University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I'm sure we all support and build 10s or sometimes 100s of online forms that do little more than email and administrator and send a confirmation. I'm referring here to forms like inquiries and symposium applications and t-shirt design contest application forms, not systems. As requests come in to make new forms and manage old forms, I see a gamut of techniques for achieving those results, ranging from cgi scripts to php scripts and some calls to filemaker databases. I have a desire to standardize the forms and, if possible to give the form owner design privileges and, of course, reduce form SPAM.

I'd like to know what seems to be working out there. Does anyone have a solution that works in-house? I know wufoo.com makes forms, but they have to host them and that doesn't meet our requirements.

I am considering building an app, but think that will require too much effort. I'm also considering building an open-source app based on the phpesp survey tool. As it stands, phpesp makes forms, it just has a lot of survey lingo built in.

Anyway, what's working out there and anyone interested in a collaboration to make something new/better?

Views: 58

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm building a total redesign at the moment. I'm done with static content, but I'm just moving into the early stages for the dynamic content (most of which changes so infrequently I'm actually going to make it un-dynamic) and forms. Our old/current system has a file in damn near every directory named genreq.aspx which is literally copied and pasted out of "ASP.NET for Dummies" and uses Access for the database (stored in a publicly available directory, no less). What I'm currently researching and planning to do is use the PEAR modules HTML_QuickForm and HTML_QuickForm_Renderer_Tabeless to handle all the forms. (I apologize in advance if Ning doesn't support HTML here, that's honestly the first time I've tried linking in one of these comments.) For contact forms in particular, I hope to build a table in the database called something like "Departments". This will be the lynch pin that ties most of the data together. The table itself will be pretty simple, just an ID, full name, short name, and email address. For the contact form, I hope to pass the short name of the department to a single contact form and have the email address (really an alias for a distribution list that IT will maintain, in theory) fed in dynamically. So I'll be replacing /English/genreq.aspx and it's associated Access database with /Contact.php?dept=eng and the single row of data in the Departments table in MySQL. (At the moment I'm not concerned with storing the form contents for future reporting. Each department can do whatever they want with the emails as they get them.) Then multiply that by about 70 directories. In theory...Someday...Soon. :)

Technically there's a newer and better HTML_QuickForm available in PEAR. But it's still in alpha release. The tableless renderer module produces less than perfect output (buttons are given associated label tags, for example) but it's a big improvement over the table based version of the default. I'll be happy to share more details with you as I progress. And it's possible sometime between now and actual implementation I'll run into a snag that kills the current plan.
This might not be what you're looking for, but if you really want to make VERY simple forms in a way that non-technical people can administrate, you could embed a Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) form.

  1. Create a spreadsheet in Google Docs. Make the first row the questions you'd like to ask ("First Name," "Last Name," etc.).
  2. Go to "Form" in their top menu. It automatically creates fields from the top row. Make whatever changes you need (change text fields to radio buttons, drop-down lists, etc.).
  3. Go to "Embed Form" in the same menu. It gives you the code to put an iframe of the form into your page.
  4. When anyone fills out the form, the information is automatically plugged into your Google Docs spreadsheet.
  5. Send an invite to the spreadsheet to whoever at your university needs access to it.

There are a few disadvantages to doing things this way:
  1. The iframe always has a white background. You can't change it. There might be ways around this.
  2. There isn't a good way to have the form-filler sent a confirmation email (though it will go to "thanks for filling this out" text of your choosing when they submit.
  3. The iframe embed code may need to have the height changed so it it doesn't turn into a scrolling box in the middle of your page.

I've also heard good things about Zoho Creator, a similar service, but haven't tried it yet. I think it costs money, while Google Docs is free.
Another tool might be http://wufoo.com/ third party hosted form with analytics and lots of options.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Profile IconTracey Vellidis and Mikey Greenland joined University Web Developers
Jan 14
Sara Kisseberth posted a discussion

Archived magazine stories

Greetings,What are you all doing online with "old" magazine stories? Do you delete issues after so  many years? 5 years? 10? I'm torn between keeping all on for historical purposes or keeping just a few years online to simplify the site (ala Gerry McGovern.) Curious as to what you see best practices being.ThanksSara KisseberthBluffton Universitywww.bluffton.eduSee More
Jun 10, 2020
Erin Jorgensen posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit

The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
May 29, 2020
Erin Jorgensen is now a member of University Web Developers
May 29, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference - ONLINE

October 19-20, 2020https://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
May 3, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Throughout April, we're hosting webcasts exploring how colleges and universities across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the series today! https://bit.ly/2xsXhK9"
Apr 13, 2020
Christelle Lachapelle is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 6, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Download our latest white paper to learn how the demographics of today’s higher ed learners are shifting, and how schools can adapt to meet the needs of these new learners. https://bit.ly/2wTKdgB"
Mar 31, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join our next webcast with Amrit Ahluwalia from The EvoLLLution to learn about the new "modern learner" in higher education. https://bit.ly/2UuDh2I"
Mar 30, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"As we ride out the latest developments and impact of the coronavirus, there's no better time than now to learn the three Bs of crisis planning. http://bit.ly/2ITVkc2"
Mar 16, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your college or university prepared to meet the challenges that come with disasters and emergencies like the coronavirus? Learn how your CMS can help. http://bit.ly/2TUZUM8"
Mar 12, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Can’t afford the time and money to launch a comprehensive guided pathways model? Register for our FREE webcast to learn tricks for simulating a digital guided pathways experience."
Feb 21, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"With college enrollment decreasing for the 8th year in a row, boosting your college or university marketing efforts is more important than ever. Here's how to get started. http://bit.ly/2vTQAzz"
Feb 20, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference

October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USAhttps://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
Feb 19, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler shared Sara Clark's discussion on Facebook
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Kevin Daum's group
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Mark Greenfield's group
Feb 14, 2020
Kenneth George is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 13, 2020

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2021   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service