Form Wizard Pro - can it become a substitute for HTML form GET/POST?

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6/16/2010 1:24:33 PM
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Form Wizard Pro - can it become a substitute for HTML form GET/POST?

Hi Joe, since HTML FORM tags cannot be used within mojoPortal, I've been spending much of my feature development time so far replicating functionality of our existing HTML forms that send to external sites (searches, external newsletter subscriptions, etc.). So far I've had to create four of these individual features, and as this list grows so will the maintenance load.

I started considering whether I could develop a "master" generic feature to replicate the functionality of HTML forms, and what that might look like. Then I realized that Form Wizard Pro is probably 95% of the way there already. This may be naive, but it seems all that would be needed is to add a URL target, the method (email, get, or post), the ability to create hidden fields with default values, and of course the code to support get/post. You probably also wouldn't want to log data entered on get/post forms either.

I used this solution for POST in my custom features. This is pretty old, so I'm not sure if this is still the best method to do this.

Thanks for your consideration,

Jamie

6/16/2010 1:37:34 PM
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Re: Form Wizard Pro - can it become a substitute for HTML form GET/POST?

Hi Jamie,

It's really an ASP.NET issue not a mojoPortal issue. In ASP.NET WebForms there can be one and only one form on the page and it wraps the whole page so you don't need to and aren't able to add one yourself.

However there are ways of dealing with the single form limitation or least there are easy ways to post to other pages or sites. I think it was in .NET version 2 that they introduced a property on <asp:Button for PostbackUrl, so you can specify a different url on the button and it will post wherever you want. I used this to solve a need in WebStore where the PayPal button needs to post to PayPal. It can also be done with jQuery ajax posts, like you could post to a service page and receive back an xml or json response and use jquery to modify the page display if needed. A full post is going to navigate the browser to the target page so if that is not the goal then a jquery approach would be needed.

Form Wizard Pro is designed to postback to itself and capture the data in the database, it is not designed to post to other pages or sites on the web because it does not expect other pages or sites to know what to do with the data and it needs to manage its own state between pages of the form based on what it captures.

Hope that helps,

Joe

6/16/2010 3:17:08 PM
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Re: Form Wizard Pro - can it become a substitute for HTML form GET/POST?

Ah, okay, I see why FWP might not be the best method for this. I do think a generic form builder very much like FWP would be useful in mojoPortal to handle this functionality, so end users could create their own forms, rather than needing a custom feature each time. For an example, take a look at our current (HTML-based) library home page. You can see the three different HTML forms on there (catalog search at the top [get], volunteer opportunities search on the left [get], and external newsletter signup on the right [post]). Each of these redirects to an external site, so there wouldn't be any Javascript needed. Maybe we're an unusual case, but I'd think these kind of forms would be fairly common for external site integration. I know an HTML form post is the supported/recommended method to integrate with PayPal's donations, for instance.

Well, the idea's out there, so if you ever decide to clone the "form building" portion of FWP and create a separate add-on product (HTML forms pro?), we'd buy it for sure! cool

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