I can’t decide between FormSnap (@YabDab) and FormsPlus (@Chillidog). I wish each developer had more examples of both (hint hint). What throws me a bit about FormsPlus is the 'Step 1 / Step 2 / Step 3 etc. I can’t tell if that will always be a part of the form or not. I would at least like the option of keeping things on one page. I do like that it’s there; Will Woodgate’s idea of using it as a step by step tutorial is intriguing, I just don’t want it to have to be a part of each form I construct. I also get a little hesitant when I can’t see how much control I have over visual style. Looking through the FormsPlus website, it mentioned 11 different styles. I have no idea if I would like them or if they make sense with my needs. Are there controls to customize or at least modify these styles? I’ve been burned before Will Woodgate’s gushing review means a lot, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here.
Not a lot of examples on the FormSnap page either, though going through the website it’s a little easier to see what the features are. Is anyone in the position to compare one to the other? Are their limitations with either?
Thaks in advance.
I have used FormsPlus and found it to work faultlessly and easy to setup. There were a couple of setup questions I had and Greg responded quickly with answers.
Initially I was not keen on the Step idea and would have preferred it to be on 1 page but on reflection it works well when you have more than about 4 fields and if the number of fields grow beyond 4 then the Step approach is perfect. I would still like to have a simple 1 page version for name, email and message type contact forms.
The different styles took a bit of CSS styling to get them to match the rest of my design because they all look quite similar in style to me and I like to have full control over the Step progress display and buttons. Others may be relieved to just choose one of the available Step styles without any further effort required.
Also, if Will says it’s good then you know it is good.
My suggestion, since you seem a little unsure of how easy/hard it will be to implement, is to search the forums and determine if one of the above-mentioned developers is liable to be of assistance or (more importantly) not be of assistance with after-sales technical support. Without naming names, one of the above has a well-deserved reputation for going out of his way to ensure customers are happy with his products…and he does not mind helping out with technical issues.
Personally, I found working with forms very difficult - especially in regards to linking fields to a database, and then having to update the database each time a field was added. I solved the issue by turning to MachForm. The implementation is extremely easy (you can embed your forms into a RapidWeaver page or have them appear as a pop-up link), there is absolutely no need to ever touch the database again (MachForm manipulates it entirely in the background), it’s priced fairly, your client can have the ability to add/delete fields at will, and if you’re unfamiliar with MySQL - MachForms will set everything up for FREE. I highly recommend it.
Hi Gary -
Thanks for your quick reply. What initially led me to all of this is that I’m doing a website for a dentist friend of ours (my first paid website - yikes - the few others I’ve done have all been for me) and I was exploring the idea of online forms to give a head start to the myriad of paperwork that a new patient is typically saddled with. Initially, I was thinking about an online pdf that can be filled out, but decided to explore this option instead. I fully appreciate the step by step feature, but if the form is long, it will add a lot more clicks and seem never-ending. I still can’t tell if the step-by-step feature is an option or not. We designer / control types like options
Speaking of options, at this point I have no experience with code, so tweaking the CSS isn’t an option for me. Someday…
I do have a lot of respect for Will - he’s the rock around here and about as classy as it gets - from what I understand he also helped design the step-by-step part of all of this!
I still wish I could see more info - I can’t even tell if the response template is text only or if I can include images. Some of this may be my fault, as I’m a bit of a newbie outside of thinking through design and user experience - I’m better at what and why than I am with how).
Thanks again for your advice! Love your work as well.
Hi Dave -
Thanks for your input. I do know about the reputations of each - I can tell you that I’ve currently been dealing with the one with the less than stellar reputation for another (and very simple) matter and my experience has been fine. To add to the confusion, I bumped into this clearly negative review at the rapidweaver community website:
Granted, it’s one person but still…
I appreciate your suggestion about MachForm and will look into it. My strengths are more about design and thinking through user experience, not implentation - what and why, but not how, so to speak, so anything that helps me on that end is a plus.
Thanks again for your help!
So, based on your two replies above, I’m even more firmly in the MachForms camp. For these reasons:
• I’ve never used Chillidog’s forms…but I believe you have reservations based on the negative review you mentioned
• You’re planning on using forms to capture data from new patients (please be VERY cognizant regarding HIPAA information if your forms are not HIPAA-compliant…and having an SSL website won’t cut the mustard).
My guess is that time evolves, the dentist will think of things to change on the form. If you are capturing the data into a MySQL database and you’re using any Stack or Add-on, you will need to add fields to the database, and ensure that the new corresponding field in the form is being saved correctly. What a gigantic pain. But, if you’re using MachForm, not only can the form be changed on the fly and the database is updated automatically and in the background…but you can allow the DENTIST to change the form without any interaction from you at all. You simply give him/her rights to do so in the MachForm control panel (a beautiful and super easy interface, by the way). Your client will think you’re a genius.
You can also have MachForm send the Dentist an email each time a form is submitted…and the data is sent along with it. Want it to be attached as a PDF? Simple…just click the checkbox in the control panel.
The person who submitted the form can also receive an automated response. I use this with several medical sites - and the auto-response includes what the person submitted…so, if there was a mistake, he/she can let the front office know.
Lastly, the reporting is drop-dead-simple and beautiful as well.
Bonus - MachForm will install it all for you, if it’s not your cup of tea.
Hope this helps. Dave
Just a quick note.
You have to be VERY CAREFUL about collecting medical info online for privacy purposes. Many doctors/dentists use a dedicated, encrypted service for that kind of info online. Most just collect it locally - the old fashioned way, by hand - so they can secure it directly.
FormsPlus currently requires more than 1 step. It is, however, certainly not limited to 3. 3 was just a short form I put together for a demo.
For styling options, there are a ton which makes it difficult to publish demos of. I’ve attached some screenshot to show the various styling options. Documentation is also online at Support - Chillidog Store
Regarding that negative review, there is significantly more to that story. That person was unreasonable with their demands and insisted that I make changes immediately. I told him I would address the bug as soon as I could. This, however, didn’t fit into their schedule. I would suggest taking a look at various posts and mentions of me on the forums. You’ll find plenty of reviews about me and my work here.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Going back to my point about one of the developers going out of his way to ensure his customers are happy - please note that @barchard weighed in with plenty of details just above. When I had a hosting-issue with Chillidog, he went out of his way to assist me with finding a solution. He not only pointed me in the right direction, but he even logged into my client’s account and took care of modifying the htaccess file on my behalf. I’ve nothing but praise for him.
Hi Dave -
Thanks for your input and help - especially for bringing up the HIPAA issue - I’ll use that as a way to get out of making this particular kind of form It’s just not worth it. In the future, I will be exploring MachForms - it sounds great. I never would’ve known about this as an option if it weren’t for you Dave, so thanks!
Hi Greg -
Thanks for posting these screen shots - they help a lot. I do realize the amount of work it takes to put together a page that demonstrate all of the capabilities for a product as wide ranging as this one; I just personally needed to see more before I pulled the trigger. It not an inexpensive stack (rightly so, considering all it can do) but I’ve been burned before so I thought I would try to do my homework.
I’m not on these forums a lot as I don’t do this very much, but I’m already aware of your stellar reputation as a developer. I was surprised to see the poor review as well. I took it with a grain of salt but also thought best to not ignore it. While I don’t see using FormsPlus the way I wanted to for the specific website I’m working on, in general I like the features that make it great for step by step tutorials and for creating a survey. While I have your ear, can I embed other stacks (images and/or video) if I decide to use it to create a tutorial?
Thanks again for sending the screenshots.
From past experience, I wouldn’t use an online form for this type of application as you could put potential customers off. Use a button that says CONTACT US and make this a human face to face form filling/selling/ introduction exercise. Consider the main job of a dentists site to get potential patients to make contact and the staff take it from there.
It’s official - I’m new Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience so readily.
And there’s the FormLoom 3 plugin for RapidWeaver + a helper Stack to add the form to a Stacks page.
The FormLoom plugin is in my opinion the fastes and easiest to work with and maintain… but maybe that’s because I’ve used it a lot of times for different projects.
Always good to hear from someone that’s had a good experience- I appreciate it!
I like and use FormSnap as it has the ability to drop the fields into an mysql database for recordkeeping.
Straight forward to use and heaps of options including auto response to a message.
And it grabs the users IP address and other stuff for security reasons.
My two-bobs worth