Form Tools 2.0.5 Upcoming Changes

Posted on Nov 7, 2010 in Form Tools | 0 comments

There hasn’t been much apparent activity on the Form Tools project for a while, but in fact I’ve been very busy on the next release! 2.0.5 continues to pave the way for the eventual form builder. There’s still a long way to go yet, but this release will be an important milestone.

As of today, here’s the list of upcoming changes. Most of the work done to date has been on the updates to the UI – client-side sorting and jQuery & jQuery UI additions. It’s looking pretty good!

Changes / New Features

  • The Core now supports a new Custom Fields module. This will allow you to create you own custom field types – like date fields with calendar popups, Google Maps fields, phone fields comprised of 3 textboxes (xxx)-xxx-xxxx – as well as modify the default field types – like creating text fields with different input widths, or adding a grid layout for radios and checkboxes.
  • move to jQuery
  • Client forms page updates:
    • columns now sortable
    • search added
  • Assorted interface updates:
    • EDIT and DELETE links replaced with icons on all tables (for some languages, the strings “edit” and “delete” were very long – this will help standardize it and provide a little more space within the UI)
    • The Edit Form -> Database tab, Edit Form -> Fields tab and Edit Form -> Add Fields page are all being combined into a single page. It doesn’t make much sense to split them right as it is now: it forces you to go to multiple places to add and update your form structure, which takes precious time. Having used Form Tools on countless projects, I know that the biggest hurdle is configuration time: this should significantly cut it down, as well as make it simpler for new users to get up to speed: ALL information/functionality for your fields will be found in one location.
      [The trickiest part of this refactor is making the UI as simple as possible while getting as much mileage as possible out of it. But I think I have a pretty decent solution – I’ll post some screenshots / working demo at some point.]
    • client-side list sorting added (drag & drop) for all appropriate forms; this will replace the current way of sorting – where you enter a number then click update.
    • you can now group rows on all client-side sortable tables. This works in combination with the drag and drop sorting so you can group related fields and move them as a chunk. Moving around rows was always a pain: this should really speed up configuration time
    • jQuery calendar now used; the old calendar is being dropped
    • existing alerts()/confirms() replaced with more elegant modal dialogs
    • crumby ellipsis code removed on submission list page
    • Prototype-based Lightbox replaced with jQuery equivalent (FancyBox? Not sure yet)
    • “Num Views Per Page” setting dropped: now all Views are listed on a single page for ease of sorting & management (no more pagination)

Also, I’m hoping to add client-side resizable columns on the Submission listing page.

That’s pretty much it!

– Ben

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Form Tools: Submission History module screenshots

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 in Form Tools | 0 comments

Here’s a few screenshots from the upcoming Submission History module for my Form Tools script. It’s pretty cool – I’ve been meaning to write this for a long, long time, Nice to see it almost out the door. From the module description:

The Submission History module keeps a log of all changes made to form submissions, provides a panel on the administrator’s Edit Submission page to browse the changes, and provides options to restore older versions and undelete submissions.

It’s about 95% written. Now it’s mostly tidying up the code and testing it.

Note: this module will only be compatible with 2.0.3 – and only the latest version (not out yet!). As mentioned in a previous post, the next Core release will move to MyISAM; I’ll be coming out with new versions of all the other modules to ensure compatibility and consistency.

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Form Tools tutorial: checking for uniqueness

Posted on Aug 14, 2010 in Form Tools | 0 comments

I just completed a rather handy tutorial for Form Tools users.

It checks incoming form submissions to ensure that the incoming information hasn’t already been added in the database. This lets you ensure that multiple submissions don’t get registered with the same email address or username, for example. The actual criteria for uniqueness is entirely dependent on the form content.

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Form Tools: Client Audit Module

Posted on Aug 8, 2010 in Form Tools | 0 comments

I’ve just finished the first version of a new module for Form Tools, written specifically for a client. Not sure if I’m allowed to say who it is (I suspect not), so I’ll just say that it’s one of the largest companies in the world. Very cool that they’re using Form Tools.

The Client Audit module provides Form Tools administrators with a way to track key events / actions that occur on client accounts, such as when the clients accounts are logging in and out, when they’re updated and what permission changes occur and at what time. This, coupled with a very simple but powerful search tool, provides an invaluable tool for security and auditing purposes.

Read more about the module here:

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Script Updates

Posted on Aug 4, 2010 in Form Tools, | 0 comments 2.3.8 beta

– Now offers country-specific data for Belgium. Thanks to Kob in the generatedata forums for providing the data!
– the SQL export type now includes a “DROP TABLE” option


Form Tools 2.0.3 beta

The main focus on this release is security. 2.0.3 adds the following security options for client passwords (all of these features are disabled by default).

1. Control over the password content: minimum length, must contain upper case char, must contain number, must contain ~!@#$%^&.
2. Password history: prevents you from re-using a recent password
3. Auto-disable an account after an unbroken sequence of unsuccessful login attempts. You can choose the number (between 3 and 10).


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Form Tools Update

Posted on Apr 3, 2010 in Form Tools | 0 comments

The Form Tools project is coming along…! Today I revised the homepage to provide a better introduction to the script. That should get people up to speed on the script and its functionality far quicker than before where they had to scramble around the documentation to get an idea of how it works and what features were available.

Check it out!

Later I’ll be releasing the final 1.0.0 version of the API and writing a tutorial for someone in the forums.

Then… back to more administrative stuff.

Then… to work on 2.0.1 Beta! :) Life is good!

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Open Translate – update

Posted on Mar 20, 2010 in Blog, Form Tools | 0 comments

Hey folks,

I just finished the first draft of a major refactor of Open Translate, a community translation script I wrote a few years back to manage the translation files for Form Tools. You can see the fruits of this on the Form Tools translation site right now:

You’ll notice that there are around 30 completed translations.

Here’s what’s changed:

  • Open Translate now uses Google Translate to provide a base set of auto-translations for each language.
  • Open Translate now supports a rather beautiful versioning system for the data. This I’m rather pleased with. :) When I come out with Form Tools version 2.0.1, it will no doubt contain added, updated and deleted text to be translated. No problem! I can just create a new branch from within Open Translate. That branch will then inherit all the existing data and translations made up to that point. Versions are a tree structure: any version can inherit the data from one and only parent. The beautiful thing is that (a) there’s zero database redundancy and (b) if you’re translating (or reviewing) something in version 1.5 that hasn’t changed since 1.0, your work will be inherited by all versions that use the data. Neat, hey? Every hour, all updated versions-languages are automatically exported to the Form Tools site for downloading by the end user.
  • I significantly simplified a lot of the database for features that I originally thought would be useful, but didn’t turn out to be. For example, languages are now tied to projects rather than individual versions, as are data categories.
  • Translators can now sign themselves up for the project via the Form Tools site rather than manually contacting me.

Anyway, fun day. Should be interesting to see how things go from here on out.

– Ben

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