As a web developer, I really like things to be easy. We all do, I’m sure. This is one of the main reasons I use MODx. It just makes my life easier. It makes my work environment easier. Most of all, it makes site maintenance easy.
Like many web developers, I’m not a fan of forms. There’s nothing too complex about implementing forms. I just don’t care for it. It does not excite me.
MODx, historically, has made form implementation relatively easy. First there was eForm during the pre-Revolution days, and Evolution if you’re into that. But with the coming of Revolution, eForm was not ported over. SPform was the option when I first started using Revolution. I think I used it once before I found FormIt. FormIt was even nicer and easy to use than eForm.
I never had any problems with FormIt. It was easy to use and I like easy. It got the job done and that is all I needed. Even when I did have problems, the solution was never too far behind. Either I would figure it out, find the solution somewhere online, or get an answer from someone in the MODx community.
Well, this love-fest came to a screeching halt recently. Out of nowhere I started experiencing strange behaviors with FormIt. Let me rephrase that…. I started experiencing strange behaviors with the combination of FormIt and MODx 2.2.0.
To be honest, and to give FormIt the benefit of the doubt, I’m pretty sure there was nothing wrong with FormIt. There may have also been nothing wrong with MODx 2.2.0. All I know, is that suddenly I had issues with my forms. Odd, because I pretty much reuse the same contact form code for every site I build. I’ve never had a major issue before. But suddenly any subsequent forms on the site (mailing list, mini contact form, etc.) were all behaving as if they were the contact form. In other words, they would follow the parameter set in the contact form snippet call even though these other forms had their own unique snippet calls with unique parameters. I was stumped. I was also very short on time with two sites waiting to go live. Frustrating.
So, I did what anyone would do in this situation. I turned to Google. Google tried but just couldn’t help. There just wasn’t any other incident similar to mine, at least not one that had been brought up online in a forum somewhere. This was going nowhere and I really did not have time for going on a wild goose chase. My next step was to take it to the community. Unfortunately, this also went nowhere. I really don’t think anyone else was having the same issues as me and I simply did not have the time or experience to isolate what exactly was happening with FormIt and MODx 2.2.0.
So, I finally followed the advice of a fellow web developer who had been telling for over a year to use Tectite’s formmail. He’d been using it for years and never had issues that couldn’t be resolved. Instead of wasting more time trying to find a solution to a problem no one else seemed to have, I decided to put that time into learning Tectite’s formmail.
The funny thing is, I had avoided learning to implement formmail into my MODx sites because I thought it was going to be a pain. I had wrongly assumed that setting it up was a big ordeal with tons of configuration and file and directory creation.
All I’m going to say is that I feel a little stupid. I try to stay open-minded when it comes to web development. I understand how easy it is to get set in your ways and to stick with what you know. I also know that every time I force myself to break my patterns, I usually end up better for it. Well, that’s what happened here. Not only was Tectite easy to implement, it’s turned out to be quite versatile. I’ve been using it for about two weeks and have been very happy with it.
It just goes to show that easy is not always best. Sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone sometimes. There’s a fine line between having a process and being in a rut. What is the best way now may not be the best way tomorrow. Keep an open mind and stay on your toes!