Sunday, May 13, 2012

XFDL Viewer for Mac

    If you have read my previous posts on XFDL, then you know that I have been working on an XFDL viewer for the Apple Mac. I have hit, yet again, some snags. Reverse engineering software is not only wrong, but it also illegal. However, reverse engineering a file type isn't, but that doesn't make it easy.

    I have, however found the venerable IBM Workplace Forms Viewer for Mac. This application is becoming harder to find as it was written for osX 10.4 and has not been updated in a very long time. I even emailed IBM about updating it, but their response was less than helpful. After a few modification to the original application package, I now have a sort-of working version for Apple Mac's that will run on both osX Snow Leopard and osX Lion.

    There are issues with it however. The main issue is random crashes. I personally use osX Lion, but also experienced this under Snow Leopard as well. Also, you cannot print or digitally sign documents. This is important to keep in mind as you use the software. If you wish to print or sign a form, then you must use either the Pure Edge Viewer or the newer IBM Lotus Forms Viewer (Windows Only).

    Since I use a Microsoft Windows machine at work, this not generally an issue. My work environment is also pushing more towards a paperless office, although I doubt that will ever truly happen.

    My plan, for now, is to continue to delve into this older program and its inner workings. Yes, a bit of reverse engineering. I have two reasons for doing this. The first is for my own education on how software works, and also to see if this "old" version can still be salvaged into something a bit more stable if not more useful.

    I am not sure if this is legal or not, but since I have no wish to make any money what so ever on this I do not foresee any real issues. I, of course, will keep my readers updated on my progress.

    Oh! One last thing, I have made a download available from my public DropBox folder. Just unzip it and copy it to your applications folder. You can get it here.

    Until next time ...