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How hard would it be to allow adding multiple forms per topic? As I'm using forms more, I've throught it would nice to have a basic WebForm and then add additional forms as needed for individual topics or templates. I realize that I could design separate individual forms for each combination of form fields I might want. It just would be simpler (from the user's perspective) to be able to, say, have a list of all the forms on the particular web with radio buttoms so I can pick the ones I need.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 31 May 2002

This was a deliberate simplification when adding the meta based forms system. It would certainly be possible to change this, but I think it will also bring up other issues, such as allowing forms anywhere on the page, including in the middle of the topic text. Incidentally radio buttons would only allow one form to be picked - that is how it works now. Checkboxes could allow for more, but the real work will be in changing the meta data definition and generalising the form handling code. Fancy a go at specifying this and experimenting with the code?

-- JohnTalintyre - 31 May 2002

You flatter me with the challenge. Maybe down the road a bit. I recognize there's probably plenty of other higher-priority code changes and I can pretty simply create multiple forms with the various combination of fields I might want. It was just a thought and you answered my question of what this change would involve in general terms. Any yes, of course I meant checkboxes rather than radio buttons.

Perhaps this would be a good project for me to "cut my teeth on" in learning some Perl at some point. Thanks again for addressing my curiousity.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 31 May 2002

I do not know how useful multiple forms per topic would be. It certainly would complicate the implementation and documentation, e.g. not KISS.

At work we have webs with multiple forms. All forms have one field in common, a TopicClassification field. Other form fields are different. That way you do not get multiple forms per topic, but each topic can have a tailored form, and a FormattedSearch with AND search can do all kinds of queries on those topics.

-- PeterThoeny - 01 Jun 2002

OK - you've persuaded me. I imagine my situation will be similar to Peter's and I appreciate the virtue of KISS (even if I don't always practice it wink ). I would classified this as a "Feature Rejected" if there was such as class.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 01 Jun 2002

I still like the idea of this. At the moment, I'm using TWiki for project planning. As well as normal documentation, I have a forms and searches for both "Requirements" and "Defects". I was thinking of adding a general "to do" form too. Then I thought it would be nice to have the "To Do" form info on both my other types of page. This would allow me to auto generate my list of "Current", "Done" and "ToDo" tasks. I can add the appropriate fields to the existing forms, but it seems neater to me to have multiple forms.

I guess the way I'm using TWiki is that pages can have multiple roles, and I use forms to indicate those roles. In an analogy with programming, I guess I'm looking at objects with multiple types.

In terms of implementation - It looks like it wouldn't be too hard for each page to carry around data for multiple forms in its META data. There could be a conflict between forms sharing the same fields. We'd also need to think about what happened when a form was re-defined and then a page containing the old version was editted (though this is addressed in a very nice KISS way now).

-- AndyPryke - 29 May 2003


See DatabaseForMETA in which I discuss how to implement multiple forms and "topics that know their type".

-- AntonAylward - 29 May 2003

As stated above, implementing only a single form per topic was a specific choice. It made the overall design, including the UI, a lot simpler. I certainly wouldn't be difficult to allow this in the meta data structure. However, we don't want to over complicate TWiki and it's still not clear that multi-forms per topic is a big plus. For now you just have to merge the forms into one.

-- JohnTalintyre - 30 May 2003

I originally raised this question as a matter of user ease in managing forms - i.e. not having to re-create a particular form field once it's defined. From John's comment above, I just want to clarify that I never actually envisioned there being multiple forms displayed in a topic - only that the form displayed could combine several sub-forms, if you will. For example, you could define one form for Topic Classification that goes in the default topic template. But then you could add to that "project group" form or whatever other form was appropriate for specific topics - but the form displayed in the topic is a single, combined form.

I will say that since I originally raised this question, I've gotten used to copying parts of one form that I want to incorporate into another form. Plus, I'm finding that I don't have that many forms in any one web that this is so much of an issue. In the end, I'd have to say that AllowMultipleForms is not, in itself, a particularly compelling reason to switch to DatabaseForMETA.

As I was writing this, it just occurred to me that maybe there was a way to modularize forms. I tried creating a form that INCLUDED other form components. Unfortunately, the include adds a blank line so the table is not continuous. If INCLUDE could be tweaked to allow combining tables, my purposes would be met. Hmmm... on the other hand, I'm not sure even this is worth the effort. Truth be told, for my purposes, the current convention really does work OK.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 30 May 2003

Combining several forms into another one certainly sounds like a good simple route. I'm sure it would be too much effort getting include to work correctly this is required.

-- JohnTalintyre - 30 May 2003

See RequirementsForMultipleFormSupport for the latest ChangeProposal

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Topic revision: r11 - 2005-05-12 - SamHasler
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