Who has the best Matrix forms?

(Michael Wilson) #1

As the title suggests, I am wondering who is the form-guru of Matrix? Please share a link and some details regarding how the form was built (e.g. custom code, Bootstrap, etc). Thanks.

(Tbaatar) #2

Personally, I have stopped using the Squiz Matrix forms for number of reasons.

  1. Takes ages to setup
  2. Sometimes the forms can totally bork out after upgrades or for no appearant reason.
  3. Form submissions increments the asset id (not a huge issue) but it quickly adds up and you end up with 6 digit asset ids which can be a pain if you need to do some manual typing of the ID’s.
  4. E-mail delivery is hit and miss (biggest issue)
  5. Forms with logged submission can be a nightmare to delete without root acces or deleting the form completely and starting over again. Also not GDPR friendly if you have someone subscribed to 2 or more different forms and it has been logged. how will they unsubscribe or request to have this data deleted?
  6. Limited control over form action.
  7. Generated form creates undesirable HTML class or markup. You can create custom edit interface but then again it involves more work.
  8. Form nesting doesn’t work as it caches (if you have cache on) and to overcome this it requires creating customisation. Again this is something you would have had to know before specing out your website before the build.

Instead we have started using normal HTML to create the forms and post API call to external service to manage the delivery and marketing automation.

If you only have max of 1 or 2 forms on the website Matrix form is probably a better way to go. But if you are managing many forms then I’d say it is better to create HTML forms. Since if your site is using many forms I’m sure there is some marketing reason behind it and it makes sense to hook it up with CRM or marketing automation via an API.

Sorry for not answering the original question.

(Michael Wilson) #3

No apologies necessary - I guess from the lack of replies others share your sentiments. Maybe this is something Squiz should look into for future releases.

(Petri Iivonen) #4

“best forms” is pretty much subjective. I have built about 100 or so forms. However, as tbaatar mentions, they can be fiddly to set up. Emailing etc. aren’t a problem, we’ve never had an issue so it sounds to me it’s the platform setup causing those problems.

From GDPR point of view, it’s as easy to find particular replies if you want so I don’t see any issue in that either, in addition, you can always create a trigger to delete the response from Matrix after it has been mailed. I can sort of see the issue with growing assetids but on the other hand, the number grows no matter what you do…

I originally developed a set of question group templates that we linked to forms, but I had to remove them because my lovely colleagues managed to make ****** of them and in process messed up over 50 forms I had to manually go and fix.

However, for me, the reason we’ve moved away from Matrix forms is for business continuity reasons (and I wanted to get value for money for software we had paid for for years but never used). I wanted them to be independent from the CMS we use so if we change the CMS, we don’t have to rebuild all the forms just because they were built into the current CMS.

(Tbaatar) #5

I agree Petri, best of anything is subjective to use case.

For our use case all of the above were an issue especially delivery (hosted with Matrix or without, with SLA or without) and the GDPR. You see we have seen customers on our website registering their interest for particular product by which they sign-up to download the brochure (lead), and the same person would sign-up to for offers e.g Black Friday or 12 Days of XMAS. Now to remove the user via Trigger from these 3 custom form sources is not possible without manual intervention.

Seperation of Data, Content, Media files from storing in a CMS seems to be the big trend now and we have pretty much moved away from storing any content/media files for our core product in any CMS, instead it sits in Contentful and this data is consumed for our other external services.

(Petri Iivonen) #6

I’m not defending Matrix forms, but clearing the form submission logs, one at a time or multiples isn’t that difficult with JS API. However, I don’t quite understand what you mean “multiple” form sources, if they are 3 different forms, same removal process is just repeated 3 times.

What comes to mailing form contents, the reason I am saying that it sounds like platform, or network issue rather than Matrix issue is that I have been running Matrix for over 7 years now (from 3.24 to 5.2.4 now, through upgrades) with multi domain setup (up to 10 different sites in one Matrix instance) and on 3 different servers simultaneously without once having an issue with submissions delivery. If there was an issue with submission delivery in Matrix, I’m pretty confident I would have suffered from it by now too.

Anyway, pretty moot point as such, as I said I made us to move away from integrated forms for resiliency reasons and you have moved for other reasons.

(Tbaatar) #7

Fair points Petri.

ps: Matrix user since 3.18 for 10 years and had over 20 domains under a single Matrix instance, and currently manage 4 seperate Matrix build and fiddle, tinker around on daily basis :stuck_out_tongue:

Perhaps we should rename this thread into ‘Who has the most Matrix knowledge’

(Douglas (@finnatic at @waikato)) #8

It would be ideal if there was an out of the box solution for this, that didn’t require development and was usable by users with limited capabilities. We have a lot of distributed content authors and owners, and there are plenty that struggle with anything more complex than editing content on the Edit+ content screen.

That would likely require Squiz to commit to some major redevelopment of the Forms functionality though?

(Petri Iivonen) #9

We have a lot of distributed content authors and owners, and there are plenty that struggle with anything more complex than editing content on the Edit+ content screen

In my opinion administrative tasks such as clearing form submission logs belong to the system admins, not some content author. Risks of allowing anyone and their grandmother (intentionally or by accident) to clear data like that would be way too high. Think of a complaint made against an employee who has ability to go and delete the said submission…

On a backend, automated processes can be done to clear any data periodically, or if you want to do it manually, backend admin users can always see the submission logs and delete ones they want, either in bulk or individually. So the feature is already there. If you want to allow your editors to delete submission logs, you can use JS API to add a feature to EasyEdit.

(Jane Butler) #10

Hi Michael

We have in total over 200 forms (not all are active though) and use Matrix forms a lot. We use clone and Edit + for many forms and find it easy to use. I agree that being able to delete submissions should be a sys admin function but there are ways to manage this.
We have been working to cut out as much formatting and additional code as possible out of our forms which makes them work well and carry over when we have upgrades. It also makes it a lot easier to clone and edit forms.

(Evan Wills) #11

We’ve been using Matrix for twelve years and have more than 750 forms (not all still active)
The only thing we’ve had issues with is old and forgotten publicly accessible forms being attacked by SPAM bots. Which really cranked up our asset count (now at 2.3 million)

Some of our forms are very old and have been collecting submissions for 10 years without any house keeping so those forms are no longer able to be cleaned up without root intervention.

As for being fiddly to set up. Yes and no. Any form that has any level of complexity will be fiddly to set up. The power and flexibility of “Custom forms” is pretty impressive.

The fact that you can’t delete submissions when you get over 100k of submissions is a bit annoying but… Really we should have been doing more house keeping.

(Michael Wilson) #12

Thanks Jane. Are any of your forms publicly available somewhere I could have a look?

(Michael Wilson) #13

That sure is a lot of forms @evanwills. Do you have some publicly available where I could see them?

(Jane Butler) #14

Most of our forms are showing at www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/online-forms.
Unfortunately we have had a number of consultation just close (it is that time of year) so a lot of our old forms are showing - we will be rebuilding a few of these forms.
www.dunedin.govt.nz/rural-water-scheme-request-form or www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/online-forms/request-to-access-dcc-security-camera-footage are newish forms.

(Evan Wills) #15


I’ve also written a little tool to generate HTML for the all the different parts of the form so it’ll work with Bootstrap.

I’ll post a link or the HTML/JS tomorrow.

(Bart Banda) #16

Interesting and valuable discussion on forms guys, really insightful.

We will be putting a lot more effort over the next few months to enhance the form capability in Matrix. For example, we just released a feature that lets you easily have multi-file upload fields in (https://matrix.squiz.net/releases/5.5/

But we have much more planned as well such as easier conditional fields and sections configuration, better form templating, and improved form submission management.

Any other feedback you have on what problems and limitations you have with forms in Matrix, we’d love to know.

(Oliver Kass) #17

Hi Bart, will you be able to validate on total file size via the new multi upload feature? So for example if you want to limit the total upload to 15MB but let the user spread this across the multiple input fields?

I’m asking because it’s taken a while to find a good fix (front end validation) for this in our version of Matrix (5.4.6) :slight_smile:

(Tuan Nguyen) #18

Hi Bart,

Any ETA on conditional fields being available?

(Bart Banda) #19

The file size validation will be per file. So if you set a max file size of 1MB for the field settings, each file uploaded in the multi-file upload can be up to 1MB in size.

(Bart Banda) #20

No specific timeframe atm, but we’re hoping to have it out in the second Q of this year at the latest.