Forms

Forms are integral to most websites. The UBCMS has an existing set of components to support simple forms. For more complex needs, we encourage you to consider Formstack.

On this page:

The UBCMS is not an appropriate place for ANY regulated private data, including bank credit/debit card numbers, government-issued ID numbers, health information or computer passwords.

We discourage building forms in shared content -- this practice may interfere with normal functionality, such as validation.

Simple Forms Using UBCMS Components

By combining these built-in form components, you can create a wide variety of forms to meet most basic needs, but we primarily recommend their use for generating simple email messages (contact and feedback forms or quick registration or service requests). For more complex or critical needs (including storing responses), please consider a more robust platform such as Formstack.

Advanced Forms Using Formstack

We have found Formstack (formstack.com) to be a reliable and robust solution for forms that are more complex than the basic UBCMS tools. A reasonably priced local site license will likely meet your needs.

To use a Formstack in the UBCMS, you will first need to build your form in Formstack.com, then embed the code for the form into your UBCMS page using one of these two methods.

Implementation Method One - Using a Formstack Component

Our custom solution to embedding a Formstack form into a UBCMS page relies on the new Formstack component.

Using this component, authors only need to paste the default Formstack embed code directly into the Formstack component on their UBCMS page. No further accomodations are required.

This code is located with your form on FormStack.com. Look in the Publish tab, under 'Quick Start.'

NB. This method uses the default code, including jQuery and jQuery UI, and does not support any Formstack templates.

Implementation Method Two - Using an HTML Snippet

Our original solution to embedding a Formstack form into a UBCMS page relied on the HTML Snippet component.

This approach works, but does not allow the UBCMS to apply the normal CSS styling to the embedded form. This approach also requires selecting 'I don't need jQuery' on the Formstack site where the embed code is generated, BEFORE it is copied to the UBCMS. (Otherwise the page could be corrupted.)

This code is located with your form on FormStack.com. Look in the Publish tab, under 'Quick Start.'

NB. This method requires adjusting the Formstack code, turning off jQuery, but supports Formstack templates.

Master Class Resources

Best Practice

  1. Ensure your forms send email from a suitable account.
    • By default, UBCMS forms generate email 'From' our admin account: ubinfo@buffalo.edu. Please change this to a more suitable account you control, and consider establishing an admin account or at least an alias so that you have good backup coverage for any replies or delivery errors that are generated.
  2. Set a suitable 'thank you' page, and consider a unique page for each form.
    • Always set a prefered 'thank you' page for your form, so that submitters are not dropped in an undesirable place, such as Formstack's corporate site!
    • By having a unique results page for each form, you can collect usage data for each form submission and also use the page to set user expectations or to provide next steps and other useful information.
  3. Make sure submitters receive an acknowledgement email.
  4. Preserve submitted data.
    • For UBCMS forms, you can use the Store option, but its data handling feature is not very powerful.
    • We encourage use of Formstack, which collects all data in a friendly table interface.

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