In the company I work for, it is common practice for them to send me .doc files to use as forms for administrative functions. They are often created as templates and then when when the purpose of the form is triggered then a .doc is sent as an attachment in an email. In today’s modern age this process seems relatively inefficient in terms of man hours involved for several reasons:
- Some admin person has to create the form.
- I have to fill it out and send it back.
- In order for the information to be used more than once the information has to be taken out of the form and inserted into a database of some kind.
It also seems irresponsible use of bandwidth and harddrive space when one considers:
- The email sent the first time takes up bandwidth, and harddrive space in the sent box and received box.
- The form is likely to be saved in a folder related to the project it is needed for, and then possibly saved again after it is completed.
- The Completed form is likely to be sent back to the first person sending the request form and then possibly several other people.
It seems a lot more efficient to create a web based application on a company LAN/WAN and then have the employee fill out the application there and give the (all) admin personnel needing the info access to the completed info and have the data displayed as a form. – simple. Except in our industry there are two obvious difficulties which need to be overcome:
- How does the admin person create the web based form?
- How does the company supply off-line access to employees for filling out the form?
As for the second point I am not sure that I have an answer. But concerning the first point, .doc files are probably used because that is what is easy to use and .doc / word processing is a tool which is familiar to the admin person.
The question I am asking is, is there an open source LAMP app which lets one create forms for office processes which lets users (admin personnel) quickly and easily create and deploy forms? It would also be nice for the fields to pull from the same database when practical. i.e. The office needs to create two forms. Both require the employee filling out the form to put their name in the form and the names of the people to whom they are sending the form. Because the employee logged into the LAN/WAN then the form should auto propagate with the name of the logged in user. However, if it didn’t then it should be prompted when the employee starts filling out the form “Autocomplete style” and the suggestions for names should come from the corporation central database of employee names. The end goal is that the admin person should be able to click button and activate a widget in the form and the widget should behave the someway, relating data or relating to data sources across different forms created for the office.
Some OpenSource Projects I found through a Google Search but have not tried:
It’s not open source, but Wufoo.com, and more recently Google Docs both allow you to easily create a form/poll/questionnaire that can be sent via links in email. Both will collect the responses in an easy to use interface and the data can be exported as .CSV files.
My concern is the quantity of info that would get passed through a third party service in the corporate environment.