PureEdge reborn in the Lotus position

GCN Insider

A few years back, a small company called PureEdge had an edge on the market for government online forms. The Army, the Air Force and Grants.Gov, among others, all used the software. Although it had a clunky interface for external use, the PureEdge software did a good job at accurately reproducing the look and feel of government forms in Extensible Markup Language. That is no easy feat, though it was made possible through the Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), which PureEdge's John Boyer helped create.

Even since IBM acquired PureEdge in 2005, however, we had heard little about advancements in the software or subsequent work on XFDL. But last month, Big Blue released Version 3.0 of Lotus Forms, which had incorporated the PureEdge e-form software. Better yet, a major improvement had been added: Forms can now be rendered by using only a Web browser, thanks to Asynchronous JavaScript and Extensible Markup Language and some additional tooling on IBM's part.

Moreover, the integration with IBM WebSphere promises some advanced features that would otherwise involve complex coordination with multiple parts of back-end systems. For instance, forms can take the shape of a wizard interface, so they can walk the user through all the steps of completing the form. The wizard also can prepopulate some fields and check the answers for the correct form. Another new feature will be sectional signing, where people can see or alter information on certain parts of the form but can't alter, or even read, sections they have no authorization to access. All these features require input from other pieces of software.

'We interface with any back-end system, application or workflow, but we happen to do it very elegantly with IBM's middleware stack,' Greg O'Connell, head of IBM's government forms work, said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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