The Form Editor in aMember 4 is RUBBISH

Discussion in 'aMember Pro v.4' started by benfitts, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. benfitts

    benfitts aMember Pro Customer

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    Dear Alex & CGI Central,

    Please get rid of the form editor in aMember 4 or at least make it functional.

    It doesn't work right (we reported two bugs today) and there are lots of missing features.

    Your best customers who have used aMember for awhile have sophisticated membership sites. Many of them have highly customized signup forms.

    The new aMember4 signup forms are written for novices. They are designed for people who don't want to change the forms much.

    I need to be able to have control over everything in the form layout. Sometimes I might need to lay it out 4 columns wide, not 2. Sometimes if I add a field I need it to be a part of a brick, not separate.

    For example:
    If I add company name, I want to be able to make it part of the address brick. I don't want to make it a separate section entirely!

    If I add address line 2 (or street line 2) I want it to be a part of the address brick and I want it to show after the street line. I don't want to make it a separate section entirely!


    Another example... Your use of labels in the product description forces the products to be laid out all funny. We may want to line up the products all on one line and not force line breaks. We may want to get rid of the label but also move the products over instead of having a big empty space to the left where your labels were. We might want to make our products 2 or 3 or 4 columns wide instead of 1 column wide. We have even had clients that want to specify the terms differently on the signup form than the upgrade form.

    I could go on and on.

    Every time we get a new consulting client I dread the part where they ask us to customize their aMember4 signup forms because the signup forms in aMember4 are SO BAD.

    We have found a solution to fix some of these things but it is very complex and when we have clients that have multiple signup forms it just means a lot of extra work.

    The way you did signup forms in aMember3 was easier.

    Please keep in mind the signup form is one of the most important aspects of our business. A well designed signup form can help a client make more sales... or cost them a lot of money by losing sales.
  2. alex

    alex Administrator Staff Member

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    I do not agree it is rubish, it works just fine.
    However, I understand you needs, to to next release we will develop a way, and write a guide to develop fully customized forms.
  3. benfitts

    benfitts aMember Pro Customer

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    Alex of course you think it works fine.

    You wrote it.

    You obviously didn't get feedback from the aMember community though. If you had you would have realized the form editor is very limited. Look at your existing clients. You've seen MANY more of the high end amember sites than I have. I find that maybe as many as 30% of our clients have much more sophisticated forms than can be developed through the form editor. For us to fix the problems in the form editor we have to do some things for clients that are probably not good coding practice but it's the only way to fix the deficiencies in the form editor.

    and the redirects that's another one coming up. People don't want their signup page urls to be:
    amember/signup/index/c/9lYf8djsW

    What is your point in /index/c/

    That's just silly. People want to define short urls. I understand "9lYf8djsW" is your way of defining a unique form and I could change that to "f2" or whatever if I want... but I really want to be able to make shorter signup urls. Since you have .htaccess redirects in amember 4 already why not allow us to make unique and short signup urls?

    Why don't you start a SUGGESTIONS thread for real features we, the amember user community, would like to see in the form editor?
  4. davidm1

    davidm1 aMember User & Partner

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    Hey Ben,

    Why not design your own form and submit to the amember system? I have aweber auto submit to amember after a double opt-in. No reason you cant build a custom page and submit it.
    I know its not as simple to do this as a built in GUI, but if you want simple, then its gonna be for basic users IMHO.

    I'm sure the basic design will also get more complex (ability to drag the form fields into a custom form page) as 4.x evolves. (right alex?)

    David
  5. alex

    alex Administrator Staff Member

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    Ben, sorry, but that is not true. We get feedbacks everyday via our helpdesk, and it is most honest feedbacks, when peoples do not understand how to make this and that, they just ask us. And know what? We gettings almost zero questions about signup forms.
    With aMember v3, we each day had to customize 3-5 signup forms - just add field there and there, and change wording, and change order of fields. Average user was simply unable to do that, so we had to do it for them! Now this problem is gone.

    I understand needs of premium websites, and we will develop a way to make completely custom signup forms. I will try it yourself, and document it.

    I am also open for suggestions about visual form editor - just put it here.

    Our main suggestions thread is located at http://bt.amember.com/ - we simply have no hands to implement all at once, but we do it step by step with each release.
  6. spicyniknaks

    spicyniknaks New Member

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    I think Ben has a valid point, but I tend to agree with Alex as the system he has implemented probably meets the requirements of the majority of users - and it definitely isn't rubbish from a usability or a coding perspective. I can see from looking at the code that a lot of work has gone into that form system.

    Here's a suggestion for the Power Users who require a far more granular level of control over the form process.

    I have seen work well many times in some other software forums.

    1) Start a thread and see how many people will commit to putting some real money towards a solution for the Power Users.
    2) Create a list of requirements.
    3) Once you have the requirements get a developer to give a price for writing a plugin or modifying aMember to meet those requirements.
    4) Divide the price between the Power Users.
    All those who contribute get the code, those who don't have to pay the same as everyone else did to get a copy of the code.
    shotoshi likes this.
  7. ak48avk

    ak48avk Angela Kane

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    Isn't this forum for constructive sharing of useful information?

    I just wanted to say without wishing to start an argument that I have a great deal of sympathy and respect for the aMember team.

    I worked for many years in the computer industry. My history is programming in machine code on a 4K!! Yes, 4K - DeLa Rue Bull (it was old then, punch cards, plug board etc) in the late 60's which processed a 1/4million rental accounting system. Then English Electric then IBM mainframes, using Assembler, Cobol, RPG and the rest. I was a programmer/analyst with a Software House for many years. Then I worked as a contract systems analyst for companies such as Shell, Chase Manhattan Bank, Babcock & Wilcox Engineering, Phillips Industries.

    Then mostly out of it for a 30 year family break. Now I am starting up a business and I really don't want to know about code. I concentrate on my product and my members and aMember does the behind the scenes stuff.

    I'm a low-power user I know (Novice user according to Ben). I have a simple set up and small demands for customisation. Perhaps this is aMember's core business model - satisfying the need for many businesses out there who need the technology but have no in-house facility to develop their own systems. Why should we have the lowest priority when our demands are straight forward?

    The forms, a case in point, work brilliantly for me. I am finding new ways to utilise what is available. I have now added some questionnaire bricks on signup - 'what search engine did you use?' 'what did you search for' etc - all of which can be exported to a spread sheet and analysed. All the bricks have good customisation and are well thought out.

    Despite my history, I'm not an expert in anyway now but I do appreciate and have experienced what it is like to develop such systems.

    So many want the ability for total customisation and perhaps the aMember team are trying too hard to satisfy everyone. Perhaps those with high demands for customisation and successful businesses should be funding their own development.

    I myself would certainly pay more for this service but while it's developing I think aMember are right to keep the price reasonable. I'm doing that myself in my early stages of my modest project. Once everything is perfect and working I imagine aMember will greatly increase the price for new member entry.

    I'm just giving a bit of support where it is due. It's demoralising when your work is described as rubbish! IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

    ps Yes, I like Spicyniknaks ideas above.
    shotoshi and davidm1 like this.
  8. shotoshi

    shotoshi Member

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    First of all, I really like Spicyniknaks' idea, though in our instance our needs are quite specific and I'm not adverse to paying good money get what we need for our site.

    I'm not a AM customer yet but that will change in the coming weeks as we move our site to a new server and begin work on our project.

    I have no experience of using the form editor other than via the demo so I can't comment either way on Ben's issues but is it really Rubbish? Or, RUBBISH, rather?

    It seems OK to me, given the price point of AM.

    The biggest challenge lies not in the programming and coding of ideas but in the UI & UX, as we're finding out in our project. Our ideas are very simple and straightforward in their requirements, but making them user-friendly is an entirely different ball of wax!

    I suspect the form editor, like most things in the world of software, will improve over time but I would like to see a clearer channel on AM for people to submit custom projects.

    Here's what they have over at PHPLD:

    http://www.phplinkdirectory.com/Frequently_Asked_Questions_about_the_Jobs_Area.php

    In your account area you can post details about your custom project when logged in, and get a quote.

    Maybe Alex should consider this for AM, and streamline the process for custom work.
  9. presscoders

    presscoders New Member

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    David, is this a new feature for aMember 4? We are looking to use Gravity Forms (WordPress Plugin) to handle the user registration. Would we be able to simply submit a Gravity Forms form to aMember?
  10. davidm1

    davidm1 aMember User & Partner

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    Not sure- can you edit the html of the form so that the form fields match the amember form fields? Otherwise you would need to make a converter script (this is how i put aweber forms in front of amember).

    David
  11. umitbatu

    umitbatu aMember Pro Customer

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    I have been customizing aMember to my own needs for months and asked them many questions and each was replied within the next businessday or two. Moreover I asked them for the integration of a mobile payment system and no problem with that too, they just did it.

    For any kind of customization my advice is ask aMember team how to do it and they will solve your problem. aMember is a great system.
  12. presscoders

    presscoders New Member

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    Thanks for your reply, I will check it out.
  13. Sergei

    Sergei aMember Pro Customer

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    I agree with Alex and actually don't see what the problem is (benfitts) if you are what you call an advanced user. An advanced user with proper coding knowledge (PHP and CSS) should know how to resolve this. We've been using aMember for a decade now almost and I must say its second to none. No need from our side to let the aMember team deviate from their current course.
  14. benfitts

    benfitts aMember Pro Customer

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    LOL We rock at amember. If you saw the stuff we're doing you'd know this.

    But clients don't want to hear it's going to take X hours of custom coding when they see amember has a form editor built in. They think everything can be done using the form editor. They don't realize the form editor is only for the most basic forms and how much extra effort goes into making this stuff work right.
  15. Sergei

    Sergei aMember Pro Customer

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    Sounds like a personal problem if you ask me. If you rock at aMember then you don't need X hours of custom coding everytime. aMember has an API and uses PHP-syntax based templates, so I don't see what the problem is when you need to do custom coding. The form editor is a perfect tool to attend the general public, if people want customizations then they need to hire someone to do this for them and pay for it. That is, and remains the whole concept of CMS's, scripts that work with modules etc.
  16. benfitts

    benfitts aMember Pro Customer

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    Sergei - you obviously haven't seen any clients that have 20 to 30 custom signup forms then.
  17. alex

    alex Administrator Staff Member

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    Sergei likes this.
  18. Sergei

    Sergei aMember Pro Customer

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  19. benfitts

    benfitts aMember Pro Customer

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    Hey Alex,

    Thanks for adding this. We'll give it a try as soon as we get a chance.

    You may want to add the tip that the custom signup forms need to start with "signup" or else the form editor doesn't see them. They need to be like "signup-xxxx.phtml" where xxxx is my identifier to know which form is which. I don't remember seeing that in the docs anywhere. I know it threw us for a loop when we tried to do xxxx-signup.phtml as the form editor was looking for filenames that started with "signup".
  20. alex

    alex Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for suggestion, done!

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