I can tell you that none of the companies I've worked with use a PDF as the native EC document. Most use a Word/Excel although I'm moving as many as I can to an XML based file.
Hi Steve, could you please elaborate on the benefit of an XML based ECO vs Word/Excel?
The style and the content of the XML based ECO is controlled by the admin, a Word or Excel based can be manipulated from the moment the doc/xls is checked out, especially the advanced properties.
The best: no Need to update an opened file or accept macros updating fields. The data Card itself will be the onyl tool capturing data. Every preview is always up to date.
Some users prefer the possibilties a add other Content in the doc/xls like Charts, Jpg and other.
But you can attach other documents via paste as reference to the XML ECO.
And with the correct implementation, you can even add scanned signatures for the XML during state transitions, which would give you the Impression of a real signed paper.
@Prasad - I've been trying to move my customers away from Word/Excel based EC documents because they are usually just a simple form. XML file types in PDM Pro work great as forms. Data Cards become the point of data entry instead of the Word/Excel document. Once the Data Card is filled out, the Preview tab is updated immediately, whereas with Word/Excel you have to physically open the file and update the custom properties. With Word/Excel, you have to have a macro running to do the update or manually select the text to update. Also, the Word documents have a 256 limit to custom properties.
The benefit is seen in streamlining a form for use as an EC document. PDM Templates create the EC file/folder. Users simply have to check it out, update Data Cards, check it in and change states. Doesn't get any simpler in PDM terms. If you don't need the Preview and can only use the Data Card, then you can make it even simpler.
An example from my demo vault is below.
I have a couple of issues with XML.
1. The XSL file cannot exist outside the domain. This is not a limitation of EPDM but rather a security requirement of XML/XSL rendering machines. This means i cannot have a fixed XSL file that exists on a webserver somewhere, i need to have it locally.
2. The XSL file cannot be embedded within the XML file. While the XML/XSL standard supports this, EPDM does not.
3. Our internal process requires that we publish the ECO along with our drawings and documents to our published folders. It is one less step in our publish tool to get the eco into a PDF if we keep it native. I have inserted a snip from our ECO PDF.
3. how about printing the XML ECO into a PDF and publish this document? New 2017 Prof.PDM offers Office to PDF Task. I'm currently evaluating if this is also possible for XML. This means one step more instead of one step less.
BTW.: we start to Change from PDF to PDF/A. An editable block inside a PDF is far away from the idea of PDF/A: ISO Standard says: External content references are forbidden, that would mean no Exchange of advanced document properties with PDM and PDF/A (directly). The idea to modify the PDF Content directly has always been fascinating.
Regarding Point 3: from the list above: I received today the answer from the Hotline:
The answer is NO. It is not possible to convert XML using the task.
What ever you read is correct. The Task is only for DWG/DXF and MS Office files.