Making forms : WordPress CFORMS vs Silverstripe

you've heard about web2.0 for years, and you want to go for it ? Well you might have guessed : WEB2.0 is all about user interactivity, and interactivity is all about forms. Making forms is a boring business, requires many different skills : displaying, validating, processing . Obviously what you do with the data is the most important thing , but this article will focus on the 2 first aspects of form making. Among Content Mangament Systems, I have tried two which have a visual form building interface : WordPress with CFORMS plugin and Silverstripe's userDefinedForm page type.

Building and validating

The two applications will let you make a form in minutes, whatever the type of field you need : textarea, file, email, all of them configurable to a certain extent (required field ) and draggable for reordering. More than that, the form integrates in normal pages and as such can be introduced by rich content, which is often important to let the visitor know what he's doing giving away his contact details. In both silverstripe and WordPress CFORMS, you will have to fight with stylesheet i order to get what you want : expect a few good minutes of hair scraping before you get to understand the maker's logic ! After that you' re flying, not much to do on the code side.

Validation is performed via javascript or ajax in both cases, and the indispensable database feature works for both of them. One drawback on the validation feature is that for Silverstripe, I have found that translating validation messages to french does not come straight : expect one hour hacking on javscript and page type. Another drawback in silverstripe is the lack of ctpach feature, which in CFORMS II is just another field type.

Database and email

Both systems will store submissions in the database : while Silvesrtripe is just a demo feature that needs to be enhanced, CFORMS has all you need: browsing, deleting, viewing records. Good stuff for form makers and data collector addicts!!

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