OpenOverlay has been a core TSG offering since 2007 and while not as visible as some of our other products it is used at many clients and enables key features such as electronic signatures, controlled printing, watermarking, overlay form responses, and letterhead and logo application. Many clients that use it for real-time dynamic property display of document status, version, print date, author, or any other attribute information. OpenOverlay may be deployed on as part of an ECM system or a separate PDF presentation viewer. TSG has deployed it on Alfresco, Documentum, and portal systems. For Documentum users, OpenOverlay typically replaces the need for PDF Aqua or PDF Stamping Services.
This post will describe how several clients use the product and perhaps spark some thoughts how it might be used elsewhere.
How It Works
First, OpenOverlay is based on the open source iText library and works with PDF files. If a document’s native format is not already rendered to PDF it will need to be in order for the product to work. Once in a PDF format, there are many options for manipulating the PDF and providing dynamic headers, footers, and watermarking. OpenOverlay does not require client-side software beyond a compatible browser. It may even be invoked from a command line.
Multiple clients use OpenOverlay with WebTop to add overlays (color or black and white) behind the text to show a document is in a specific lifecycle state (Draft, Obsolete, For Training Purposes, etc.). The dynamic headers and footers also display additional Information, such as effective date, in the header of the document at view time. Being able to overlay this information without modifying the document content is important since items like lifecycle state and effective date change after document approval.
In a specific case, a client used OpenOverlay to add a thin footer to documents accessed from a view-only document search portal. Since the documents were cached outside of Documentum for easy retrieval access the client ensured controlled documents were properly labeled when printed by overlaying the print date/time and user ID whenever the document was viewed from the cache. This thin ¼” overlay was added to the bottom of each page in real-time through the integration of OpenOverlay with the search portal.
OpenOverlay is also used by clients to generate an electronic signature coversheet using data that is stored within database fields. This functionality has been used when needing to migrate electronic signatures from one content management system to another. The electronic signature data is selected from the database and OpenOverlay generates a PDF coversheet using the electronic signature data. It than merges the generated PDF coversheet with the approved document. It’s possible to create specific coversheets and place them either at the beginning or the end of the PDF document.
TSG’s HPI product can also integrate OpenOverlay. In a recent project, the client was able to remove the error prone headers and footers that had been manually managed by the users and replace them with dynamically generated PDF overlays that contained all the same information. In addition, the overlays included rules about what information to include based on what document attribute information values were present. This freed the users from having to remember which document had which type of header or footer and resulted in a more professional package of documentation for the clients of the company.
OpenOverlay’s architecture makes it easy to integrate with numerous applications. Because of this flexible framework, clients have been able to integrate it with applications for batch record overlays, compliance, security and numerous other business needs. Since it uses the open source iText library, Java-based applications can easily include its features. TSG has integrated OpenOverlay with Documentum, Alfresco, WebTop, TSG open source offerings (HPI, OpenMigrate), and custom–built applications.
To see a demonstration of OpenOverlay – access our screen cam in our Learning Zone.