Forms

The UBCMS supports simple forms. Try Formstack for better storage and many advanced features.

This feature works comparably in both the Classic and Flex UI versions of the UBCMS. In the future, screenshots and language will be updated to reflect Flex UI.

On this page:

Last reviewed: September 30, 2021

The UBCMS is not an appropriate place to receive, store or share ANY regulated private data, including 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, including 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.

Available Components

Best Practice

  1. Ensure your forms send email from a suitable account.
    • By default, UBCMS forms generate email 'From' one of our admin accounts, ubinfo@buffalo.edu.
    • Please change this to a more suitable account you control.
    • Consider establishing an admin account or at least an email alias so there is good coverage for any replies or delivery errors that are generated.
  2. Set a clear 'thank you' page, and consider a unique page for each form.
    • This allows you to set expectations, next steps or other useful information
    • By having a unique results page for each form, you can collect usage data for each form submission.
    • For third party services, having this page means your visitors will not land in an undesirable place, such as Formstack's corporate site!
  3. Consider sending your submitters an acknowledgment email.
    • For UBCMS forms, you can automatically CC the submitter on the submitted email.
    • For Formstack forms, a Confirmation under Settings: Emails & Actions.
    • However, this practice can be 'hijacked' by bad agents to generate spam to third parties, and can generate a lot of bounces from bad email addresses, so it may not be wise on high profile or high volume forms.  
  4. Preserve data for important submissions.
    • For UBCMS forms, you can use the Store option, but its data handling is not very powerful.
    • We encourage use of Formstack, which collects all data in a friendly table interface.
  5. Create UB branded forms.
  6. Always test your form when you first create it to be sure the sequence from submission to delivery is desirable.
  7. Regularly test your form to ensure delivery to all recipients is successful.

Problem Solving

  • Remember that admin email accounts need to be renewed annually.
    • Try emailing the intended recipient directly to be sure your email gets through.
    • Try a test of your form, to see how it functions.
  • If the form fails to work, or an error message appears:
  • If emails are unexpectedly being filtered into ‘junk’ folders, or not reaching their targets, Unit Web Leads/Site Owners or Technical Leads should contact the UBit Mail Team.
  • If this becomes urgent, Unit Web Leads/Site Owners or Technical Leads should contact UBit at 716-645-3816 and indicate this is an ‘email issue’. You will put you in touch with an available manager who will prioritize your request.
  • But if the issue lies with a third party (e.g. Formstack), you will need to work directly with their support service.

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.

UB Branded forms

Your forms can be styled appropriately for use in the UBCMS using our UB Branded theme.
> Learn more about the UB Branded theme.

Be careful with Formstack options

Do not use the default Other in a dropdown list with the additional text field - both will be labeled the same id. Instead use a separate and clearly labeled "other" text field.

Do not use the built in date picker. Instead provide separate day, month, and year fields.

Implementation Method One - Formstack Component

Our custom solution to embed a Formstack form into a UBCMS page is the Formstack component.

Using this component, authors only need to paste the default Formstack embed code directly into the Formstack component on their UBCMS page. This code is provided with your form on FormStack.com. Look in the Publish tab, under 'Quick Start' for 'Embed this form on your website (JavaScript)'. Copy that code and paste it into the UBCMS component. It will look something like this:

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://universityatbuffalo.formstack.com/forms/js.php/help_desk_calendar_feedback"></script><noscript><a href="https://universityatbuffalo.formstack.com/forms/help_desk_calendar_feedback" title="Online Form">Online Form - Calendar Feedback</a></noscript><div style="text-align:right; font-size:x-small;"><a href="http://www.formstack.com?utm_source=jsembed&utm_medium=product&utm_campaign=product+branding&fa=h,2754112" title="Powered by Formstack">Powered by Formstack</a></div>

No further adjustments are required.

Implementation Method Two - Using an HTML Snippet

This method of embedding a Formstack form relies on the HTML Snippet.

This approach works well, but requires selecting 'I don't need jQuery' when the embed code is generated otherwise the page could be corrupted. In Formstack, ignore the Quickstart code and instead open the Embed Form section, and use the 'JavaScript Embed Script ' but be sure to select the Advanced Option of 'I don't need jQuery'.

Note: This method is required to embed multiple Formstack forms on a page. Use the Formstack component for the first form, then an HTML Snippet for each additional form. (Read more about this Known Issue.)

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