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Getting familiar with the new Forms Designer (Forms 11 Update 3)

posted on January 9 Show version history

For those of us that have been holding off a bit on getting to know the new Designer in Forms, Update 3 to version 11 might be the right time to make the switch. I've spent a couple weeks getting familiar with it so want to share my thoughts here as well as hear what other have picked up.

I was in a spot where UAT was about to begin, so I took the holiday slowdown as a chance to refactor those processes to use 1 large form designed with the new Designer rather than 6-10 individual forms using the old-style Designer. Here are my main notes; I'll use number formatting not because the order matters, but to make it easy to refer to if there is a follow-up comment or question.

  1. The updates to Field Rules are super powerful and helpful. It enables me to show/hide various sections based on the process stage. But not just that; things can be made required or read-only by the new field rules, too. It also includes showing/hiding the action buttons.
  2. When using rules, you have to think by action rather than step. Meaning, my brain would rather define "at this stage, show A, B, and C and make X, Y, and Z read-only". However, show/hide for a given field or section needs to be within the same rule. That said, you can split out the show/hide and the read-only or required rules.
  3. Groups and nested logic really make this work. Which is good because it's easy to accidentally make something required at the wrong stage based on a field set in an earlier stage.
  4. CSS works about the same as before. Of course, it's not as big a deal now that you can just place fields side-by-side. Since a lot of CSS was to overcome some of the shortcomings of the old designer, it's less necessary now.
    1. And watch out: a lot of the CSS gets evaluated on the Designer itself, so if you're hiding a label or other part of a field, it can disappear from the editor.
  5. Read-only fields are not at all obvious, to the extent that I worry users will get frustrated trying to edit a field. No more gray background, just a border around the textbox that is lighter if read-only. From another post, I found this CSS to make fields show as grayed out when they're read-only:
    1. input[readonly],
      textarea[readonly],
      .ng-select-disabled .ng-select-container {
        background-color: #e0e0e0!important;
        border: 0px;
      }

       

  6. Likewise, JavaScript is less necessary now given all the additional built-in functionality, which is good because it's quite limited. Calling it "JavaScript" is misleading. It's much more accurately called "Scripting", where most of the logic is tied to the new LFForm Objects. I was able to get a few things working using the Cloud documentation while waiting for the updates to the on-prem documentation, but mostly I had to figure out how to do things with built-in functionality.
  7. A couple of things don't work quite right with the new Field Rules
    1. Upload fields made read-only can still have their attachments removed, but not uploaded. Dev team is looking into it.
    2. Signatures have a similar issue of not really being read-only. But this means that any signature gathered before the end of the process cannot be displayed at later steps: it just shows up as an empty, read-only field.
  8. There's a new Preview pane for attachments that's really cool. It seems to only be available if you enable previews (where it shows the image below the upload); however, I added CSS to hide that built-in preview but keep the pane option available (don't want to take up so much space).
    1. tr.uploaded-file-preview{
        display: none;
      }

       

  9. There's an unfortunate bug that makes saving the form into Laserfiche ignore Field Rules and display everything when there are Lookup Rules in place. To overcome this, I made a copy of my form, removed all the lookup rules, and then use that copy in the Save To Repository action. Kind of annoying, but not terrible. If the main form gets modified, just create a new copy for saving.
  10. Along those lines, Field Rules to affect the form based on stage of the process should be set by the Stage and not the individual step unless absolutely necessary. If your save to repo step is in the same stage as the final user action, this should ensure they look the same. (This does make using the Preview to test less useful, however.)

 

I'm sure there are other things that I've picked up that I'm forgetting, and more that other people know that I don't yet. Feel free to chime in with your own tips!

17 0
replied on January 24

Hi, thank you for all this great information.

 

Probably a dumb question, but in regards to some of the new features, like email approval, can you edit an existing form or are all new features available only when you create a new form?

0 0
replied on January 24

The email approval feature should be available regardless of which Designer you are using in Forms. Some other features though are only available with forms created using the Modern Designer.

0 0
replied on January 24

Thank you, Blake, for taking the time to answer.

0 0
replied on January 13 Show version history

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this info! 

I am wondering where the save to repo setting went to?
Update 2:

Update 3:

I'm having an issue saving to the repository and I noticed there is no visible connection to the LLS machine. 

Anybody find how that works now?

Thanks again! 

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replied on January 13

Chris, that is an old feature that was deprecated quite a while ago in favor of the Save To Repository task you use in the Designer. It looks like they have finally removed it from the interface.

1 0
replied on January 13

thanks, that helps me troubleshoot easier

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replied on January 10

I am looking for this one. 

 

Task Approval Enhancements

  • Supports direct approval via email buttons.

 

I was hoping it was providing the ability to include direct approval buttons in the email notifications for those tasks. I am not finding anything like that. So I am not sure what this enhancement is.

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replied on January 10

They showed this in one of the webinars. Instead of the user having to reply back with the exact text of the approval button, it creates the approval buttons in the email itself and allows the user the ability to select one. I'm not sure what the user experience is after they click on it though.

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replied on January 10

That's what I hoped it was, but I can't get it configured properly. Not seeing how to include the buttons in the email.

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replied on January 11

Lexie,

The option is found within Forms Configuration->Email Settings->Email Approval

3 0
replied on January 11

Ah yes!! That was the missing piece! Thanks!

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replied on January 10

I wish I could comment on each tidbit. I also can't upvote this enough. Definitely the post of the year so far! lol! ;)

1. Amen to that! Huge improvements!
3. The confusing part for me was that the Add+ buttons were in multiple locations to add the same thing. I now see that later with more complicated rules they would do different things. Confusing at first though.
4.1 Yikes.
5.1 Love that you shared that! Big thanks!
6. Changing this vocabulary would certainly fix a lot of misconceptions. It isn't javascript the way everyone expects it to be. Changing the bar of expectations would help the community better adopt the new designer.
8.2 Great find! I love the eye and pane it pops as a default without the preview too. So thanks for sharing!
9. Also going to save this community a ton of pain in troubleshooting this behavior. Biggest thanks for revealing this.
10. They should figure out a way to preview the different steps or stages.

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replied on January 10

I do wish that the read-only fields were more obvious to end users.

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replied on January 9

So incredibly helpful!!! Thanks!

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