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Recipe: Create Public Forms with 2sxc

Discover how easy it is to create public forms using 2sxc for directories, showcases and more - while still fully in control of security.

Example Story

In this example we're assuming that you have a directory of partners, and people can submit their own entry for you to review and release. 

We created a demo-app for this which you can download it in the app catalog or view the code on github


Before we look at the public form, here's what we already did:

  1. create the app
  2. create a content type "Partners" with Name, Logo (files), Description (wysiwyg), Photos (files) and Showcase (files)
  3. configured each file-field with the files we expect (png/jpg or pdf)
  4. created two demo items
  5. created a template/view showing all items

Here's what it looks like before we start the public form:

initial list

Adding a Button

First we'll add a button in HTML - it won't do much yet:

button without anything yet

Now we'll add the code, using the new $ command. This will return a promise when the dialog closes, so we'll get that and show an alert when it's done:

javascript code addPartner

Clicking this button as a host/admin will work, but nothing will happen for public users. This is because various scripts etc. aren't loaded yet. To ensure this, we'll use the new @Edit.Enable(...) command:

edit-enable in Razor

Activating the Features

Typically you'll now see an error, because the features are not activated yet:

error features not enabled

So to activate them, we'll do as instructed in the links in the error, which is basically following the instructions in this blog about managing features:

Let's start by going to Features Management:

go to features management

...and enable the features we need:

enable features public forms

...and when we've activated them, you'll see something like this:

activated features

The error will now go away. 

Setting Permissions

If you now use Chrome in anynomous mode you won't see an error, the button will do something, but you'll quickly run into the next error, because you haven't set permissions yet (discover more about permissions in the wiki):

error missing permissions

So let's go to the content-type permissions:

content type permissions - user button

We'll first have to allow Schema-Read. This means that a public user is allowed to ask the server, what fields are available:

permissions - schema

Next we'll enable that a public user is allowed to create data - but we'll restrict it to draft data, so that new items don't show up in the list:

permissions - draft only

Once you did this, you should see these two permissions set for this content-type:

permission of content-type

OR you can simply add one permission with CRUD on draft (create, read, update, delete). 

First Public Use

Again open this in another browser or in anonyomus mode. The form will now seem to work:

form before file permissions

Adding Upload Permissions

What you'll notice is that uploading fails - like this:

upload fails

...this is because upload permissions must be granted on each field that should support upload. This allows you full control of who can upload / update what information. Let's go to the fields, you'll notice a new permissions-button on fields which have an ADAM upload:

field permissions button

For this to work, you typically need to give create & read draft permissions, because otherwise a user would be able to upload, but not see what he just uploaded. Here are the read-permissions:

field permission read

...and the upload permissions, resulting in these two permissions:

field permissions read and upload

Upload will now work like magic :)

upload works now

Repeat for other Upload fields

until it works like this:

upload on all fields

Custom Thanks

The example we just made will show this when you press save:

save thank you message

...this is because of the JavaScript in the beginning. You could also do redirects or anything else as you need it. 

Managing Draft Data

You'll see that in the demo app, we added something trivial to highlight items which are still draft. To the left you can see the browser in admin-mode, to the right in anonymous mode (not showing the item at all):

side by side admin and anonymous with draft

The admin will see the publish button in his hovering toolbar, like this:

publish hover toolbar

Once it's published, both admin and visitor will see this item:

side by side after publishing


So that's how you get it to work. Remember - you can always download the app, browse the code and github and just give it a try, and work your way up from there. 

Love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 800 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (see github), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.

Read more posts by Daniel Mettler