February 23, 2021 at 10:08 am #32797Mark WestguardKeymaster
We’re delighted to announce the launch of version 1.8.0 of WS Form today, which contains several key exciting features!
We’re launching the new section library in 1.8.x. Its primary purpose is to allow you to rapidly create forms by adding ready-made sections of fields onto your form. In addition to the collection of ready-made sections you can also add your own sections to the library, allowing you to re-use parts of a form.
It is, in fact, possible to add form, tab and section exports into the library. The general rule of thumb is that for form exports, the contents of the first tab would be imported into the section library. For tab exports, the entire contents of the tab would be imported. Furthermore, any conditional logic associated with the export is also included.
We’d love to hear your ideas for other built-in sections we could include in this library.
Field and Section Search
Even we sometimes can’t find the hidden or message field! We have over 55 field types in WS Form, even more if you install some add-ons. So, we’ve introduced a keyword search to both the Fields and Sections tab in the Toolbox sidebar. You can search by the name or category of a field or section. It also recognizes a handful of other keywords, for example, searching for ‘cell’ will bring up the ‘Phone’ field.
We hope this makes finding the correct field easier and quicker!
Layout Editor – UI Improvements
In addition to identifying and fixing a few bugs we had noticed; we have made several improvements to the user interface in the layout editor.
Tab settings have now been moved below the tabs themselves. Whilst this takes up some valuable real estate, we felt this was the most logical place for the settings icon to go and it now no longer obscures the tab name when hovered over or clicked. Tabs now expand in size in proportion to the tab name instead of being a fixed width.
You will probably notice that if there is one tab, it is faded. We introduced this effect given that if only one tab is present, no tabs are actually rendered on the front-end.
Tabs and sections now have import and export options as well ‘Add to My Library’ icons that allow you to instantly add that tab or section to your library.
Performance – Compiled CSS
To improve the performance of CSS associated with a form, we now have a ‘Compiled CSS’ option in Global Settings. This setting pre-compiles the CSS used on your website into a static file instead of building it dynamically each time a page with a form is loaded. This dramatically improves performance. When combined with the Inline CSS option, this effectively removes any separate WS Form CSS HTTP requests.
Performance – AJAX Low Resource (Statistics)
WS Form generally gathers form statistics by making a separate request to your web server to let it know a form was viewed. We use this method to avoid issues with caching skewing results.
We try wherever possible to adhere to best practice with WordPress, and that includes utilizing their REST API wherever possible for AJAX requests. However, in some cases, this can result in resource intensive requests because in order to serve a REST API request, WordPress effectively has to load in full (Themes, plugins and all!). To avoid this, we have introduced a new AJAX Low Resource option for the statistics engine. This involves calling a PHP script that loads a minimal version of WordPress and results in a request that takes approximately 1/10 of the time to load than a regular REST API request.
This option is not always available if security with your hosting prevents us from calling this method, in which case the regular AJAX request and server-side methods are still available.
We used to have a ‘Minify’ setting that would minify the CSS used in WS Form. This is now controlled by the SCRIPT_DEBUG constant which you can add to wp-config.php. When set to true, WS Form will load CSS and JS that is not minimized to aid with debugging. If set to false, WS Form will load minimized CSS and JS.
Like most well behaved plugins, this behavior extends to all parts of WS Form including:
- Skin CSS
- Framework CSS
- CDN paths
We’re busy building a views system for WS Form that will be an integrated part of the plugin as well as extending our file handlers to include Amazon S3 and Google Drive. In addition to this we’re keen to expand on our technical architecture documentation. Under the hood WS Form is full of actions and filters and we’re going to get those documented in our knowledge base for you. Our focus has been on no-code to date, but we realize there are developers out there who want to take advantage of these features.
As always, we’ll keep you posted!
February 24, 2021 at 1:56 am #32832cubetechParticipant
Thanks for this update!
I’ve searched for the compiled css option in “basic” and also in “advanced” but I cannot find this option.
Can you help me (and maybe others) out?
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