Movable Type users have had access to plug-ins for building contact forms for some time now. Until recently however, MT users had to create hacks in an entry/comment based system for the handling of requests and inquiries. There was nothing addressing a workflow for easy contact management. Until now.
Once considered part of the DNA of Six Apart, Byrne Reese has moved on to bigger and better things. But he hasn't left Movable Type behind. Quite the contrary. Instead, he has spent his time working on something he never had time to do while working on the popular blogging software - develop a contact forms plug-in.
In partnership with iThemes, Byrne Reese has released a contact form plug-in for Movable Type called, simply enough -- Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type. In its initial free and public beta release, Reese’s plug-in offers a list of features that do more than just facilitate the building of contact forms easily.
Features of Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type
Even if you have a developer who can quickly build forms for a site and deploy them easily, many form solutions lack certain control and management capabilities that can be essential in the web world we live in today.
Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type
The Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type includes the following features:
- Multiple Forms - Deploy multiple contact forms to a web site.
- Easy Custom Fields - Add custom fields to your contact forms.
- Manage from within MT - View and respond to inquiries directly from within Movable Type.
- Easily Embed Forms - Add contact forms in posts, pages or templates.
- Custom HTML Options - Designers can specify their own form HTML along with their themes. By specifying in their themes the hooks and information necessary they can create forms to fit their design and layouts.
- Custom Fields - Developers can define their own custom fields via YAML. They will have the ability to extend the standard set of form fields to fit their needs.
- MT Pro Users – Users of MT Pro will be able to denote “Contact Form” custom fields on pages and in posts.
Additionally, storage and tracking of forms and data can be a headache. The Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type stores all forms in a database and tracks them for you so that you can ensure every contact is responded to accordingly and that all stored information is searchable.
Here's a quick four minute demonstration of the plugin:
Contact Forms Plugin for Movable Type from Byrne Reese on Vimeo
What Has Been Left Out of The Initial Beta Version
This is a beta release, so there are some bugs. More importantly though, some features have been purposely not included in the initial 1.0 version, including the ability to track replies to inquiries, the ability to easily select subscribers to contact forms, a replies feed and the ability to tag inquiries.
Not the First, Maybe the Best?
As previously stated, this is not the first contact form plug-in for Movable Type. Other options include EntryPost, which is designed to allow visitors to submit entries via a form but with some hacks can also be used to create contact forms. It does not support a managed workflow of inquiries, replies and autoreplies.
Since this release is a public beta, there are always opportunities to suggest new features, point out bugs and provide useful user information. One possible new feature to be added is SFDC integration.
Direct integration with Salesforce.com would be a powerful feature added to an already powerful form management tool. But as of yet, there is no eta for it. According to Reese, "As for an ETA - it really is about requirements regarding what people want to synchronize. In my mind it is contacts and leads. At least for version 1.0."
If you have ideas for synchronization and integration into SFDC,Reese would like to know. Salesforce integration would provide a full public release of the contact forms plug-in that includes enhanced value beyond the basic form building and managing capabilities.