FormSite.com Redesign

logo-redesign

We are pleased to introduce a new look for FormSite. Although our focus has been improving upon and adding new features, we decided it was time to develop a revised logo and layout that we hope you find is clean, modern and professional. This design update affords improvements in usability, and we hope it’s more pleasing to work with to boot. This marks the beginning of an evolution of our exterior site design, and we will be continuing to rework pages based on this freshened look.

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Enhanced Pre-Population

pre-populate

You can now pre-populate nearly any type of item on your form. We have expanded the items available for pre-population from fill-in-the blank style items to now inlcude Check Box Items, Radio Button Items, and even our sophisticated Matrix Items. You can choose to pre-populate your form using a special link or via JavaScript settings if you embed your form in a page on your site. We have also added the ability to pre-populate based on the item’s position or by its unique ID.

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Technology Migration Finished!

finish

For the last year we’ve been working very hard to modernize the underlying technology used in FormSite. This release is the final step in migrating away from our proprietary framework that was designed in 1998 to an industry standard Java framework. As we have mentioned in the past, we expect these changes to yield significant gains in performance, reliability, maintainability, and flexibility. We also hope that new developer ramp-up time will be positively impacted as there will be less proprietary code to learn.

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Convert Form Results to PDFs

results-pdfs

With our new PDF option for results, you can easily share individual FormSite results in a PDF. This makes sharing, archiving, and printing the results convenient for you or anyone else you share the PDF results with. We’ve added a ton of new capabilities for taking data you collect with your FormSite form and putting them into a PDF. New Features Include:

  • Design your own PDF and populate it with data collected via FormSite
  • Email Notifications can now be sent in several different PDF representations
  • Export all form results into PDFs
  • View and save Results in PDFs
  • Email the PDF version of a form’s results to one or more email addresses

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Communicate Like a Pro With MailChimp Integration

mailchimp

We’ve integrated our service with MailChimp so that you can now easily communicate en-masse with those who have filled out your FormSite form. Your form can now populate your MailChimp mail list automatically! In MailChimp’s words:

MailChimp makes it easy to design exceptional email campaigns, share them on social networks, integrate with web services you already use, manage subscribers and track your results. You’ll love mixing and matching MailChimp’s templates, features and integrations to suit your needs?think of it as your own personal newsletter publishing platform.

How might this be used?

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Mission Control

mission-control

Disclaimer: The post you are about to read is technical in nature and, quite frankly, you likely won’t be able to see a bit of visual evidence of the changes discussed here. But trust us!… we have been working very hard behind the scenes on enhancing our technical architecture and code base. With this post, I would like to share what we have been up to and illustrate how we invest significantly in our infrastructure to support our current users and our accelerating growth.

Things have changed quite a bit since we originally built the heart of our system in the 1998 – 2002 time period. It was a different world back then, a different era in Internet years. Ten-plus years ago, there was little in the way of frameworks and persistence layers to build a system like FormSite off of so we rolled up our sleeves and built them ourselves. Our home-grown infrastructure has served us well, but admittedly it has started to become a hindrance due to its complexity and our ever-expanding feature set and user base (not that we’re complaining!). In the second half of last year we decided to begin modernizing our core infrastructure using the latest proven technologies, methodologies, and frameworks. We expect these changes to yield significant gains in performance, reliability, maintainability, and flexibility. We also hope that new developer ramp-up time will be positively impacted as there will be less proprietary code to learn.

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Smartphone Optimizations

Mobile

Looking at our traffic from last week, we were surprised to learn that more than 6% of people accessing FormSite forms were using a mobile browser. Our forms work great on mobile browsers, but there are some tricks that can be performed to make them even better when viewed on a mobile device. With our new QR Code functionality we thought we’d help our users design forms optimized for mobile devices. We outline some tips and tricks depending on the device your users have. We break these down into three target device environments: Desktop (default), Desktop+Mobile, and Mobile-Only. Lets dive into some more detail on each of these.

Desktop (default):

There is nothing new for you to do if you anticipate a majority of your users are using a desktop or laptop computer. By default, our forms are designed for a desktop environment. If you happen to have some users accessing your forms with a mobile device, they will be able to fill them out just fine. If you are not sure if you will have mobile users or not, you might want to make the changes discussed in the Desktop+Mobile section below.

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New QR Code Publish Option

QrCode

Have you ever seen an image like the one below and wondered what it was? It is a QR Code (Quick Response Code), a 2-D barcode technology, that is increasingly popular for use with smartphones and other mobile devices. QR Codes can hold text like URLs ? including the one to your form. Once scanned, the user can automatically load the URL link in their browser.

Our new publish option will automatically generate the QR Code image that contains the link to your form in both standard and secure formats. In order to fully use the technology, you must have a barcode scanning application installed on your phone. On iPhone, some popular scanners are QuickMark, OptiScan, and NeoReader. For Android devices, the most popular scanner is Barcode Scanner.

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