Work on JForms 1.7 had been well underway for a while when I hit a brick wall in terms of development targets. I always wanted JForms to just be a module, lightweight & simple, without the unnecessary bloat that most Joomla! forms extensions seem to have, however one of the planned features of JForms 1.7, a drag & drop form builder, caused me to rethink my approach.
Of course I could just create a form builder application as a new field type and continue as planned but it’s not until I actually started that I realised something; being a module I couldn’t rely on the Joomla! API for many tasks where I could have done if it was a component and on top of that it made the creation & management of forms more difficult when for example wanting to use the same form in multiple modules.
In short, adding a drag & drop form builder whilst keeping JForms a module would compromise the whole reason it was a module in the first place, resulting in unnecessary code-bloat and a loss of simplicity.
So what now?
I was left with 2 options, the first was the creation of a component, the second was abandoning the drag & drop form builder (which in my opinion is a vital feature for entry-level users). Option one made perfect sense but at the same time I didn’t want to force advanced users to install a much bigger extension when they would have been perfectly happy to continue creating forms in XML.
Since both options have pros & cons and I couldn’t decide on either I did the only logical thing: both!
Splitting into JForms 2.0 & JForms Express
JForms 2.0 is going to be the JForms component with said form builder capabilities and rather than shelve the JForms module I am going to continue development on it under the name JForms Express.
All current & future JForms plugins will still work on both versions, the only difference for now being that JForms 2.0 will have a simple form builder & manager in the back-end whilst JForms Express will continue to rely on XML files to generate the forms.
The exact release date for JForms 2.0 still isn’t clear as it’s only just gone into development this week but I’m aiming at completing it for the new year.
It will be released for free under GNU GPL 2.Posted in Announcements