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Form Tools is a large, GPL-licensed open source project I started back in 2005, which I’ve worked on over the years mostly in my spare time. I wrote it for web developers who work on online registration sites, or sites that require any form of information gathering from their online visitors. Put simply, it is a form processor, storage and data access script written in PHP and MySQL, designed to work with any existing web form. With a few minor changes to your form, you can stop using old-fashioned form-mail scripts and instead store form submissions in a database, instantly providing your clients with options such as mass data export via excel, printer-friendly pages, data sorting, form submission editing, file uploads and optional email of form submissions.

Where it came from

Form Tools started from a body of scripts I’d written, each created for the same basic purpose: to provide data storage and client access through a simple web interface. Aside from the data stored and minor differences in the interfaces, I found that each script was virtually the same. So instead of reinventing the wheel each time a new job cropped up, I created Form Tools as a generic solution to a common problem.

This was all back in 2005, and since then the project has progressed enormously.

Where it’s used

All over the place! Last year I set up a separate subdomain to start tracking usage. Anyone who wants to be added to the map, can request it through their Form Tools user account.

View the Form Tools map

Where it’s heading

For reasons I won’t go into here, I’ll be taking a couple of years off the project. Frankly, I welcome the break: there are a number of other scripts I need to focus on, including the rewrite. But in May 2014, I’ll be (hopefully) returning to Form Tools when I’ll re-evaluate the whole shebang.