Blue Flame Forms (bfForms) for Joomla 1.5.

x
Short installation tutorial
This tutorial will show you how to initially install bfForms on your Joomla enabled web site

Author: Date:

Igor Mihaljko February 2009

Table of Contents
Preface ....................................................................................................................................................................3 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................3 Quick Overview of bfForms Features .....................................................................................................................4 Form Permissions ...............................................................................................................................................4 Force SSL Only Submissions ................................................................................................................................4 Data Portability - Export Options........................................................................................................................4 Details on the built in bfForms spam controls .......................................................................................................5 Check IP Address Blacklist Databases .................................................................................................................5 Manual IP Banning ..............................................................................................................................................5 Word Blacklists ...................................................................................................................................................5 Akismet Integration ............................................................................................................................................5 Mollom Integration ............................................................................................................................................6 Our Own Transparent Spam Checks ...................................................................................................................6 Features of the form field elements .......................................................................................................................6 Real Simple Layout - Nothing to be scared of! ...................................................................................................6 Validation Rules ..................................................................................................................................................6 Input Filters.........................................................................................................................................................7 Per Field Access Controls ....................................................................................................................................7 Per Field Default Options....................................................................................................................................7 Form Submission Processing ..................................................................................................................................8 Send Unlimited Emails ........................................................................................................................................8 Save form submissions to a database ................................................................................................................8 Display any HTML (like thanks!) .........................................................................................................................9 Need Custom Integration? SugarCRM? Other DB? ............................................................................................9 btForms for Joomla 1.5.x installation .................................................................................................................. 10 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................................... 14

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

2

Preface
bfForms is a Form generator for Joomla! CMS and is available for Joomla 1.5.x only. It runs in native mode and does not rely on the legacy plugin - It has been designed to meet all your form needs and provide a whole load more than just forms! (Submissions Management, Uploaded File Manager, Export Options).

Introduction
Creating forms on websites is hard, real hard - so we have taken the burden for you and created a VERY EASY TO USE form builder for Joomla 1.5 that anyone can use.

Build on 4 years of experience developing form creators (Phil-A-Form) for CMS's such as Mambo and Joomla bfForms has been written from scratch and provides many powerful integrated features such as Spam Controls, Validation Rules, Filters, Custom elements, Export Options and much more.

The extension hosts a huge number of great features. Let us just highlight some of them: Specifically designed for Joomla 1.5.x Allows you to create unlimited forms, with unlimited fields and actions All forms are xHTML and CSS2 valid Joomla Forms is written by a very experienced Joomla/PHP Developer who has been awarded the Zend PHP 5 Certified Engineer award! Once purchased, you get free upgrades for life - with a smooth upgrade path at all times. All forms can be enabled/disabled with a single click Speedy configuration of forms using a 100% xAJAX admin interface SECURE FORMS - you can force forms to only show on SSL Secure pages Quick Start Guide To Creating Great Forms included Complete Control Over Form Page Titles Set a maximum number of submissions allowed on a per form or per user basis Complete control over the text on the submit, preview, reset buttons Form Preview mode, before submitting the form! Complete form layout control using Smarty Templates and simple placeholders Built-in, Transparent, spam controls - NO CAPTCHA AT ALL !!! (We do not believe in CAPTCHA) 3rd party Spam Plugins (Akisment and Mollom) IP Banning Blacklist Word Banning Spam Idiot Checks! Feature to allow you to add custom JavaScript and Custom CSS to the page Over 30 different, standard and custom, field types to choose from Multiple form actions to apply to submitted data Form Fields are 100% CONFIGUABLE Over 24 different validation rules can be applied to each individual field Or create your own with Regex! Author: E-mail: Date: Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

3

7 Different filters can be applied to change the submitted value You can specify a default value for each field - or allow it to be overridden by a string in the URL Fields can be set as disabled You have complete control over the class and style of each individual form element Each field has its own access level and can be enabled for only Public, Registered or special users On a per field basis you can restrict the allowing of the value to be sent by email or not. All submissions can be saved to a built in database - or not! depending on your wishes All submissions can be emailed to unlimited people - including the submitter You can configure unlimited types of emails, each having their own content You can set files that will always be attached to the emails sent (Like distributing terms.pdf) You can allow uploaded files to be attached to the emails You can encrypt any of these emails using GPG Encryption just by providing the public key You can use any submitted value in the subject or body of any email with the use of simple placeholders

Quick Overview of bfForms Features
Form Permissions
Joomla Forms allows you fine control over the form, and the permissions required to view and submit entries. You can specify which Joomla Groups can view the form, how many submissions each user can submit a single form, and how many submissions a form will allow in total. All these options can be set up really easy in the Form Permissions screen

Force SSL Only Submissions
For maximum security you can specify that a form can ONLY be viewed over a SSL (https://) connection. This will encrypt the submission and allow you to accept secure information from your site visitors. Depending on your SSL security certificate, this is strong enough to accept credit card numbers and complies with PCI DSS Standards

Data Portability - Export Options
The ability to digest form data in 3rd party applications is a must nowadays. Most companies have their own databases or spreadsheet for tracking form submissions and so Joomla Forms makes it really easy to extract the submitted data into CSV and XML formats.

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

4

Details on the built in bfForms spam controls
Check IP Address Blacklist Databases
Joomla Forms has integrated real time black list database checking of the submitters IP Address against the "bl.spamcop.net", "list.dsbl.org", "sbl.spamhaus.org" servers - this cuts out the majority of well known spammers This option can be enabled / disabled and does not require any additional subscription

Manual IP Banning
In addition to the IP databases, you can also specify manually IP Addresses to block. These users will not be able to submit forms on your site through Joomla Forms

Word Blacklists
The ability to reject submissions that contain admin configurable words is also a great feature. Add in as many words as you like (drugs | sex | rock | roll) for example and then all form submissions that contain those words will be rejected

Akismet Integration
Akismet is a 3rd party service that provides spam checking of form and comment posts. Akisment is probably the leader in their field at the moment, and you will need a valid wordpress key to use this service. We have fully integrated the Akismet API and all you need to do is provide Joomla Forms with your API Key

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

5

Mollom Integration
Just like Akismet, Mollom is a 3rd party service that provides spam and quality checking of form and comment posts. Mollom is in beta at the moment but we have integrated part of their API and you can activate this 3rd Party service easily within Joomla Forms, then Mollom will check form submissions for spamminess and quality.

Our Own Transparent Spam Checks
Joomla Forms also contains hidden fields, and other spam controls. We are not going to shout about them here, but there over 5 other "things" we do to ensure that spam form submissions are kept to a minimum without any disturbance to the valid and real submitters.

Features of the form field elements
Real Simple Layout - Nothing to be scared of!
The main edit field screens are tabulated into groups of options which allow you to concentrate on the configuration. With the number of options you have complete granular control over the form field, what it looks like, who can access it, what values it will accept and other great options...

Validation Rules
Each form element has a huge number of options you can toggle to apply validation rules to the submitted value. The validation rules are triggered on form submit and do not use complex JavaScript (unlike the first Phil-a-form extension) and cannot be overcome by spoof form submissions! These 24 validation rules include: Required

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

6

Joomla Specific Fields UK postcode, NI Number, VAT Number, Phone Number USA SSN, Zip Code Email Address, Web Address Valid Credit card number And Many Many more validation type, including regex, integer, inarray!!!

Input Filters
In order to ensure complete security, and to validate the input provided in the form, Joomla Forms provides several filters that can be applied to the submitted values. These are configurable on each form field and include such features as: Make input all uppercase Make input all lowercase Strip HTML Tags from input trim the input of whitespace Filter all chars that are not digits Filter all chars that are not Alpha numeric chars Filter input to A-Z chars only

Per Field Access Controls
Each form field is configurable to have its own access control. This means you can use the same form for logged in members and non-logged in visitors and more form fields will show when logged in. These access permissions also allow you to prevent submitted values being transmitted by plain text emails (useful for sensitive information like credit card numbers!), the value can still be used by other processors like the "save to database" action

Per Field Default Options
To make life really simple we always preconfigured the form fields to most sensible defaults. You can still override these and do magic such as pre fill the field with a default value, allow the value to be set in the URL, set the field as disabled or trigger some JavaScript after completion of the field - we make it simple, yet give you the ability to make it very powerful - on a per field basis!

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

7

Form Submission Processing
bfForms has built in submission post processing, with simple actions such as emailing and saving to database right through to advanced processing like adding to a ListMessenger mailing list, posting to another URL/API or running custom PHP code! But dont be afraid - all this can be done through the simple interface with no PHP Knowledge at all - ok, apart from the Custom PHP Processor which needs PHP knowledgebase obviously - apart form that ALL the processing plugins can be configured with no programming experience at all!

Send Unlimited Emails
Joomla Forms allows you to send unlimited emails on a form submission. The emails are fully customisable, you can: Specify the senders details Specify unlimited recipients Allow uploaded files to be sent as attachments Add additional files from your server as attachments Encrypt the email using GPG Encryption Customise fully the layout of the email Send in plain text, HTML formats - or both! Send by different mail servers, PHP Mail, SMTP Use submitted data in the email with the use of template placeholders o And you can do this as many times as you need to o each email has its own configuration/layout/options All these options can be set up really easy in the Email Action Screen

Save form submissions to a database
Joomla Forms automatically creates a database based on your form fields and populates this with submitted data (If the action is enabled - can be disabled so that nothing is stored on the server for security) This database table is a standard MySQL table and can be manipulated using any tool, or by using the build in submission manager in Joomla Forms Admin Console

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

8

Display any HTML (like thanks!)
Once the form has been submitted, you might want to give further instructions - or say a thank you - you can do this with the HTML Action that allows you to specify any HTML to display once the form has passed validation and has been processed.

Need Custom Integration? SugarCRM? Other DB?
Because Joomla Forms is modular, if you need your form submission data to be pushed into another system, using SOAP, REST, Other API or direct database push then please contact us, depending on the time required to integrate your solution we will make a small charge to cover our time - and we will integrate with anything that is possible! If you require a special form action then please contact us

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

9

btForms for Joomla 1.5.x installation
Now that we said a few words about btForms it is a time to install this extension to your Joomla enabled web site. btForms has slightly different installation procedure than regular Joomla extension so basically this is why this tutorial is actually needed. Let’s begin! Click “Extensions” -> “Install/Uninstall” from Joomla main menu in Joomla backend

Picture 1: Install new extension

Click the “Browse” button and choose the Joomla Forms For Joomla 1.5.x archive on disk to install.

Picture 2: Click the “Upload File & Install” button

Click on the “Upload File & Install” button to install Joomla Forms For Joomla 1.5.x. After few moments (this depends on your network and internet speed) the screen with message that installation was successful should appear.

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

10

Picture 3: Install Component Successful message

For any other regular Joomla extension this would conclude extension installation and you could start using it immediately. The btForms extension requires few steps more to be done before you could use it. Here are those steps described.

Click “Components” -> “.Install Joomla Forms” menu item. This will start procedure that will finish installation of btForms extension.

Picture 4: Start module configuration screen

New page will load with the message that there are some additional plugins that needs to be installed before you can use Joomla Forms. The first required plugin is btFramework. Just continue installation by clicking on “Install the btFramework” link

Picture 5: Install the btFramework plugin link

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

11

When the btFramework plugin is successfully installed you will receive the following message

Picture 6: Successful installation of btFramework plugin

Click on “Click here to continue” link. Joomla Forms installation procedure will continue and few moments later new message will appear. This message will inform you that another plugin is required to be installed before Joomla forms installation can be finished. Just continue installation by clicking on “Install the xAjax Plugin (Required)” link

Picture 7: Install the xAjax plugin link When the xAjax plugin is successfully installed you will receive the following message

Picture 8: Successful installation of xAjax plugin

Click on “Click here to continue” link. Joomla Forms installation procedure will continue and again, few moments later new page will appear with new message on the top. This message will inform you if you have the latest version of btForms or not. You can dismiss this message by clicking on “Dismiss” button.

Picture 9: Successful installation of btForms Author: E-mail: Date: Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

12

Now, for this tutorial there are just two things to do yet. The first one is to show how to return to normal Joomla backend interface. You can do that by clicking on “Exit to Joomla” link which can be found in top left side of the Joomla Forms page interface.

Picture 10: Exit to Joomla backend interface

You can access again Joomla Forms interface by clicking on “Components” -> “Joomla Forms for Joomla 1.5.x” link

Picture 11: Exit to Joomla backend interface

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

13

Conclusion
This concludes my tutorial about installation of Joomla Forms for Joomla 1.5.x extension. I hope that this tutorial will be useful to some of you. If you have any questions regarding this extension, please, check our FAQ section or contact us by using Contact link on our web site.

Author is working for Blue Flame IT company as freelancer in charge of writing extension documentation. You can reach him through contact form on his web site http://www.mihha-vision.com or by writing him to email mihha@inet.hr.

Author: E-mail: Date:

Igor Mihaljko Igor.mihaljko@inet.hr February 2009

14

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful