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Web-Based Forms Creation, Routing, Filling

Greetings,

I've recently received a directive to research forms management software for the Intranet.  I've done some looking around & evaluating over the last few days, but the solutions I find leave me cold and/or do not meet the spec.

Requirements:
  1.  Web-based (no additional client software req'd)
  2.  Ability to create & save forms by non-IT users
  3.  Ability to complete a form online & save/route/email/etc.
  4.  Must be hosted internally.

I've scoped out building the application in-house, but the time/cost of the implementation was beyond our current reach.

I've looked into InfoPath (which I really liked), but it requires a desktop application install. 

I've always liked Acrobat, but I still think the PDF/FDF creation piece is a bit outside the ability of our users.  And again, everyone would need the full version of Acrobat to create a form (plus the server version costs > $10,000).

Any pointers, suggestions, criticisms, or product recommendations are appreciated.

-Jeff

JeffMac
Friday, April 23, 2004

"I've looked into InfoPath (which I really liked), but it requires a desktop application install. "

Yup.  Very little from MS doesn't require a client install.  You see, they think the box at your feet is all important.  Businesses are realising though that the box at your feet requires way to much maintenance and are starting to go thin client.

TickTock
Friday, April 23, 2004

You could check out eRoom from Documentum.

From what I recall the forms creation is very limited but it might be enough to suit your needs.  There's no desktop install required, but there is an IE plugin install IIRC.  I used it 3 years ago, so that might have changed.

yet another anon
Friday, April 23, 2004

That form's building thing in Outlook/Exchange is okay. I haven't used it for a few years but I remember it being quite easy to setup forms. And the client only requires Outlook which they probably already run.

Matthew Lock
Friday, April 23, 2004

"Businesses are realising though that the box at your feet requires way to much maintenance and are starting to go thin client."

Cite?

BTW, there's no such thing as a "thin client." You still need an OS and a web browser. And if you're paying to put a 1GHz+ CPU on every desk, why let all that processing power go to waste while you're pouring money into your mainframe to support all the processing of all your users?

BTW, who's driving this "thin client" thing? It wouldn't be a hardware vendor, would it? ;-)

The thinnest client I have is my tablet. Which works offline.

I'm not saying thin client doesn't have a place. I just don't get this headlong rush *back* to dumb terminals and mainframes.

Philo

Philo
Friday, April 23, 2004

"BTW, there's no such thing as a "thin client"

I guess you've never heard of Citrix or Terminal services.  Get a wyse winterm or some other thin client and load apps on the server.  Just like IBM never saw the pc coming MS fails to see this coming.

TickTock
Friday, April 23, 2004

"BTW, who's driving this "thin client" thing? It wouldn't be a hardware vendor, would it? ;-)

"BTW, who's driving this "no thin client" thing? It wouldn't be a software vendor, would it? ;-)

TickTock
Friday, April 23, 2004

Nah - remember, one of the platforms I support is SharePoint - a web-based collaboration application.

I think that thin-client applications have their place. I think client-based applications have their place.

I think trying to get client-based performance and usability out of a web application is like trying to get blood from a stone, and with PC's being so cheap, stable, and powerful, I simply think the "thin clients uber alles" mentality is yet another "hey, we've got a hammer - every problem is a nail" situation.

And I seriously do not get the reasoning behind "let's see - four dual xeon servers in the server room running around 30%, GHz+ processors on every desktop running at 2%... yep, let's buy another twelve servers and move all our applications to them."

[shrug]

Philo

Philo
Friday, April 23, 2004

In a Microsoft world you are probably right. 

TickTock
Saturday, April 24, 2004

Philo, try selling an enterprise application to a medium to large sized organisation. They love the ease of deployment of web apps, just install it on one machine and then email everyone the link to it. I have noticed that lots of Australian government tenders are even mandating that enterprise applications are web based due to the reduced support calls.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, April 24, 2004

replace "calls" with "cost"

Matthew Lock
Saturday, April 24, 2004

> And I seriously do not get the reasoning behind "let's see - four dual xeon servers in the server room running around 30%, GHz+ processors on every desktop running at 2%... yep, let's buy another twelve servers and move all our applications to them."

Isn't the data (and perhaps the network) is more important than the CPU?

1 TB data stored in server room ... and 100 desktop machines, each of which have 50 GB tribes that are 50% unused (so a total of 2.5 TB unused space on the desktop drives) ... and, now, a new application that will result in another TB of data. So, double the storage capacity of the server cluster, or distribute the data onto the various desktop drives?

Christopher Wells
Saturday, April 24, 2004

Unless you are tied to IE, Mozilla/XUL might be what you need.
There are some XUL form designer projects around but I havent tried any of them.  XUL is XML so you can deal with it on both sides.

Unfortunally it is only available with mozilla/gecko browsers.

Eric Debois
Saturday, April 24, 2004

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