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.
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 generatedata.com rewrite. But in May 2014, I’ll be (hopefully) returning to Form Tools when I’ll re-evaluate the whole shebang.