Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Attack of the Ajax form builders

Category: Ajax, Component, JavaScript, Showcase, Toolkit, UI

>Ajax form builders are all the rage lately, so here’s a quick roundup of three of the players in this space.

FormBuilder from the Form Assembly has been around awhile, so it has an impressive feature list:

  • produces standards compliant XHTML/CSS
  • multi-page forms and conditional sections
  • can use predefined themes or user created css
  • optional hosting at the form assembly for easy tracking and usage stats (requires payment)

Its based on the open source libraries wForms and freja. Also check out the form templates available in the library and stylesheets in the form garden.

Form Assembly Form Builder

JotForm is a WYSIWIG, drag and drop builder with scriptaculous under the covers. According to Aytekin Tank, the creator, its similiar to the builder in Visual Studio. Right now its compatible on Firefox and IE with Safari support coming. Check out the flash-based tour for a feature lineup.

JotForm

Wufoo is a form creator from the guys at Particle Tree thats just an interface demo right now. It uses Flash 8 under the covers and works in FF 1.5, Safari 2, and almost IE6. It has some thoughtful “higher level” widgets for things like phone number, star ratings, tags, and dates. The interface follows more of a wizard type approach and certainly looks cool with some nice transition effects.

WuFoo

Which builder do you see as having some staying power? Which one, if any, could you see using in your day to day development? Will you stick with hand coding and only use these for quick prototypes, if at all?

Posted by Rob Sanheim at 11:43 pm
43 Comments

++++-
4 rating from 142 votes

43 Comments »

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Just to clarify – Wufoo will provide developers with the CSS/JavaScript/HTML of forms they build, but we are also a hosted solution for all of your data. You can build a form with us, we host it, and your users can submit into it. Your data can be subscribed to, downloaded, emailed, etc. We have plenty more in the works, and we’ll start talking about it soon, but we hope this becomes a tool that is useful to everyone, not just developers.

Also, thanks for the mention!

Comment by Ryan Campbell — March 1, 2006

Look at http://www.zapatec.com/website/main/products/forms/
Pretty nice and powerful

Comment by andrew — March 1, 2006

Oh, and “virii” is not the plural of virus. “Viruses”.

Comment by Yeah, right — March 1, 2006

[...] Creare un form a “runtime” con Ajax non è poi cosi’ complesso. Ancora meglio se qualcuno ha gia’ fatto il lavoro al posto nostro. E ringraziamo ajaxian.com per avercene presentato almeno 3. [...]

Pingback by AjaxBlog.it » Costruire form a runtime — March 1, 2006

Useful only for the form elements, but the free ones I bet don’t provide any forms validation, Zapatec does this but they charge $400 just for the license, which is purely an example of people trying to make money off Ajax before it becomes nearly impossible to do so. :)

Comment by Tom — March 1, 2006

[...] http://ajaxian.com/archives/attack-of-the-ajax-form-builders and there are three. question is what use are they? [...]

Pingback by KrYounger » AJAX form builders — March 1, 2006

I really like Wufoo’s high level field types such as the rating and tags, but I would have been more impressed if it were done in JavaScript instead of Flash.

Jotform has some work to do on its drag and drop, such as showing where a new field is going to be dropped.

Form Assembly is pretty nice, but the UI could use some work – looks and feels like it was designed by a programmer. I like the conditional questions, but I really feel the method of Alphabet association was a bad design choice.

My vote today would be for Form Assembly. I can see them continuing to improve as they have in the past.

Comment by Steve Nolte — March 1, 2006

The pre-built patterns, or widgets if you want to call them that, on Wufoo are really nice. It has a great interface, although I think they could iron out a few wrinkles with some user testing. Great piece of work from the PT team.

Comment by Douglas Clifton — March 1, 2006

[...] Ajaxian » Attack of the Ajax form builders cute ajax form builders’ brief intro. (tags: ajax tools) [...]

Pingback by Cui’s Weblog » links for 2006-03-02 — March 1, 2006

I want to add this tini-mini application in AJAX on this site for some reviews, Try it and let me know..

For all those enthusiasts who are researching applications and patterns in Ajax, Here is my tini-mini application. Fully implemented in AJAX, This application solely uses XML. Techonocrats of Javascript and DHTML also have thier share of DOM compliant CrossBrowser notes application. This is my own project that took like a month. I would give all credit to 3M for an application Post-It Software Notes. This is an extenstion probably 3M would be interested in, for which they can contact me ;) I would also like to credit anyone if they have already done or have been working on this kind of an idea.

http://sarathonline.com/test.php

I will be working writing some articles explaining some good patterns I have used here. Since you have all the code in JS, feel free to observe it and email me any suggestions you have.

The application is tested on IE6 and Firefox 1.5

Comment by Sarath — March 1, 2006

[...] Attack of the Ajax form builders 3 Ajax web form generators (tags: ajax generator webdev form) [...]

Pingback by Look What I Found » links for 2006-03-02 — March 1, 2006

In the name of completeness, I’m going to put in a shameless plug for my JSONwidget form builder. It’s not as general purpose as these other tools, but I hope that the approach I’m taking spurs some interest. It’s basically a JSON editor, where the schema (also in JSON) is used to generate a user interface. I haven’t had a chance to work on it in a while, but I do plan to get back around to working on it before too long.

Comment by Rob Lanphier — March 2, 2006

[...] Ajaxian » Attack of the Ajax form builders » Ajax form builders are all the rage lately, so here’s a quick roundup of three of the players in this space. [...]

Pingback by Vinny Carpenter’s blog » Blog Archive » Daily Del.icio.us for Mar 01, 2006 — March 2, 2006

[...] If your business deals with forms, take a look at Wufoo, the Y Combinator-funded start-up from the people behind ParticleTree. Wufoo is one of a few online form creators that make creating a form easy and painless, which is nice – but a comment from co-founder Ryan Campbell over at Ajaxian reveals that Wufoo has much more ambitious plans: Wufoo will provide developers with the CSS/JavaScript/HTML of forms they build, but we are also a hosted solution for all of your data. You can build a form with us, we host it, and your users can submit into it. Your data can be subscribed to, downloaded, emailed, etc. We have plenty more in the works, and we’ll start talking about it soon, but we hope this becomes a tool that is useful to everyone, not just developers. [...]

Pingback by Greg Yardley’s Internet Blog » One-stop lead production shop? — March 2, 2006

[...] 11 – Ajaxian » Attack of the Ajax form builders (tags: ajax) [...]

Pingback by links for 2006-03-02 at SIXFACE — March 2, 2006

[...] Ajaxian » Attack of the Ajax form builders Ajax form builders are all the rage lately, so here’s a quick roundup of three of the players in this space. (tags: ajax development forms html webdev web css jotform wufoo form) [...]

Pingback by Vinny Carpenter’s Link blog » Blog Archive » links for 2006-03-02 — March 3, 2006

Wufoo is still the best!

Comment by Saul Weiner — March 4, 2006

[...] ajaxian.com/archives/attack-of-the-ajax-form-builders [...]

Pingback by AlbanyWiFi.com » Blog Archive » Attack of the Ajax form builders — March 6, 2006

This is great, but do you know of any that actually let you host the server-side script on your own server?

Thanks!

Comment by Jordan Meeter — March 15, 2006

[...] a worth reading from Ajaxian – attack of the ajax from builders , whcih comparing 3 out of 4 service .. Technorati Tags: forms, formspring, jotform, theformassembly, webform, wufoo Spot:                      [...]

Pingback by GetSpot Now » Online Form Builder — March 24, 2006

[...] Ajaxian » Attack of the Ajax form builders “Ajax form builders are all the rage lately, so here’s a quick roundup of three of the players in this space.” (tags: ajax javascript development web html) [...]

Pingback by Breyten’s Dev Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2006-03-02 — April 8, 2006

[...] Attack of the Ajax form builders (tags: ajax design html programming) [...]

Pingback by Perpetually Thinking » links for 2006-04-16 — April 15, 2006

[...] Tutto per i Form!! Gran bell’articolo sulle applicazioni “form-builder”, da cui ho scoperto la libreria wForms (Javascript+Css) dedicata ai form. http://ajaxian.com/archives/attack-of-the-ajax-form-builders [...]

Pingback by Smoker’s Area » Link Dump — April 21, 2006

are there any open source ajax form builders out there? even if ever so basic?

Comment by ryan — June 24, 2006

@Jordan Meeter

I’ve been looking for a client hosted solution as well and have come up short on all fronts. It doesn’t seem like there is a system out there yet for it.

Comment by Jared Blitzstein — June 26, 2006

Granted, these form builders have potential, but who are they aimed at? If you’re already able to build forms you will do, and if you can’t it seems unlikely that you’d know what to do with the resulting information.

Comment by Milan Hawkins — July 24, 2006

@Milan Hawkins

We are creating a form builder for a large government department. Roughly about 1% of our users are compentent enough to program new forms, yet about 50-70% of our users currently create forms.

This puts a massive load our producers to create these never ending forms.

During focus groups our users requested that they be able to create electronic forms that where made though other electronic forms (a form builder). We did some user testing on mock ups and found that the vast majority of them could make forms pretty easily.

As for the resulting outcomes of an electronic form … I’m not so sure what’s so comlicated about e-mails and demographics that it would restrict the number of people who can use it.

Comment by Adam — September 18, 2006

it seems all these formbuilders force you to have your forms hosted on their own servers. For most companies this is not a valid option.
Zapatec offers you the entire library so you can host the forms on your own servers.
A free form generator class for PHP:

http://phpclasses.half2.nl/browse/package/1.html

Comment by Olaf — October 20, 2006

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Trackback by quit smoking now — December 5, 2006

thanks for the info some usefull stuff there cheers

happy christmas

Comment by free xbox 360 — December 11, 2006

A FREE ajax form builder, highly flexble and REALY FREE.

Comment by form builder — January 11, 2007

From the looks of it, it seems that Wufoo is way way ahead,

Comment by treo 700 — January 16, 2007

Check out frevvo … it’s a new entry in this [I know] crowded space. But, there are some big differences: XML support, fancy layouts, repeating elements, business rules, complex validation, dynamic form elements – all the kinds of things you need for real business forms – the kind that would cost you $75K with InfoPath to implement.

Comment by Ashish Deshpande — February 13, 2007

Is there any web master for this site who can delete spam in this forum. I need ajax form for my web site and want to host it in my server. Any help?

Comment by sbs reddy — March 2, 2007

Damn! All of these haven’t the feature I’m searching for.
I need a form which creates new input fields when last field has been filled.

Comment by David — June 23, 2007

http://www.flovv.com is a new multi page form builder, it incorporates conditional branching and a flow view of the linking of the pages: try it out because its completely free!!

Comment by James — July 23, 2007

I just tried Flovv mentioned here, interface seems understandable, but it seems you can only collect the form results by logging into the Flovv site each time you want them…

Comment by cn — October 26, 2007

What I would really love to see in one of them would be a form builder that can build complex conditionals using radio buttons/drop downs + other inputs. I do it by hand now, but like every good programmer… I’m lazy (:

Comment by Mike — November 24, 2007

This looks, on the face of it, brilliant, but I’ve just used Wufoo for so long. Maybe I’ll give it a go if people could help me out with any issues? Is it worth using over Wufoo?

Comment by FreeXbox360 — July 29, 2009

Thanks, much appreciated. Will be posting to facebook this page to share.

Comment by besttoaster — November 20, 2009

Im not really a fan of this type of form. Maybe will change in future.

Comment by smallnotebookcomputers — January 13, 2010

There’s also mooform, which I’ve used to create a few pre-screening forms for rental properties I posted on craigslist. Worked pretty well and had some nice additional features that I didn’t try out.

http://www.mooform.com

Comment by bugsmoney — November 18, 2010

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