Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Adobe Document Cloud and eSign APIs

Adobe today announced a 3rd feather in her cloud offerings - The Adobe Document Cloud. Having been directly associated with Adobe Acrobat and Document Services for over 5 years, it's a great moment to see the missing piece being plugged in and with a big bang! So what's Document Cloud and how do APIs fit in it? Marketing team calls it out - "Adobe Document Cloud combines a completely reimagined Adobe Acrobat with the power of e-signatures. Now, you can edit, sign, send and track documents wherever you are — across desktops, mobile and web." Does it reverberate with the Engineering talk we do on this blog? Check out our previous post - "The beautiful thing here is that often the same web service API (SOAP or REST) can be used for making requests and returning responses to apps on different devices and platforms".  Yes, precisely - marketing is engineering put in beautiful words :-)

Let's take a real example and see how APIs enable web, desktop and mobile in the Document Cloud taking example of Acrobat DC eSign Services (erstwhile EchoSign). The eSign services expose SOAP and REST APIs that allow documents to be sent out for signature. Specifically, they are sendDocumentInteractive in SOAP and /agreements, POST in REST.

Adobe EchoSign for Salesforce is an example of a Web App that uses these eSign APIs to send documents for signature. The APIs enable Salesforce users to work in an environment and user interface familiar to them, create agreements and send them out for signature without ever having to leave the salesforce app. They can also view sent agreements, check their status and manage them from within Salesforce. Similar workflows are also possible for Adobe eSign apps for Microsoft Office, Box, Google, Dynamics, Net Suite and many more through APIs. In summary, APIs are what enable a seamless integration of Adobe eSign with all your favourite enterprise and business applications

Moving on to the Desktop, Adobe Acrobat and Reader DC, now ship with a Send For Signature App. This in-built app uses the same Adobe eSign REST APIs to send out documents opened by the user right from within the desktop app without ever having to leave them. After authentication which happens through OAuth APIs, these documents can be picked from the senders machine or from the Document Cloud repository through cloud service APIs. Then through eSign APIs, these can be sent for signature with the selected files. Views to manage the documents that were sent out are also made available through APIs!

And finally for the Mobile Story. Mobile is a first class citizen and often provides the free, close and friendly companion for consumption of paid services. Mobile apps are expected to be small, simple and quick to build and APIs enable this to be easily possible. Acrobat DC (Document Cloud) ships with a brand new eSign Manager DC App that provides a convenient way to send out documents directly from your mobile or tablet device, have a quick look on the status of your agreements and even sign them directly from within the mobile app. All of this functionality is made possible through the same set of SOAP and REST APIs that are used by the web and desktop apps. You see APIs enable Document Cloud eSign functionality to happen across platforms and devices!