Jump to content

Php Form Processor To Send


Recommended Posts

Dear TCH community,


I am having to learn php scripting & Mysql management. Now Looking at php Form handlers

1. Are there any php form script processors provided by TCH?

2. How do they compare to the plethora of free script handlers, any thoughts? see here

3. Has anyone checked out Phpforms: http://phpforms.net/order.html for $29.95 ? Is it a better solution?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my sites, I'm using UFM. And, against my basic instincts (I'm pretty cheap ;) ), I purchased the Pro version mainly for my own piece of mind. I would add that I haven't had a lick of problems with it...other than my own silly errors!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ultimate Form Mail is the only secure supported script being recommended. It is your choice to install what ever you like. However if the script you choose falls victim to being used to send SPAM your account may be suspended.


Also there is an unregistered version of UFM that is free.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Let me ask these questions a different way. Say you want to process forms, store to database, manage newsletters, and have a way to look at history of these activities without spamming and compromising site security. You are using,

  • Web development platform: LAMP , with cpanel to manage site
  • Web development application: Dreamweaver MX (DW)
  • Mysql manage tool: phpmyadmin

You can design forms with CSS matching your website using DW, so you do not need a form maker. You wish to have form submission stored in mysql and send email back to person who submitted form confirming reciept and some of the form data they input. You wish to also send out newsletters to groups of users. So with each form and each newsletter:

  • you design form/newsletter in DW.
  • you use phpmyadmin to create fields and tables in your mysql database to store form data.
  • you write specific php form processor script to store form data in mysql, and email out feedback/newsletter
  • You would also like to keep track of who and when emails/newsletters were sent and when forms recieved. I guess you can look inside mysql with phpmyadmin or write script to query database.

  1. With so many steps involved, how can form processing, newsletter sending, and admin history be improved?
  2. Is there a way to leverage php classes/methods/objects to have generic form processors so you do not have to write specific php code for each form?
  3. How can you improve on having to build new fields in database with each new form?
  4. Can I get more out of DW/cpanel to manage these activities?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I'll admit my bias upfront - I wrote and sell the form mail script endorsed by TCHosting - but judge what I have to say based on the quality of the info:


Yesterday I was talking with a dear friend that is a teacher at a local high school. She teaches technology, web design, flash, Photoshop, etc. She was telling me how difficult it is for her to keep up to speed with all the changes with web design.


I asked her what she was working on with her kids: tables.

I asked her what lessons I could help her with that she had coming up. When she said she was considering a lesson on framesets, I told her don't bother... no one uses them except for really specific situations that account for about .005% of what is done on the web.


I proposed that she have me come in and teach the kids start to finish how to do something that is (1) useful and (2) somewhat interesting. My suggestion: WordPress blog start to finish.


[this story has a point... stick with me]


I explained that the people looking to get things done, rather than learn how to reinvent the wheel for three years before getting something done, are using blogs, cms products, and other "done for you" packages that can be deployed with a minimal amount of skill.


I reminded her that when she asked me to put a gallery on her website so her students could upload their Photoshop artwork that I uploaded Gallery (Menalto)... Even though I have the technical ability to create my own PHP gallery I'd be an idiot to do it. Gallery has been tweaked and improved by very skilled programmers for years.


My point: don't reinvent the wheel if the wheel is readily available.


Specifically to your questions:


1- Mailing list

I highly recommend managing your newsletter through a free/nearly free/or even an expensive third party system. Why? It's done, it's quick, it's less likely to get you banned for spamming, it will look better when your clients receive it, and a whole host of other reasons. Is it possible to create your own newsletter system out of a mysql database? Sure. But it's a bad idea. Besides the things I already mentioned, you're going to hit an upper limit on the number of emails TCH will allow you to send at one time. The correct next question is not "What is that upper limit?" but rather "Why would I want to reinvent the wheel when there are companies that have been perfecting this deal for years that I can just plug into?". Want a free starter option? ConstantContact. Free for up to list of 100 last time I checked.


2- Contact form

If you don't like or want to use mine, then get someone else's that is proven secure. However, my most recent version allows you to process the contact AND simultaneously send the user's info over to that third party newsletter system (whoever you choose) and have them signed up to your newsletter instantly. I'm not aware of any other code out there that does this.


But if you are going to reinvent the wheel on this step, be warned that you aren't going to think of all the defenses against spammers that I and others have discovered over the years that we've been doing this, improving our software, testing, and getting feedback. And if your contact form (the achilles heel of all websites) gets compromised by spammers, don't be surprised if your site is shut down. TCH has to protect the other people on your server.


Why spend a long time becoming an expert on something that you could have crossed off your list for $25 or less.


3- There is no holy grail of webdesign tools

Dreamweaver is a great tool. I use it. But for most projects I end up using a wide variety of tools, some of which Dreamweaver is NOT good at. Two examples, don't even dream of creating a complicated PHP app that pulls data from a MySQL database using the automated DW tools. And any professional webdesigner will agree with my second example: advanced CSS does not display correctly in DW at all... not even remotely close (not that FrontPage does it any better). DW is not a browser and so to see more advanced CSS and how it reacts in Firefox, Opera, IE, etc you have to upload the code and hit it with a browser. Come to think of it, DW is a poor FTP client too... but listen, I like DW and use it every day.


If learning PHP and webdesign is your goal, and you have all the time in the world to devote to it, then you're asking good questions. If getting your project done quickly and correctly in a reasonable amount of time, then I humbly suggest that the best question is "What pre-done services and code can I glue together to make this baby fly?"


PS - I always look for other people's stuff to use first... whether it's free or for sale. I've paid $800+ for a already-done classified ad system. $199 for an affiliate system. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Don't think I do this because I have money to burn... time is money. If someone else has created exactly (or almost) what I'm looking for, why would I spend six months creating the same thing?

Edited by surefire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the following:

PHP to process the form and send info to a mysql database


PHP mail function (with the -f option) to send email receipt back to the client.



PHP to also send info to a separate mysql database that dada mail uses


I installed dadamail (to send, archive etc) email newsletters. You can edit the configuration file to make dada mail use a mysql table backend. I only use it for my email addresses. I am no programmer and found this all straight forward and it works well.


I probably spend 2 to 3 hours to get this all working.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

SureFire, I believe I read somewhere that your name is Jack, forgive me if that is not your name. It appears that we both agree on :

  • reinventing the wheel is foolplay. Time is money and is the ultimate arbiter on which path to follow in applying web solutions. Your wordpress example is right on.
  • web technology continues to rapidly change, hence
    requiring more effort and time to stay anywhere close to the leading edge.
    forcing users to think forward and apply modular, portable, scalabale solutions.

"If someone else has created exactly (or almost) what I'm looking for, why would I spend six months creating the same thing?"

We do not have time to trail and error in testing out every new tool out there, we have to learn how to use and integrate a new tool. That is why earlier in the thread, I asked what people thought of a list of scripts rated on php resourceindex, Yours is not on php resourceindex but is rated on hotscripts. Incidentally, I promise to rate any of your tools if I use them. It is fair to ask what takes more time, learning and integrating a new tool or make better use of DW/plugins/extensions?


So u see Jack, it is not the $25, it is the time it takes to work with something new. Could you kindly comment on:

on UltimateForm

  • will it process/handle all my forms/surveys/etc. or just contact form?
  • will it work with my existing mysql database? will it save me having to create fields in tables?
  • will it save to databse and send out customizable emails simultaneously?
  • Will it integrate with another tool "newsletter manager" and which one could serve a commercial (not some hobby) site?

and general web development,

  • Interestingly, would you use wordpress templates as a front end for an e-commerce site that needs no blog?
  • what would you use alongside DW as a web dev tool?
  • what optimization scripts/tools to auto resize/thumbnail/speed up rendering of image media do you recommend?
  • what do you of using flikr on a site instead of gallery for image media?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, Jack is my name.


Even though TCH has kindly endorsed Ultimate Form Mail, they really don't want anyone using their forum for commercial gain. So I will restrict my answers to yes/no and provide details in my forum (see signature).


1- Yes

2a- Yes 2b - Not sure what you're asking, I'll discuss in my forum in you want

3- Yes

4- Yes


To your other questions


1- It depends. I have my own CMS system that I often use, but for Ultimate Form Mail I used a Word Press blog for a specific reason... I wanted feedback on the site and two way communication... not just one way communication from me to my visitors/clients. That was a calculated move.


2- What I use is certainly not the end all and be all of web development. But to answer your questions, over the years I have developed a few CSS-P layouts that I can use as starting points and cut my webdevelopment time dramatically. I then created the images and backgrounds in Photoshop (older version, not CS) and I edit the CSS right on the server using GridinSoft Notepad Lite (Notepad basically). So I just do the CSS by hand. After a while, it's just faster and easier.


One of the few things DW does that helps with PHP coding (95% of what I do) is the coloring of source code. I can tell when I've made a typo that will kill the script before saving at least half the time.


I use FileZilla for FTP and often edit pages right on the server (I think I said that already).


But understand that I'm a coder/app builder/entrepreneur who has become proficient at CSS-P web design as an afterthought... So for the design side of things, you might want to ask around. I'm phasing out web design for clients in 2006 and focusing on my own projects (several going and several in the works).


3- It kinda depends on the situation. There's no magic bullet. Heavy image gallery required... I use Gallery. It autosizes using GD pretty darn well. Less than 50 images and you want pizzazz... I use a flash gallery but I have to resize the photos on my computer, and so I use Photoshop or batch process using Picassa.


4- I haven't taken the time to tinker with Flikr, partly because I'm a relatively private person and have only recently posted a single picture of myself online. But I have been considering this more and more, just to see what all the buzz is surrounding the usability of the service. I have seen some interesting WP plugins using Flikr technology.



I appreciate your interest in what I use... but there are many folks around here that would share with you completely different lists of tools, some of which may work better for you than mine. If my list helps, great. But please ask others what they use, because my list is certainly not exhaustive.


My post in your thread was meant to try to help folks do more with less knowledge. Over the years, with each leap forward in knowledge, I've had to go back and 'fix' all the websites I ever created to make them look better, work more effectively, and to be more secure. I hate seeing people struggle up the steep learning curve, trying to learn PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript (and Ajax), layout, flash, streaming audio and video, etc etc etc when so often there's a tool they can start using right away.


IMHO, it's fun learning this stuff, but I also have to balance the fun with getting projects done.


Your thread was in regards to contact forms, database storage, and newsletters. I think there's a LOT of potential downside to rolling your own if you don't know what you're doing. Look in these forums and by and large, the thing that gets people in the most trouble has something to do with email. So, just because you can build something that does the job, doesn't mean you should. And personally, I think that running a newsletter off your own server out of a mysql database is not a good idea, even using one of the many newsletter apps out there. But there are other opinions and I'm sure there are plenty here that will disagree with my feelings on the topic.

Edited by surefire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your insights. Stopped by your forum, found lots to read. where should I look for more details to your answers above :)

Tools I am using:

>web development tool:			  DW, notepad 
FTP manager:					   DW, WSFTP (free)
Image Processing:				  PHP native GD2 library
Image batch optimization:		  Ifran (free)
Image editing:					 photoshop CS2
Image sharing/plugin:			  flickr (this is a great free plugin)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I creted a post just for you... you'll see it.


By the way, I came across two other resources. One I just installed. I am embarrassed to say that I've had this sitting on my wife's computer for months and only just now downloaded the latest version and installed...




Amazing. I've tried running other servers on my computer before... no real success. This installed like a dream.


The other resource I can't personally vouce for, but it might be something you want to look at:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jack, I too overlooked a very valuable web development utility. Winmerge is free and allows you to compare two files side by side and quickly merge differences. It also highlights Xhtml tags anf php function names. very handy tool. " http://winmerge.org/2.4/index.php " . I strongly encourage TCH to add it to their list of freebies/addons.


Yes I found the post you created in your forum.

Edited by deanavail
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...