Being an artist first, web designer second, my tendency in building a site is to conceptualize what will be more aesthetically pleasing, before function. This is not to say that I do not think that it is extremely important for a site to be functional and user friendly and ensure that all of my finished sites are. That is just not where my thought process and a designer begins.
There are two types of web “architects”: those who think code and those who think layout. I guess the first would be considered more of a programmer than a designer and their training is more in php, asp, c, c++ etc rather than html, flash etc. Most designers are right brain thinkers and, like me, don’t even want to hear programming lingo for the fear that it may cause a cranial bleed! However, with the ever changing technology on the web and more and more businesses going paperless, there is an increasing demand for database driven sites.
I have to admit over the last few years I have become quite the fan of content management systems such as Joomla and Mambo and have encouraged old and new customers to move more in this direction. With this shift in trend, it has become a necessity for me to be able to read and to some extent edit php. I am far from being a programmer as I am the first to admit that the left side of my brain only functions at about 25%. I am extreme on the creative thinking side and wouldn’t change it for a minute. But survival is necessary and providing my clients with the best solutions possible is the only way to go.
All this to say, "I am excited to review one of the biggest lifesavers I have come across since moving towards this new trend in web building."
If you have an existing customer not ready to move to a CMS based site, a new customer that doesn’t have the marketing budget to allow for such, or one that is more into rich media, but still needs forms as a feature, rest easy. You can still provide them with the forms to allow them to go paperless without relying on the help of the prebuilt form plugins of joomla or off site form hosting services such as MyContactForm.
No, you don’t need to run out and take a 2 day php workshop that most likely will not provide you with enough knowledge to even know what you just wrote. Just check out Conkurent’s PHP Forms . PHPForms is an all-in-one web based form builder (uploaded to your server) that allows you to create online forms, validate and collect data fast and with minimum effort.
It is made way too easy for us right brainers to build forms with the very user-friendly control panel. When complete, just generate and insert the php form code or html form code into your page and you are done! Forms built with this software are compatible with any existing website and can be placed anywhere.
Even though this software comes with a price tag, it is worth more than the price by allowing you to build unlimited, custom, cleanly written, professional forms for your customers. You can even do a test run on the software by going to http://phpforms.net/demo.html This will give you an idea of how easy it is to create your own forms in minutes. I could give you step by step details on how this software works, but taking a test drive on their online demo will show you how extremely easy it is to move your way through this tool. It sells itself!
Here is a quick look at what each has to offer:
PHPForms – $29.95
- Easy-to-use form creation system
- Unlimited forms and form fields
- Fully Customizable Layout
- No need of HTML or PHP knowledge
- Free installation & free support
- For a complete list of features> http://phpforms.net/features.html
PHPForms Pro – $99.95
in addition to all the Basic version benefits, allows you to:
- Copy existing forms from the admin interface
- Export form data to a CSV file
- Send mail via SMTP
- Send mail to form groups
- Use CAPTCHA fields in each form (optional)
- Change admin login details
- Change email format to HTML or Plain Text
- Set file type limitation for file upload fields
- Create text or text area fields for multiple email list
- Allows you to integrate PayPal and 2CheckOut gateways with your forms
- Form requires the confirmation of visitor
See the comparison chart for Basic and Pro versions
Just a little advice… If you find this software to be as handy as I do, my suggestion would be to buy the “PHPForms Pro” version up front. I tried to go the less expensive route thinking it would cover all I needed. It did until I had a customer request CAPTCHA. With form spamming becoming such a huge problem these days, paying extra for the the security feature is well worth it! However if you buy the basic version first and upgrade later, the process is seamless, preserving all of your prebuilt forms.