Dolphin 8 Preview - Forms Builder

Andrew Boon posted 20th of March 2012 in News. 23 comments.

This one was tricky, but oh-so-important. We are finally ready to show the Forms Builder - the all-new way to edit and extend forms in compatible modules. As you may expect it is impossible to create modules for every specific application and Forms Builder is just the tool that lets you have some extra control over functionality without making any custom code changes. 


Forms Builder Structure

In today's video I'm taking on a sample task of extending a "Favorite Cars" form in a demo "Cars" module. The form itself has to be present in the module, but I can alter it. This applies to all system forms as well. You may be able to grasp the idea just by watching the action sequence,  but it may look so much friendlier if you read a bit about how the builder works...


Forms page shows "full forms" - complete sets of fields. It is important to understand that a form is not what you see on a particular page, but rather what is in the database. What you see, however, is a "Display".


Displays are selected sets of fields from existing forms. For example the "Favorite Cars"  form may have displays like "Add a new car" and "Edit a car". You may control which fields are visible in either of those displays. Separation of Forms and Displays allows you to tailor user experience - create shorter submit forms, create forms for moderators, limit control over editable fields, etc.


This is where it starts getting sexy (or am I spending too much time in Dolphin's company?). Fields are all those data bits that comprise a form - texts, dates, ranges, captchas, emails, you name it. The Fields page lets you add and edit fields in forms. Once added/edited, they are populated to all form displays, but have a "disabled" state - all you need is to "turn on" the fields that you want to be seen in any particular display. We've built a fancy fields selector and settings pup-ups for different types of fields. You even get to choose different WISIWIG editors in the "Text Area" field. 

Data Lists

Another cool part of the Forms Builder is the support of re-usable Data Lists. In my example I created lists like "Car Makes" and "Transmission Types". Once created, lists may be used in any forms for various types of fields - multiple selects, radio sets, checkbox sets, etc. Data Lists can set a foundation of data classification on your site.

Data Items

Data Items page lets you add and edit entries in Data Lists. Watch me changing Walksvagen to Volkswagen there. :)



Again, this is only a quick sample form - took me about 20 minutes to build it. In the end of the video we show how the form is submitted and the entry is edited via "Edit" Display. Real-life application possibilities are virtually endless and experience will keep improving. 


Now, take a look...



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hmm... osm.
looks like i need a download link...
doesnt matter alpha,beta or gamma...
just give me the link...
Nathan Paton
I don't think people realize that a lot of work goes into showing these demo videos. You aren't seeing more than one area at a time, because the rest is still broken and being overhauled. You're seeing a limited area that's been fixed or added so that it can be shown. For example, soon after their last demo video, the account system went through an overhaul which broke a bunch of stuff in the process.

There is nothing stable enough to show beyond what's being shown. (As I've said before...) see more There's nothing bad about this, it means there's a lot of working going into this release. But don't ask for an ETA or download, or even a complete demo. You won't get one, because they don't exist, and asking for them won't make it happen faster. I'm not trying to be mean, but that's the reality of software development; it's not magic, it's real work which takes time.

Disclaimer: I'm not BoonEx, etc.

Now onto the video... I'm loving the new additions and changes, especially in the builders. I can't wait to load this up on the personal demo (read above, people, it's only a demo for the areas showcased).
@Nathan A simple No would have sufficed.
I know there wont be a download link until 2013
But still i want a download link. its just that much awesome... ;)
Nathan Paton
You can download Dolphin 8 (well, what will become Dolphin 8) now and mess around with some of the stuff shown in the notes, but expect to run into a lot of problems.
is there any checklist to see how far the D8 has been cooked?

1.Menu - 6% completed
2.Studio - 30% completed
3.Modules - etc etc
Nathan Paton
If there is, I don't know about it. I also can't come up with a percentage from the demo installs. If it helps, I can say with absolute confidence that Dolphin 8 won't be released this week.
so i win, im more confident that it wont come out in 6months... however, i can wait for the perfect delivery with mother and child safe and blessed!
Nathan Paton
I don't think it'll come out in 6 months, either. I'm guessing early or mid-2013 at least, but without a full understanding of the state the code's in, I can't be confident with that estimate. But fear not, Dolphin 7 is still being maintained and these notes should keep people in the loop.
Andrew Boon
We also plan a fairly significant update to 7 in near future.
if that update is going to tranform 7 to 7.5 with atleast 25% adaption of 8's framework...
hmm... ignore me... its not gonna happen.. :)
Can I ask where we acquire this download?
Nathan Paton
From the repo:

svn co

Username: guest
Password: guest
That looks a lot simpler to use. I cant wait until it is ready to try out.

I was wondering, I saw in the video when you were making the form you at one point gave the form a block name. I was wondering if it could be possible to when a block name is given let's say for instance, you named your block "Car Form", that dolphin could automatically add to a template css file, all the attributes for a block, called something like disignbox.carform, boxFirstHeader.carform or something, see more with the name car form appended.
That way we could design that one box to look different from the other blocks.

Anywho, I think Dolphin 8 is going to be the one to have when it is done, I can't wait.
No, but there is more convinient method to apply custom block styles: each block has ID of template which is used to show it, you can create custom template and use it in one or several blocks. As the result not only custom CSS can be applied to a block but custom HTML code too.
PS: this is method for experienced designers and developers only.
It's getting better by the day :-)

Thank you BoonEx :-)
Really makes me re-think moving forward investing so much into D7. I watch these videos and with each one I realize the inevitable- D8 is what my site will be built on. Everything is laid out in a way that is so much easier to understand. I like the polished look as well.
A year ago I went forward buying I added more, I continually had a feeling of- Is it really worth it? I must move forward...but D8 will be here soon...will I get my money out of my mods I'm buying now? Will I even get see more to keep them? Maybe I shouldn't get too set on my ideas for my site....perhaps things I spend my money on now will be built-in come D8?
So many things that cause hesitation and make it more difficult to layout a decisive plan of action.
I don't like the idea of starting from scratch....but what I see in these videos say I'm willing if I must.
I don't like the idea that I'll be turning my pockets inside out to avoid losing functionality.
I wish somehow template makers and module devs were able to begin marketing expected products and display what things would look like and such.
I wish devs were able to come out and say- Buyer Be Confident - This product WILL port over to the new D8.
Never-the-less, I am optimistic and believe D8 will outclass all other social platforms.
Keep up the good work guys.
what's the name of the jazz title? - Very good one, apart from the other great work on D8
I purchase a lot of software for my companies and I must say that Dolphin (though I like the concept) can be the most aggravating of all. The incessant upgrades (which really seem like bug fixes, not improvements) is annoying. But since i purchased it and spend time watching videos of "what might someday be", I guess I'll stay in like others.
Why would anyone release a "teaser" one year before something is ready? And it's not really the teasing part but the part where the form see more builder always seems within grasp but then the news that it may be one year away is dropped?
Well done guys its looking pretty good and impressive. I shall look forward to using it when it eventually appears. One question, Will you be able to transfer your member, content data files over from Dolphin 7 to D8 or will you have to completely rebuild the site from scratch?

The only down side to the video is the background music, although I am a musician it certainly was'nt my cup of tea. I would have no music at all. Keep up the good work guys
Hello, approximate date of release of Dolphin 8?
Thank you.
I can't wait for dolphin 8. I am so excited.......:)
Can we please have an update on this? It has been more than a year since this post :)
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