvals capability to mobile devices.
  • 31% feel that their ECM or SharePoint systems are too cumbersome.
  • 22% use automated circulation of meeting agendas and minutes.
  • 15% share via a cloud file share

Document and Digital Disruption

Technology is ever-changing. And by doing so, it is changing the modern working environment.

Successful organizations need to move more and more to full digitization.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And nowadays it can be easy to accomplish. Why? One word.

Millennials.

According to many older generations (particularly the baby boomers), millennials are the most entitled generation. They are often portrayed as lazy and constantly complaining. Even if this were true, would these characteristics make for a poor worker in technological and IT fields?

Hell no. Here’s why.

They’re lazy and complain. That’s right. You heard correctly. What some see as negative may be construed entirely different. You see, a lot of Millennials put into practice the whole “work smarter, not harder” concept. This may seem like laziness, but in reality can be a much more efficient way of getting work done. And the complaining… well, they don’t like to just sit back and get steamrolled by anything.

This means that they are more susceptible to change that will empower vice being stuck in old, outdated ways. Heck, it’s difficult to get some boomers to change from a dot-AOL account–let alone a fully automated document and workflow management system. And yes, they will complain. Complain to make their lives easier… which includes introducing more efficient and effective office policies.

Now contrary to popular belief, the baby boomer (and other subsequent) generations are not going to be running the workforce forever. These millennials will soon be the new leaders of IT. And that means change.

In order for this to happen though, we need outreach. Instead of rejecting our new successors, perhaps we should encourage them more to get involved with our ColdFusion communities.

“To make ColdFusion more alive, I wish it gets included in the academic courses at schools and universities.”- Uma Ghotikar, Web application developer at ICF

 

From CF Alive episode, “077 Fundamentals of Unit Testing, BDD and Mocking (using TestBox and MockBox) with Uma Ghotikar

The Biggest Challenge for Workflow and Document Management

There are many numbers of small hiccups that could stand in the way of workflow and document change. These could include:

  • Office Policy
  • Allocated Funds for Change
  • Legacy Infrastructure
  • Stubbornness to Change

But the number one challenge for workflow and document management change is… the technology itself. Or the rate at which it changes. As I’ve stated earlier, technology is ever-changing. And it’s changing so much more rapidly than we could have ever imagined. So trying to keep pace with tech is proving to be exceedingly difficult. This is an issue that doesn’t seem fully solvable as of now. Yet, that does not mean we shouldn’t be vigilant in our pursuits though.

For Aspiring CIOs

In today’s world, a CIO is more than just a senior technologist. Today’s CIO is also a savvy strategic leader capable of running a proper and effective workplace.
 
 This is why it is so important for those looking to fill a role as CIO to understand workflow. There are two major areas that you can focus on to help your understanding of not only workflow and document management but leadership as well.

Vision and Innovation

This is a crucial lesson for prospective CIOs. Here you should take a step back and try to obtain a holistic view of the company. By doing this and thinking forward, you can stay a leg up on your competition. Embrace your new vision and support it with creativity and innovation. Let’s take an example from one of the greatest innovators of our time. Steve Jobs.

Do you know why Steve Jobs chose the name Apple? Sure, it’s a snappy and catchy name. It’s easy to recognize and hard to get out of your head. But he chose it also because it came before his major competitor in the phone book. Atari.

See, he had the vision to pull ahead of his competitor through his aggressive business move. And he had the innovation to achieve it.

Board Level Knowledge

If you want to be one the top dogs, you gotta think like one. Having guts and creativity can get you places. But having the right knowledge can keep you there. Part of that knowledge as a CIO is workflow and document management. No doubt about that. With proper workflow, you can not only relay your business efficiency to your employees and customers but to the rest of the C-suite as well.

How can I Improve my Workflow and Document Management?

There are three areas of focus for improving your workflow and document management.

  1. Learning
  2. By increasing your knowledge of workflow, you can start to utilize its intricacies. Workflow and document management can be a bit tricky at times. Through education, you can start cutting through the tricky parts and start building your system.
  3. Automation
  4. Maintaining every step of a manual workflow management system can be rather vexing and taxing at times. But with the use of automation tools including ColdFusion, you can more effectively make sure every aspect of your system is carried out correctly.
  5. Get the Right Tools for the Job
  6. Just as you wouldn’t use a fish to hammer in a nail, you wouldn’t want an old rank and file system for your complex work management needs. For your document management needs, you need to get yourself a great system that can support all your document needs. Luckily for us… We have ColdFusion.

“I think the first time I used ColdFusion was in my college days, and this was way back long time back. So I started using ColdFusion there. At that time, I realized how easy it was.”- Kishore Balakrishnan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe

From CF Alive episode, “058 All about the Adobe CF Summit East 2018 ColdFusion with Kishore Balakrishnan

CF Tech Talk

ColdFusion supports a wide array of documents and has many functions you can use to manipulate them as see fit.

Documents Supported by Adobe ColdFusion

From PDF to XML to spreadsheets, ColdFusion can handle it all. But what’s probably more important are some of the document conversion and manipulations that can be handled by CF. Here are just some of the conversions ColdFusion can do straight out of the box:

  • PPT to PDF
  • PPT to HTML
  • HTML to PPT
  • Word to PDF
  • Excel to Query
  • Query to Excel
  • Excel to HTML
  • HTML to PDF

CF Tags

Let’s take a look at some of the CF Document Management Tags as defined by Adobe.

  • Manages Excel spreadsheet files:
  • Reads a sheet from a spreadsheet file and stores it in a ColdFusion spreadsheet object, query, CSV string, or HTML string.
  • Writes single sheet to a new XLS file from a query, ColdFusion spreadsheet object, or CSV string variable.
  • Add a sheet an existing XLS file.
  • <cfhtmltopdf> creates high quality PDF output from a text block containing CFML and HTML using the PDF Service Manager.The WebKit implementation for <cfhtmltopdf> is referred as PDFG (acronym of PDF Generator) which is shipped as part of the Jetty installer. The component running inside the Jetty server is referred as the service manager, which takes request for PDF conversion from one or many ColdFusion server/s.
  • Use the cfpdf tag to read an existing PDF, write metadata to it, merge PDFs together, delete pages, create thumbnails of the pages, extract text and images, add or remove watermarks, electronically sign or unsign documents, sanitize and redact PDF contents for better security, and safeguard the PDFs with a password.
  • Defines the look of a dynamic slide presentation and determines whether to write the presentation files to disk. The cfpresentation tag is the parent tag for one or more cfpresentationslide tags, where you define the content for the presentation, and the cfpresenter tags, which provide information about the people presenting the slides.
  • Manipulates existing forms created in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe LiveCycle Designer. The following list describes some of the tasks you can perform with the cfpdfform tag:
  • Embed an interactive form created in Acrobat LiveCycle in a PDF document. You use the cfpdfform tag to embed the PDF form in a cfdocument tag.
  • Render an existing form created in Acrobat or LiveCycle. This includes prefilling fields from a database or an XML data file and processing form data from an HTTP post or PDF submission.
  • Extract or prefill values in stored PDF forms and save the output to a file or use it to update a data source.
  • Creates PDF or FlashPaper output from a text block containing CFML and HTML.

CFpdf Deep Dive

In Kailash Bihani’s CF Summit India talk, he will perform a deep dive into one of ColdFusion’s most pivotal CF tag for document management –cfpdf. This is a powerful workflow and document management tag and some of its functions include:

  • Merge several PDF documents into one PDF document.
  • Delete pages from a PDF document.
  • Merge pages from one or more PDF documents and generate a new PDF document.
  • Linearize PDF documents for faster web display.
  • Remove interactivity from forms created in Acrobat to generate flat PDF documents.
  • Encrypt and add password protection to PDF documents.
  • Generate thumbnail images from PDF documents or pages.
  • Add or remove watermarks from PDF documents or pages.
  • Retrieve information associated with a PDF document, such as the software used to generate the file or the author, and set information for a PDF document, such as the title, author and keywords.
  • Create PDF portfolios
  • Add and remove header/footer from PDF documents
  • Optimize PDF documents

This deep dive will also include discussion on redaction, sanitation, and digital signatures and forms.

All in all, this session gives each and everyone of us what we need most. A review of fundamentals. Fundamentals which can help to create a better workflow and document management system for your company.

About the Speaker:

Kailash Bihani, a Software Engineer in the Adobe ColdFusion team. Kailash responsibilities for ColdFusion features include Security, HTMLtoPDF, Websockets, and Mobile. When he has free time, he is either working on AR technologies or taking a trek somewhere in India.

Join the CF Alive revolution

Discover how we can all make CF more alive, modern and secure this year. Join other ColdFusion developers and managers in the CF Alive Inner Circletoday.

  • Get early access to the CF Alive book and videos
  • Be part of a new movement for improving CF’s perception in the world.
  • Contribute to the CF Alive revolution
  • Connect with other CF developers and managers
  • There is no cost to membership.
 

Originally published at teratech.com on November 18, 2018.

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