With Form Tools 3 now in Beta, I thought it might be time to tease the goals for upcoming 3.x releases. I’ve had these ideas stewing around in my head for months so even though they’re not yet set in stone, I’m fairly confident that what’s described below is going to be the focus for each release.
Bear in mind these are just the primary goals. Other unrelated smaller features (and obviously bug fixes) will find their way into each version.
Form Tools 3.1: Improve upgrading, installation
The goal here is to:
– make the Form Tools download package include the Core only. The installation process will list all available components (modules, themes and the API) with a few of them pre-checked (probably the ones currently in the existing download packages). But the UI will let you pick and choose exactly what you want right during installation, and the installation script will handle downloading the appropriate components versions from github.
– this same functionality will exist within your Form Tools installation itself, so you can install new components or upgrade existing ones right from within the admin UI and not have to require downloading zips and FTP’ing files.
– Offer the option to actually remove the component files from your server after uninstalling something.
– start integrating React into the UI, and drop the old jQuery code.
– Everything will be waaaay simpler, and easier to use.
– it abrogates the need for the Custom Build and Upgrade scripts on this site, which are complex and don’t scale well. Plus I can simplify a lot of the CMS powering formtools.org to drop the need for exporting content from github for availability in the package creation, upgrade + custom build scripts. The less work I have to do there means more time spent on coding Form Tools.
Form Tools 3.2: UI/theme upgrades
The interface is old, time to upgrade it!
– make it responsive (work on phones, for instance)
– make better use of available space
– snappier look and feel
– perhaps introduce a customizable “home” screen (still thinking about this one)
– rethink various key pages in the UI to improve UX, and continue integrating React.
Form Tools 3.3: User Roles/Groups
This will be another big refactor of the application, also long overdue. Currently Form Tools relies on hardcoded “admin” and “client” roles, which have specific access to things within the UI. That’ll be changing with this release.
– Allow creation of any number of roles, each having their own set of permissions.
– Allow more flexibility in who can see and do what. This will be extensible, and include features specific to modules.
– Drop the Submission Accounts module and has it now integrated within the Core. That module was always kind of a hack workaround to allow form submitters to edit their own content, but even in Form Tools 3 it’s a bit of a frankenstein’s monster. The architecture was never really designed for it. The new user roles set up will include this out-the-box.
– Far more control in letting your set up your installation. You can create multiple groups/roles (I haven’t decided on a term yet!) in whatever fashion suits your needs and assign the appropriate roles via a single group rather than individually on each user.
– Better code! This will formalize permissions so much that when working on features for the core + modules it’ll be clearer what features constitute permission-related features and what don’t.
k, that’s about it.