Arnica FormServer is a versatile tool, which helps you design web forms with various workflow scenarios. Web forms would typically display, create or update records maintained in databases, files, XML repositories, or provided via web requests. Form design is performed through a web browser, with no installation required on
designer, administrator, or client computers. Arnica FormServer delivers
a thin client solution for web form design: create forms in minutes from any computer using browser only, generate a link
on the fly and deliver it to users for execution or integrate it with
corporate Intranet or public Internet sites. Forms run in a web
browser with no deployment required.
Typical uses of web forms include creating solutions to maintain customer or user data, financial records, implement surveys, create user registration forms, etc.
True Thin Client
Arnica FormServer is a true thin client solution: design, execution and
administration are all done through a web browser. To ensure broader
compatibility and high performance interactivity, FormServer uses pure
HTML/XML/CSS content on web pages and does not utilize client-side
browser provides unprecedented flexibility and opportunities in both
internal and outsourced development. Forms may be executed by users from a
prompted parameters page or as a web service, e.g. via a portal
page object using XML request.
Versatile Easy-To-Use Design Concept
Arnica FormServer's main concept is to use form items to present data on the form and collect user input, and then use form actions to process submitted data following designer-specified business rules. A form item is made of a label and input control (such as text box, radio button, check box, etc.). Designers may specify initial values for form items (either static values or dynamically derived from database records), and then combine all form items into a form and present it to the user in either default or customized sequence. When users submit the form, a sequence of form actions is executed on the server, e.g. validate data inputs, update database and return user to a particular page. Designers define a sequence of form actions to be executed when a form is submitted (in order to save user inputs in a database), as well as a sequence of form actions which are executed when the form is initialized (to load initial data and assign default values to form items).
Extensive Set of Built-In Form Items
Arnica FormServer supports most types of data input provided by HTML as well as provides additional more specialized controls for form designers. Form items may be set up as read-only or updatable, visible or invisible. The following is a partial list of form items, which designers may pick without writing any programming code:
- Text box - to enter single line values
- Text area - to enter multiple line text
- Date and time with calendar date picker
- Check box
- Phone number input, which provides proper separation between country code, area code, number and extension fields
- Container, which provides facility to display any other type of custom HTML content
- Hidden form parameter, invisibly present on the form to maintain hidden values
- Drop-down list box
- Vertical or horizontal set of radio buttons
- Multiple selection input control with horizontal or vertical layout
- Single selection custom item list with horizontal, vertical, or custom layout
Flexible Form Actions
Designer may specify a sequence of form actions to be executed when a form is initialized or submitted. For example, when a form is submitted, collected data may be
sent directly to a database, saved to a file, forwarded via email or
posted as XML with a web request, or saved in Arnica FormServer data store
for further processing, etc. Flexible action engine may be configured per form to implement rules of
virtually unlimited complexity. Actions may be executed before a form
is loaded and/or when a form is submitted. Some actions may be setup as
mandatory, while others may be configured as optional and executed when
certain conditions are met, as defined by business rules. Actions may
be implemented as database query, web request, email, save to file
operation, script execution, etc. There may be an unlimited number of form actions in the sequence, as well as conditional form actions which are executed only if a special type of form action, "Business Rule", acting as an "IF" rule generates a condition for their execution. The following is a list of pre-defined types of form actions supported by Arnica FormServer:
- Business rule action - most versatile type of form action, which may implement data validation, data processing, additional content generation, as well as "IF" rules to execute other optional actions
- Database query action - executes adhoc SQL query against database to perform SQL insert, update or delete operations against data records, as well as select operations which create form-level cursor, which may be referenced during form life cycle by other form actions or form items
- Database store action - executes parametarized SQL query against Arnica FormServer internal tables, called "data stores", which may be shared between different forms
- Web request action - executes web requests by specifying request URL and optional posted data. Web request type may be GET, XML POST, POST, and HTTP Redirect. If a particular service called by a web request returned data, the web request action may make the result available to other form actions and form items
- Email action - sends email by including information related to the form or form data using standard or custom layout
- Save to file action - saves information into specified file using standard or custom layout
- System event action - posts system event information into central system events repository provided by Arnica UnifiedLogon events services subsystem. System event may include any information related to the form or form data
Arnica FormServer provides you with additional tools allowing to create data stores - specialized tables for keeping records related to a particular project, for example, survey results, user registration data, etc. Administrators may create data stores without any knowledge of SQL - simply by providing field names and selecting one of suggested data types. Arnica FormServer creates a dedicated table in its database, which can be easily bound to a form via form actions with types "data store" or "database query". The same tables may also be used by reporting tools such as Arnica WebReport or other external reports.
Arnica FormServer-based script is a high-performance scripting environment, which allows programmers to create reusable code blocks shared by different forms or other external tools using any programming language capable of making a web request. Because scripts are executed as web services using GET or POST request, reusable functionalities implemented by these scripts may be invoked from different tools using different programming languages.
Easy To Integrate Pure
HTML nature of content generated by Arnica FormServer means its content
may be easily integrated with content produced by other tools, e.g.
forms generators, .NET or PHP pages, portal content, etc.
Arnica FormServer may be used as a stand-alone tool or it may be integrated with
web portals, such as Arnica WebPortal, Microsoft SharePoint, and
FormServer is a template-driven solution. Templates are created using
standard HTML content fragments with evaluatable expressions and may be
used to customize virtually any presentation part of form output: top
level container page composition, headers and footers, toolbars, data items cells, form part presentation components, error and information pages, etc. Shared
presentation features saved in a form template may be re-used by
multiple forms and managed centrally. A contemporary default template
may be used for all new solutions, with further modifications added to
fit your style requirements.
Central Database Repository Arnica
FormServer stores its meta data (form definitions) in a central
database repository (based on Microsoft SQLServer or free SQLServer
Express Edition) and allows certain operations to be performed simultaneously against
multiple forms at design time, e.g., meta search and
updates against several forms at the same time, form export/import,
ability to use global parameters shared by multiple forms, etc. Unlike
traditional form design tools, there are no individual files to deploy on
Broad Compatibility and Integration Capabilities Although
server-side Arnica FormServer engine runs on Microsoft Windows Server,
its web interface allows easy integration with virtually all
contemporary tools and technologies supporting HTTP communication, such
as .NET, PHP, Java, COM, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM WebSphere, open
source portals and other integration platforms.
Access Control and Activity Log Arnica
FormServer supports user authentication and authorization provided by
.NET and allows granular user access control with zero programming
efforts through integration with Arnica UnifiedLogon identity management
system (single application version of Arnica UnifiedLogon is included
at no cost with Arnica FormServer).
Arnica FormServer publishes detailed activity events into central database
repository, enabling you to perform statistical analysis of activity by
various parameters, such as per user, form, script, within specified date