Formoid Beta: New Form Generator

The people who brought the WowSlider to market are moving into forms processing with the new Formoid beta Form Generator. Now the WowSlider  is fairly feature rich and economical; but not the best image slider in the market place [checkout Royal Slider or WunderSlider. But the  WowSlider is very easy to use and produces output for use in JavaScript driven HTML pages, WordPress  and Joomla websites. It also uses a variety of slide transitions and slider stylings.  Presumably Formoid will follow suit on these goals. The currently free beta can be found here.

Features Promised So Far

The current Formoid UI has all of the major HTML 4 input types available but is currently missing some the HTML4 attributes. More worrisome, Formoid is missing all of the new HTML5 Form elements [datalist, keygen,output ], all 13 of the new HTML5 input types [color, date, datetime, datetime-local, email, month, number, range, search, tel, time, url, week] plus all 17 of the new HTML5 form attributes [autocomplete, novalidate, autofocus, form, formaction, formenctype, formmethod, formnovalidate, formtarget, height and width, list, min and max, multiple, pattern (regexp), placeholder, required, step]. In defense of Formoid, the browser vendors  vary widely  themselves in their compliance with the new HTML5 standard[and yes, even IE 10 trails badly , again].

Clearly  client data validations, which make up the bulk of the new HTML5 Form features, are still a  major unknown as to how much the  Formoid  release version will deliver. Speaking against form validation is the simple  fact that it is hard to do. Also, many forms vendors do most of their form field validation back at the server. But the Formoid developers are jQuery smart, and there are some excellent Javascript Libraries and jQuery plugins for form validation. So they may offer client side validations as Pro or Plus version of the package.

The other major gap in Formoid – the procesing, valdation, and storage of the Form data is right now completely the responsibility of the user. It is again, hard to imagine how Formoid will implement this in an “easy to use” fashion which is one of their major pre-announced goals. But this means generating PHP code back at the server, something that WowSlider only does for its WordPress and Joomla connections.  So Formoid knows how to do PHP server code, but the complexity of server side validations can become daunting.

 Formatting and Layout


One of the big promises of Formoid is to “create beautiful and elegant forms for your website or blog. Use your own styles, logo and colors” and to “build any type of web form with no technical experience necessary”. Now this implies the use of template files similar to what WowSlider uses to format slides in very different styles. But in the case of WowSlider those template files are locked away and cannot be modified by the user.

In contrast Formoid appears to be promising some “easy-to-use” user styling. The current beta does not have that capability although one can imagine property sheet settings being used to do such styling  tasks.

However, equally formidable is the promised ability to layout forrms in a variety of formats. Currently, the layout of forms only allows one column of input fields. For example, in the form on the left each field lies underneath the previous one. Thethe layout of  checkboxes of Linux distros in three rows is done manually after publishing/generating the form. Likewise the bolding of labels is styling added manually after form generation.

So clearly Formoid has a a number of improvements to make in its ability to format and style HTML forms.

Summary

The Formoid beta is the first example of the very successful WowSlider people applying their UI and jQuery savvy to the problem of HTML forms. Clearly there are wealth of tools already available in this Web Development marketplace  from top end systems  like Microsoft Visual Studio or Adobe Dreamweaver to online form building tools like FormsiteIcebrrg,  and Wufoo.

So Formoid will not be without formidable competition. And as you can see from this review there are a number of missing pieces in the current beta of Formoid – HTML5 feature support, local and server side data validation and storage, plus formating and styling capabilities. But having seen the rapid improvements in WowSlider, this party is certainly not counting Formoid out. Clearly they use some form of Agile development – so the HTML4, one-column current version should see major improvements over the next few quarters.