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Manual for MagicForm 1

Since 1998.
Current version: 3.
Price: US$ 69

Universal form processor

  • Create as many forms as you want.
  • Output to databases and e-mail.
  • Includes an easy HTML uploader: Visitors can upload files by just using their browser. Bookkeepers can upload data to their accountant, artists can upload pictures, etc.
  • Response mails are individually configurable for each form with a plain text editor
  • Mails to form administrator are individually configurable for each form with a plain text editor. That mail can be for example the warehouse pick-list for an order and set up so that the warehouse can use it as a pre-written shipping confirmation mail by just hitting REPLY
  • Response mails can be used as intelligent auto-responders that embed data from the the form and prepared info from the server.
  • Different "Thank-You" pages can be made for each form with a regular HTML editor.
  • Downloadable data file on the server does not have to carry all fields from the form. You can choose to have some fields only used in the mail to the admin.
  • Data file column order can be changed with a plain text editor
  • Data file uses pipe delimited fields so that stray commas or quotes do not offset data columns
  • Data file can be imported into Excel or databases or edited with plain text editors.


If you are in business, you NEED forms. With MagicForm you can set up all the forms you need. It is rock solid.
Version 1 is for manual set-up.
If you provide forms for your clients sites, then get Version 7.1 with automatic set-up and fancy admin console.

Dear Webby

 

Manual for MagicForm 1

The MagicForm is the most versatile form manager
with the easiest to configure output.

The parts of a form are:

magicform.cgi
That is the form engine. Don't touch that one.
Then you have the files that you do work with:

Name of file * File Permission File Location
sample.txt
This is the config or set-up file where you tell the form which components to use
666 in  /magicform/formconf
sample.html
That is the user input form
644 anywhere
sample.dat
Data file in which the submitted data is stored
666 in  /magicform/data
sample.kb
Data file column set-up list. Here you tell it which fields to store and in which order.
666 in  /magicform/data
sample_mail_to_admin.txt
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to you whenever a user fills out the form
644 in /magicform/mail
sample_mail_to_user.txt
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to the user whenever she or he fills out the form
644 in  /magicform/mail
sample_thankyou.html
Regular HTML page that thanks the user for filling out a form
644 in  /magicform/html

How it works:

You can have as many sets of forms as you want. They can have totally separate components, or they can share some components. For example the Thank-You page could be shared by many of your forms.

In each form you have a line that starts with
<FORM ACTION...
The line after that looks similar to this:
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="sample"> The value in that hidden field, "sample" in this case, determines WHICH config file is looked up to see which components the form uses.

 
Examples:
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="sample">
The form will use the components that are listed in /magicform/formconf/sample.txt
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="survey">
The form will use the components that are listed in /magicform/formconf/survey.txt
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="xmas-order">
The form will use the components that are listed in /magicform/formconf/xmas-order.txt

The config text file is VERY important. Please read the above part until you completely understand what it does. Without that understanding the forms will appear to be a complicated mystery. Once you understand what it does, everything begins to make sense and will go easy.


That config file is a simple, plain text file, in this case called "sample.txt". In there you see for example:

MAIL_USER|sample_mail_to_user.txt
MAIL_ADMIN|sample_mail_to_admin.txt
DATAFILE|sample
THANK_PAGE|thankyou.html

It tells the form manager that whenever the "sample" form is filled out, it should use "sample_mail_to_user.txt" as the template for the receipt that is sent to the form submitter.

MAIL_ADMIN shows which template is used to send a mail to the admin (you).

DATAFILE shows the name of the on-line data file and also the name of the .kb file in which you specify the order in which the data fields are stored in the data file.

By now you can probably guess what the last line is about.

 

File Permissions:
Just like all web programs, forms and their components require to have certain file attributes or file permissions and are expected to be in certain locations. In this list you see the file names, the file attribute numbers, and the location.


Name of file File Permission File Location
sample.txt
This is the config or set-up file where you tell the form which components to use
666 in  /magicform/formconf
sample.html
That is the user input form
644 anywhere
sample.dat
Data file in which the submitted data is stored
666 in  /magicform/data
sample.kb
Data file column set-up list. Here you tell it which fields to store and in which order.
666 in  /magicform/data
sample_mail_to_admin.txt
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to you whenever a user fills out the form
644 in /magicform/mail
sample_mail_to_user.txt
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to the user whenever she or he fills out the form
644 in  /magicform/mail
sample_thankyou.html
Regular HTML page that thanks the user for filling out a form
644 in  /magicform/html

 

The number behind each of the files tells you what it's file attributes have to be. Numeric file attributes are:
4 write enabled
2 read enabled
1 execute enabled

5 would mean read enabled and execute enabled.
6
would mean write + read
7means write + read + execute

The first number in     654 is for OWNER (you, program)
The second number in 654 is for GROUP (program)
And the third number in 654 is for WORLD (visitors)

You can change the file attributes with FTP or Telnet or Secure Shell.

What does each component do?

sample.html 644
This is a form page, the page that is filled out by the form submitter or visitor.
You can copy it and save it under a new name and add more fields and change what you want.

sample.kb 666
This file specifies which of the fields from the form are saved in the on-line data file, and in which order. The data file can be downloaded and imported into Excel. Consider each of the field names the header of a column, and the values of that field in the column below that header. For example you have in the kb file:
name|email|date|quant

The Excel spreadsheet file would then look like this:

name email date quant
Joe joe@aol.com 2000/01/28 14:21 12
Jim jim@aol.com 2000/01/28 14:45 7
Jane jane@aol.com 2000/01/28 15:12 9
Bill bill@hotmail.com 2000/01/28/16:01 1

You don't have to store all the fields that you ask for in the on-line data file. For example credit card numbers are sometimes not stored on the server.

sample_mail_to_user.txt    666        edit with plain Text Editor
This file is a plain text template of the receipt that the form sends to the submitter. If you write in that template: Dear <!--@name--> then it will fill in the value that was submitted with the "name" field. Just imagine what kind of smart auto-responders you can make with that ! Send them a letter that has their name and other info from the form sprinkled into it throughout the text.

sample_mail_to_admin.txt 666     edit with plain text Editor
This file is a plain text template for the report letter that you get whenever a form is filled out. You can make that letter look like the "Payment OK" letter that you will send them after processing their credit card payment. That way all you have to do is blank out the credit card numbers, and reply the letter to them. You can put into the FROM field in the template, that way when you hit CTRL R in your email program, it will reply straight to the form submitter.

sample_thank_you.html   666        edit with plain Text Editor

This is the web page that is shown to the form submitter after filling out and submitting the form.

sample_error.html 666    edit with HTML editor
This is the error page shown to the form submitter if they forget a required field. The email field is ALWAYS required, any other field can be made a required field by adding _req to the end of the field name. Make sure you also add that to the field name in the kb file!

sample.txt   666        edit with plain Text Editor

In the form page, for example sample.html, you see these lines:

<FORM ACTION="magicform.cgi" METHOD="Post">
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="sample">


The hidden config field tells the form to look for "sample.txt" in the formconf directory. inside that sample.txt you see:

MAIL_USER|sample_mail_to_user.txt
MAIL_ADMIN|sample_mail_to_admin.txt
DATAFILE|sample
THANK_PAGE|thankyou.html

It simply tells the form which components to use whenever the config is "sample" You can make similar config files for each different form. Some of the form components are usable by all forms, for example the last line, thankyou.html can probably be used for all your forms. Some similar forms might also share the mail_to_admin.txt, but have totally different mail_to_user templates. You simply specify here which files a specific form will use.

An example would be the birthday form, wich has this command pair in the form:
<FORM ACTION="magicform.cgi" METHOD="Post">
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" name="config" value="birthday"
>

birthday.txt could look like this:
MAIL_USER|birthday_mail_to_user.txt
MAIL_ADMIN|birthday_mail_to_admin.txt
DATAFILE|birthday THANK_PAGE|thankyou.html


sample.dat
This file is generated by the form and is the data file. If you delete it, the form will generate a new one.
You can download the data file and import it into EXCEL. When EXCEL asks you what to use for "Record Delimiter" use |


If your form does not work or gives you an error, all you have to do is
1) panic, pull your hair out, yell and scream,
2) upload all the files that you listed in the config text file
3) correct the file attributes of the files you uploaded.

(Step 1 is optional and may be skipped)

Here is a summary list of the files with the file attributes. You may want to print this part and keep it handy. For different sets of forms, substitute "ssample" with the name of the new form. You CAN share some of the components and use them for more than one form set. The components that can be shared and also used by other forms at the same time are marked with *


Name of file File Permission File Location
sample.txt
This is the config or set-up file where you tell the form which components to use
666 in  /magicform/formconf
sample.html  *
That is the user input form
644 anywhere
sample.dat   *
Data file in which the submitted data is stored
666 in  /magicform/data
sample.kb   *
Data file column set-up list. Here you tell it which fields to store and in which order.
666 in  /magicform/data
sample_mail_to_admin.txt   *
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to you whenever a user fills out the form
644 in /magicform/mail
sample_mail_to_user.txt   *
Plain text template for the mail that is sent to the user whenever she or he fills out the form
644 in  /magicform/mail
sample_thankyou.html   *
Regular HTML page that thanks the user for filling out a form
644 in  /magicform/html
  *.dat and *.kb are a pair. If you re-use one of them for a second entry form, you also have to use the other one.

Have FUN!