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Frequently Asked Questions

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Electronic Forms and Overlays – Source vs. Object 


A User Has Questions About Changing an Electronic Form When the Source Code is Not Available  


We need to make changes to some of our forms, but we don’t have the source code, just the object code.


Is there a way to go from object code back to source code? We don’t want to start from scratch, recoding the forms.



Some form design software, including packages from Elixir and Papyrus, will let you import the object code into the designer. You normally need to do a pure binary download of the form file and you may need a specific file extension on the file. From the form design software, you can make the changes you need and save the results in either a source format or as a compiled object code. 


The automatically generated source code will be functional but may not be easy to read. It may set each word on the page in a separate set of instructions or it may use different units of measurement than what you are used to (inches, mm, or dots). You may want to edit it to make it more readable.


The machine-readable object code for a form in an AFP print environment is called an overlay. It can be decompiled into a human-readable format called Overlay Generation Language, or OGL. In a Xerox print environment, the compiled form is stored in an .FRM file. The form source is created in Xerox Form Source Language (FSL) or Host Forms Description Language (HFDL).


If you do not have form design software that can import the object code, and the volume of forms you need to change does not justify the cost and time of getting the software and doing it yourselves, COPI can help.  


COPI can decompile both AFP overlays and Xerox FRMs and provide you with the source code to make your own changes, or we can make the changes you need and provide you with the source code, the compiled object code, or both.

Let us know how we can assist you.

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