When you have a web app that is under constant development Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment are incredibly useful practices. Planned releases may seem like a less risky approach, but they are not. When you do something a lot you keep getting good at it. We release our product ten times a day every day and we are loving it!
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With the new version we are releasing a separate product blog within the JotForm site so I will be posting JotForm related topics there from now on.
Last week I covered many new features of JotForm 3.0 in screenshots. Today, I would like to talk about something different. Something I cannot capture in a screenshot. Today, I’d like to talk about our philosophy for JotForm 3.0. I think these things are what separates JotForm from the rest of the crowd.
Many people, including us, use JotForm to create surveys. But, we were lacking some serious features on that front. Our form builder was designed for short question forms and we did not have conditions and branching features. We also did not have many survey input types.
We are soon introducing many new features that makes JotForm one of the best web tools to create web based surveys.
1. Label Top Alignment option
2. Many new survey input types
3. Conditional fields and branching
4. New form share options
5. New form themes
6. New reporting and charting features
We are happy to announce WebHostingSearch.com awarded JotForm as “Best Web Tool” of 2010.
Web Hosting Search is an independent web hosting information guide. Here is what they do on their own words:
We are a group of professional webmasters who have had enough of all the lousy and half-hearted web hosting providers out there. So, we created a site that would credit the reliable web hosts and warn visitors of the lesser ones, sort the good from the bad.
Thank you WebHostingSearch.com for this great award.
JotForm servers send around 1 million emails every month. So, the second most important feature of JotForm is “sending emails reliably”.[*] Many people just come to JotForm, create a form, post it on their site and forget about it. They keep using JotForm for years without ever visiting our site since JotForm just works. It does what you need. When you have a new submission, JotForm instantly brings it to your inbox.
While our team is working on the remaining 104 Internet Explorer bugs, I will sneak out and write another JotForm 3.0 preview. Today, I would like to cover the main features on JotForm 3.0 Form Builder.
As we are getting ready to release JotForm 3.0 on April 14th, we are getting tremendous amount of interest from our users. I would like to thank all JotForm users for being patient with us. During this time, I will be posting series of sneak peaks about the new version. My goal will be providing details about JotForm 3.0, screenshots and some more interesting details about us.
Grassroots.org is an organization that provides free web hosting and internet tools to non-profit organizations. They currently support 2,679 non-profits.
According to Scott D’Antuono, one of the volunteers at Grassroots.org team, “Many [Grassroots.org] members have used the Jotform service to create applications and forms they need to build on their websites”.
So, why should non-profits use JotForm. Scott explains in his blog post:
Like any business or organization, nonprofits need to collect information or have people to sign up for something (ex. mailing lists, fundraising drives, collecting donations, etc). Forms are an excellent way to gather that information efficiently. If you ever need to have people filling out forms online, you can create one with Jotform.
Thank you Grassroots.org for helping non-profits and recommending our product.
This is a pretty exciting week in the office. We invited several people to help us test the latest version of JotForm. It was eye opening to see how people behave on these tests. We have always done quick “what do you think about this site” or “what do you think about this feature” kind of tests with other people and since we always get feedback emails from people we thought we understood how other people use our web application. How wrong we were!
Phishing is a big problem. There are literally gangs which employ people in Nigeria to create phishing forms all day long. We know it because we are on the front lines. Our phishing filters suspend hundreds of phishers every month.
Since we are working very hard to make creating web forms easier, as an unfortunate side effect, phishers also prefer JotForm to create their forms. I am not sure if we should be flattered about this. What I am sure is that we have to fight hard to stop phishers, just like PayPal had to fight fraud hard to become one true Internet payment service.
We were fighting a losing war until couple of years ago. We had to manually review all suspicious forms. It was incredibly time consuming and phishers were creating new forms faster than we can delete them. So, we came up with a breakthrough idea. We implemented a Bayesian filter that detects and suspends phishing forms. Basically, we were using statistics to determine if a given form is doing phishing or not. It worked amazingly well. Whatever new ideas phishers came up with, our Bayesian filter quickly learned and adapted.
We have huge amount of data on phisher behavior; types of forms they create, commonly used words, types of tactics they use, where they come from etc. If you are a researcher or a student working on a thesis, feel free to contact me and I can provide you lots of data to play with.
How do you monetize a web application or a web site? What kind of business model makes long term success more likely? These topics are being discussed to death on many web business discussion boards. There are mainly two camps of thought: Cripple the product or provide 30-day trial period then disable it unless user buys it. I call them crippleware and trialware. I don’t like any of these approaches. I believe the best strategy is to only charge users when they are successful.
Like every successful relationship, business and customers need to meet in a middle ground. Both sides must be happy. If one side thinks they are being screwed, they will not like it and will probably leave at the first opportunity. Crippled products or trial versions are bad because one side on the relationship knows that the other side is only in it for the money and does not care about them. You can use these approaches successfully and probably can make more money in the short term, but you will also limit growth of the product.
If you limit the users too early, they will have to stop using the service before they reach to a critical point where they can completely learn and utilize your service. What do you think?
Lean thinking is about eliminating waste. Every web application must have a single main purpose. Everything else should be optimized to make that goal easy to reach. If you look at most of the existing web applications today, there are just so many things that wastes user’s time and energy: Read the rest of this entry »
When I named my blog “Web Applications are the Future” more than 4 years ago, there was a big discussion among software developers on if the web applications can replace desktop applications. Nobody discusses that any more. Probably because web applications have pretty much won. They are getting faster and easier to use every day.
That’s why I decided to rename my blog to “Lean Web Applications”. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on what is a “lean web application” and how to develop them in my future posts. We are developing new version of JotForm with these ideas so I am going to have many thoughts to share on this topic.
Drag and drop is one of the most underused features on web applications. Although there are really cool libraries, we haven’t seen a lot of adoption on this front. Using drag and drop on a web application can make it user friendly. It gives users flexibility to easily place and sort objects which can be very difficult and sometimes ugly to accomplish with buttons or links.
Here is a look at seven of the most creative drag and drop web applications:
It has been six months since Apple released push notifications however the adoption has been pretty low among website monitoring tools. Probably because creating an iPhone App is not a trivial task. This tutorial describes how to use free tools available (mainly JotForm iPhone App) to send your iPhone push notifications when there is a problem on your site.
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