Google Forms v0.73-beta-2 available

This evening I released beta-2 of Google Forms v0.73. This beta build addresses a problem recently reported on the WordPress Support Forum.

This problem appears to be due to a change in the HTML Google generates for the “Other” field.  The change in the HTML resulted in the jQuery selector no longer working.  A new selector has been implemented in beta-2.

Google Forms Beta (424 downloads)

Working with Rails

Last fall I had written a post where I noted that I had a problem to solve at work which I thought might be well suited for Ruby on Rails.  Like a lot of side projects, this one never went anywhere but I did end up playing around with RoR enough to get an idea of how it works and how quickly things can be developed with it.

I do some volunteer work with our High School Booster Club and last year built them a WordPress based site which is largely used to facilitate the purchase of memberships.  While it seems like overkill, the plan is to use the web site to host more content relevant to the various athletic teams.

A couple months ago I was approached about how the Booster Club’s mobile app could be improved or replaced as the currently technology is being withdrawn and no longer supported.  I learned that the back end for the mobile app was extremely cumbersome to use and was a source of frustration for the people who maintain rosters, schedules, results, etc.

I am now working on a replacement for the Mobile App and the backend infrastructure.  Because we already have a WordPress site, I had considered using the WordPress site to host all of the data and leverage the WordPress JSON REST API plugin to serve content up to a Mobile App.  But I had some reservations.

jQueryMobileBookI’ve never done Mobile App development and in the interest of time, am not sure I want to take that on right now.  Based on my jQuery experience with WordPress, I thought a jQueryMobile web app might be a reasonable compromise.  I picked up a copy of jQuery Mobile Up and Running a while back when I had heard it referenced on a Podcast.  At the time I didn’t have an immediate application for it but it was interesting reading.  I dusted it off and realized jQuery Mobile would be a good solution for building a prototype mobile web app.

So now I have some thought in my head of a mobile web app I want to build but wasn’t sure about how to feed it.  While I could see putting all of the data in WordPress, I was worried about maintaining it.  I need something dead simple to enter rosters, teams, schedules, results, etc. into a system.  Ideally it should be accessible from a phone so scores can be quickly entered by unsophisticated users.

What I’ve decided to do is build a mobile first (maybe only) application using Ruby on Rails.  I have made all of my HTML views based on jQuery Mobile.  Within a week or so of working on it for a few hours a day, I have the basic application up and running on my Ubuntu VM.  I can set up teams, coaches, and athletes, and assign coaches and athletes to teams.  I have started on venues.  There is a ton left to do – events, schedules, user login, Google Maps, and a lot more.

While I am excited about how much progress I have made in a relatively short time frame, I am worried I am “doing it wrong” or have made a decision that will be difficult to unwind.  I’ve learned a fair amount about Rails in the past two weeks and much to my surprise, have not had to learn a whole lot of Ruby yet.

The ability to quickly add database columns and connections in RoR is pretty slick.  During my first couple of scaffold generations I was worried about getting the database “right” but having dropped some columns and added others, I’ve found it relatively painless.

While I am impressed with RoR, I am really impressed with jQuery Mobile.  It is pretty amazing how quickly a mobile web app can be assembled.  I’ve been using a regular web browser for developing my app and even using jQuery Mobile with a regular browser is pretty nice.  I had forgotten that the laptop I borrowed while my Vaio was being repaired has a touchscreen.  Using the app on Chrome with a touch screen is pretty effective at mimicking a mobile device.

I still have tons more to learn as I get ready to deploy the first build for some people to play with and populate with dummy data but I can already see other uses for Ruby on Rails.  I am still not a big fan of the Ruby syntax but I can live with it for the benefits and development efficiency I am seeing with Rails.

Google Forms v0.70-beta-1 available

This weekend I spent some time looking at adding support for regular expressions as part of the Google Forms validation functionality.  This seemed like a reasonable and useful request.  I was surprised to find that the jQuery Validation plugin doesn’t offer regular expressions as a standard check  however, I found a fairly simple solution on Stack Exchange.

It took me a little while to get it working as Saturday morning I went down a wrong path initially following another post I had found.  When I first read the post I linked to above, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to use the AddMethod solution.  I am not sure why, I guess it was because I haven’t been into the code in a while so I was trying to avoid it.  It turns out it is definitely the right answer and fairly easy to implement.

The beta build also contains a Serbo Croation translation provided by Borisa Djuraskovic
of www.webhostinghub.com.

To see the new functionality in action, check out my Validation Demo Form where the last entry field must begin with a capital letter.  The regular expression “[A-Z]” is used to match a capital letter when setting up the validation.

GForm_SS_72

Google Forms Beta (424 downloads)

Google Forms v0.69 released

While looking into a Support request I discovered a bug in the generation of the  jQuery validation script which caused a syntax error.  This syntax error could potentially cause problems with redirection upon form submission.

While fixing the above bug I also added support for embedded images which had been requested recently.  When you design your form Google now allows the insertion of images and now Google Forms will display them properly.

GForm_SS_71

You can find this update on your Dashboard or in the WordPress plugin repository.

Google Forms v0.65-beta-2 available

I received a patch over the weekend from a Google Forms user which I have incorporated into beta-2 of v0.65.  The patch changes how Google Forms loads the jQuery Validation plugin from the Microsoft CDN.  The plugin is now loaded using a protocol relative URL.  This change will eliminate the mixed content message which appears on sites using HTTPS.

There are a couple other minor fixes in this build as well, the most notable a flush of re-write rules upon plugin activation or de-activation in hopes that it will eliminate one of the most common questions I receive (why doesn’t my URL work when I click the View Form button?).

Google Forms Beta (424 downloads)

WordPress Google Form v0.61-beta-5 available

Another beta update, #5, for WordPress Google Form v0.61.  This update fixes a couple more issues with validation which resulted in some extra jQuery content that was malformed.  It only happened IF validation was enabled but no custom validation rules were defined.

Google Forms Beta (424 downloads)

wpGForm Unintended Functionality

For the past couple days I have been helping a user who was running into some problems with WordPress Google Form.  There are two threads on the WordPress Support Forum (here and here) where we went back and forth with me trying to understand his problem.  Eventually we moved to email so he could send me some screen shots as he wasn’t working on a live site.

As you can see from the support threads, I was rather confused as to what the user was trying to do.  It turns out, this user was using WordPress Google Form to display a Google Spreadsheet as opposed to a Google Form.  Once I understood what the user was doing the questions made a whole lot more sense.

The part which still didn’t make sense was why he was using WordPress Google Form to display the spreadsheet instead of a plugin dedicated for the task (e.g. Inline Google Spreadsheet Viewer).  I had never tried using my plugin to view a spreadsheet as it was never designed for that purpose.

As it turns out, for the most part it works.  If you publish a spreadsheet and use the URL when defining a Google Form, you will end up with something which looks like this:

GForm_SS_65

Surprisingly, it doesn’t look all that bad.  With a little bit of Custom CSS, it could actually look pretty good.  Here is some form specific Custom CSS I added to the form definition:

td.hd {
 display: none;
}
tr.rShim td {
 width: auto !important;
}
div div span.powered {
 display: none;
}
div.listview {
 display: none;
}

The result now looks pretty good.

GForm_SS_66

The header rows and and the table content are actually output by Google in separate tables.  It would be nice if they were in a single table – I am not sure of the logic behind having them as separate tables but that is what Google generates.

I am adding some new functionality to support this unusual usage of the plugin.  Because the Google “Powered By” block contains a link to the original spreadsheet, which often times is a undesirable, if the Legal option is turned off for the defined form, the “Powered By” block will be removed with jQuery.

I am also going to add some basic CSS (like above) to the default CSS to support this as well.  Look for a new beta release shortly.

WordPress Google Form v0.54 released

This morning I released v0.54 of WordPress Google Form.  It has been a while since I’ve had any bug reports for the current version or the beta version.  Things appear pretty stable.

  • Added internationalization support for jQuery Validation messages.
  • New language support files.
  • New jQuery Validation based custom validation option.
  • Fixed problem with escaped characters ending up in Google spreadsheet.
  • Moved transport control out of debug module and into core code so it can be a permanent setting for some server environments.
  • Fixed PHP warning messages which happen with Logging Enabled when some of the server variables don’t exist.
  • Fixed bug with Form Submission Log setting stickiness.
  • Added an optional CAPTCHA message which will appear below the CAPTCHA input when set.

WordPress Google Form v0.54-beta-2 now available

I have just uploaded beta 2 of WordPress Google Form v0.54.  This update fixes the problem with the validation meta box not allowing adding additional fields (a jQuery script was not loading correctly) and also fixes the issue with range checks I mentioned in the beta 1 announcement.  At this point I believe everything is working correctly.

I have put together a Validation Demo Form that you can play with to see  how it works.  There are some images below from the demo form running in my development area including how I set up the validation information when creating the form.

Google Forms Beta (424 downloads)

GForm_SS_52 GForm_SS_53 GForm_SS_54