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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

New Product: JavaScript WYSIWYG Form Builder

I have just launched a web application featuring many cool JavaScript tricks: Drag and Drop, Instant Edit and AJAX. Please feel free to try it out and post your feedback:

It looks and works similar to Visual Studio forms tool. You can drag and drop a field type from the toolbox to add a new question, click on a question to edit its properties and click on the save icon to save your work using AJAX.

This was a part of a larger product I am working on. However it was too exciting to keep it that way. So I have decided to release it as a standalone web application.

No decision on a business model yet. At this point I am more interested in seeing the interest, getting beta users to try out things and sorting out the bugs. There are lots of remotely hosted form processors for webmasters so I am not really eager to be another one. It could become a simple web application builder for webmasters. I would only target webmasters and web designers since it would be too limiting for real programmers. OK, I already gave out too much competitive ideas to bunch of business-smart programmers. :)

I would like to hear your feedback about the product and your ideas for marketing. Do you see any business opportunities or just another cool toy?
Aytekin Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Hm, thats pretty nice. I like the tool dragging effects, but I'm not sure what the point is?
cc Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
It's great, even works in Safari. I think it's optimal for CMS or Knowledge Management Systems.
Matthias Winkelmann Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
That's a lovely and handy piece of kit. Unfortunately it uses tables so I cant use it in my work.
If you can change it to a totally CSS layout you will get a lot of attention with it.
Alan O'Rourke Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Thanks all for feedback in such a short time.

cc: At this point, it is useful to create forms and collect data. Not that exciting for us programmers but there are lots of services like this for webmasters who can't even install a  formmail script on their site.

Matthias: It is actually not very stable on Safari. There is a bug that crashes Safari sometimes. I have only fully tested on Firefox and IE.

Alan: I try to follow your blog. Your design work is very impressive. Best of luck with the wedding site! The table vs. CSS issue is something I had to leave out for this release. But I will definitely work on it on the future releases.
Aytekin Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006

Liked it very much, though I don't think I will use something like this.
Did you use any tools yourself that helped you develop the application or was it all by hand using a html editor?

Arik Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
That is just too freaking cool. 

One sug: 

When I clicked on the "<>" icon to go into source mode, I assumed the icon was representing a pair of arrows (and hence I'd click on the same icon to get back to design mode).  When I got to source mode, however, the icon I expected to use to go back was gone (and replaced by what looked like a generic document icon).

After a bit of puzzling over this, I realized that the "<>" icon represents the brackets of an Xml element (I'm not _completely_ stupid), but I figured I'd pass along my first experiences anyway.
System of a Don Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"No decision on a business model yet."

In tune with the times!  :)

No seriously, looks very impressive. If Writely is the web version of Word, maybe this turns out to be the web version of InfoPath.

Agree with Matthias, this as a reusable component could be a sellable product.
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Looks cool, seems to work great in Opera as well.  It looks like something you could sell to companies for a high price to integrate into their CMS - if you include the js to build the form, as well as some scripts in various langauges to process it (perl, php, asp, cf, etc.).
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I knew I had seen something like this before.
http://www.formassembly.com  It is not long launched .

Your drag and drop method seems a bit more intuitive and user friendly though.
Alan O'Rourke Send private email
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Very impressive! Although you should bear in mind that this is coming from soneone who uses NetObjects Fusion. ;0)
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Look goods. There are some problems with the UI, though:

1. When dragging an item from the toolbox, I'd expect to see an indicator telling where it will be inserted if I drop now. A bar, an arrow or small space between the adjacent fields, for example.

2. When I drop an item I dragged from the toolbox, the item will flick back to the toolbox, and a field will get inserted. However, on Mac "the flick" means that no action was taken. Instead of removing the dragged item from the toolbox, why not leave a semi-transparent ghost, so you don't have to "return" the item.

3. The "X" button in the corner of a window typically makes it go away completely. Just hiding the content area is usually indicated with an up arrow or a horizontal bar.

4. The "next" doesn't tell anything about what happens after you click it. Save? Publish? Preview? Test for section 508 compliancy?

5. When reordering fields, you can drag them above and below the form area. It's a bit confusing, since it's not obvious what happens when you drop there.

6. The large script takes time to load, during which the page stays blank. A more hasty person might conclude that the site is down or broken.

7. Using a browser with JavaScript disabled results with a non-functional interface instead of a message listing the requirements.
Aapo Laitinen Send private email
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Very cool work. Looks like it has great potential. My good friend Russell Robinson has an extremely popular Formail script and Decoder. You two should talk about working together as you complement each others work nicely. See: http://www.tectite.com/
Neville Franks Send private email
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Alan, I am aware of FormAssembly. This is one of the biggest nightmares of us microISVs. We spend days and nights on a product and right before releasing it suddenly someone else may come out with a very similar product. If you are unlucky that will be Google and you are toast. Last year I was working on this product and I thought I was the only one with this idea. Then one day, FormAssembly announced the second version and the description matched very closely with what I have been working on. It had drag and drop and live previewing of the form and it was powered by JavaScript and CSS. It was a scary moment. But then FA 2.0 came out and It was nothing like JotForm. By the way, I have a lot of respect for the author. He has been doing this for many years, have a high traffic web site and nice CSS and JavaScript contributions to the community.

Aapo: Thanks for such detailed testing and sharing your thoughts. I have noted them all.

System of a Don: <> icon is really taking you to the "View Source" mode as you guessed. Then it becomes "Edit Form" button.
Aytekin Send private email
Sunday, February 19, 2006

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