How to Add Flexibility and Customized Logic in your Automated Document Transformation Workflows

By Jeff Brand | December 3, 2009

When implementing a server-based Document Transformation solution, the simplest approach is a ‘Watched Folder’, where you configure your Transformation Application to monitor a folder, and whenever a document appears in that folder, apply the same actions against that document.

Many modern server-based transformation engines such as Adlib Express can provide the ability to create multiple ‘Watched Folders’, but when you have more than a few variations on the transformation requirements, it can become difficult to manage through this approach.

Perhaps we want to have options enabled or disabled based on the file type, or date, or even based on values that are found in a separate file.  In this case, we would need a better approach.

XML Job Tickets with Express is an excellent solution for problems like this because they are fairly simple to create, and provide the ultimate flexibility in defining your transformation parameters.

Case Study:

A hospital needed to convert physical, tabbed documents into electronic PDF, but they needed to retain the navigation of the documents that was previously possible with the material tabs. They knew that with Express they were able to retain this function by converting the documents into PDF Bookmarks.

The challenge was to then identify the location of the tab sheets, and replace them with a bookmark in the PDF that points to the page immediately following the tab sheet.

Here is how Express and XML Job Tickets solved the problem:

  1. The tab Sheets were replaced with slip-sheets which contained two barcodes.  One barcode identified the sheet as a ‘Bookmark’, and the second contained the text that was on the tab.  (This became the text of the Bookmark)
  2. The documents were then scanned with the resulting multi-page TIFF documents being directed automatically to the input folder of Adlib Express Server.
  3. Express was configured to find all of the barcodes in the document, and export a file containing all of the pages that contained the ‘Bookmark’ barcode as well as the text that was on that document.
  4. Express Server was also configured to launch a post-processing script.  This is a simple script in VBScript that reads the resulting file and then generates an XML Job Ticket based on the first scan.
  5. The new XML Job Ticket instructed Express to create a bookmark for each of the pages, perform an OCR of the text found on all of the contents, and to remove the physical barcode pages, so the bookmarks could navigate directly to the first page in each section.

From this example you can see that by using XML Job Tickets in addition to VBScripts, adding flexibility and customized logic to your Document Transformation workflow is easy.

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