Email form on submit

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by r.j.s, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I need to create a form that when the user clicks submit, it gets sent to a certain email address.

    I know there are ways to do it using a number of server-side scripts, but they are pretty much all disabled on my server. ASP was working for a while, but that no longer works.

    The server is running Windows 2003. There is an SQL DB, but I know nothing about how to use it, and currently have no way to access it.

    I was thinking that maybe I could do something with AJAX, but I don't know where to start. Any ideas?

    This is what I'm trying to accomplish, but without depending on the user to have an email program configured.
     
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    If you don't have access to any server side languages you're severally limited. Based on a recent thread here you should check out Google Doc's new feature of creating Forms, which the results for can be sent to your email. It may not be ideal, but is possibly your only option. There's also possibly some sites that will host the form for you, but you get limited control. You can search the forum for other threads on this topic. It was usually for people using iWeb.
     
  3. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #3
    If you have no way to Server side Language then your pretty screwed. If you have a second server then you could place the form action there and used the other server to do the action. Thats how i got around it at one point
     
  4. r.j.s thread starter Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    Is there a way I can test the server to see what it supports? I have tried asking the admins, but they pretty much just babysit the servers. They don't know much about them, or are unwilling to answer me.

    Their info page says they support ASP and ASP.net, but the once working ASP email submission page a coworker had no longer works.
     
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Sometimes if you type a page for your site that doesn't exist, the 404 error page will have information about the server. It's not much, and not sure how it works on Windows server. The other option is to test basic hello world scripts in various languages including; PHP, ASP, Perl, Python, and Ruby. Usually the web host web site will have info about what they support.
     
  6. r.j.s thread starter Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    The problem is that we own the servers, they aren't hosted by anyone.

    The base url is http://www.hood.army.mil
     
  7. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #7
    Usually people come to us for ideas when someone else is hosting the server and they have terrible tech support or whatever. In your case, don't talk to the datacenter monkeys - talk to the network engineer or a supervisor and see if they're willing to help get ASP working or a new install of PHP. Or get root access and install PHP yourself, which is not hard to do in the platform you noted.

    Explain to your bosses PHP5 is open source, stable, and free which is why I suggest it specifically, if they need justification. Plenty of help on php.net and other resources via Google for both installation and processing email securely. Take control - make it happen!

    -jim
     
  8. r.j.s thread starter Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    In my case though, the network engineers are the same people at the datacenter.

    It won't happen. PHP isn't on any approved software lists here, so they will never install it. As far as getting root access, that won't happen either - they don't like it that I have access to the "live" server as it is. Almost every other webmaster on Fort Hood has access to a staging server, which is where they have to publish their pages, then submit a trouble ticket for the datacenter admins to copy everything over to the "live" server. There are only 3 webmasters here with live access.
     
  9. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #9
    Is there a project manager? A #1 person in charge? A base commander since its a .mil or whomever in IT functions as a CIO? If not...

    Then refer to the previous solutions offered for third party forms submission, if nobody is willing to help you within your own work environment. What else is there to say, really? I sympathize with ya.

    -jim
     
  10. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    Ah yes the military web stuff is certainly a pain, and I speak from personal experience from when I was at an Air Force base trying to get some web stuff up. Their approved software list isn't very long and they seem to think open source is evil for some reason. They generally only use MS products. Your fight here is more political than technical. And since it's for the military, trying to make use of third parties isn't likely going to go over well with the supervisors. Good luck with this.
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #11
    A mailto: link might be your best bet then, but it would depend on the user having a mail program configured.

    That Google Docs approach does look pretty slick.
     
  12. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #12
    I'm gonna say it, cause it needs to be said.

    If you want something done in life, then do whatever it takes to get it. In your case, to fight the red tape about the military and the idiocy in terms of recognizing the benefits of open source solutions, it will take action on your part to inform your superiors of the 1) need and 2) benefits. Traditionally it starts with a memo to the project manager (or #1 in charge of IT) cc'd to your immediate supervisor requesting "PHP5 to be installed" for example.

    Include in the memo two things:

    1) Quotes and links to justify open source solutions in terms of government and military websites - here's one to get you started (from slashdot).

    2) A gap analysis - show what it'll take to go from point A (your current configuration) to point B, including costs (emphasize $0, no special license, installation is an hour at most, no new hardware required, and impact on the hardware and software layers of your IT resources involved - which is only one web server, an email server and web app code)

    Yes, this is bucking the system, and it takes chutzbah (guts) to do this, especially bypassing your direct supervisor since you hinted you tried that. In times of economic crisis alot of employees don't want to buck the system or take chances so as to keep the paychecks coming in. I understand that. I'm just saying I've had to make special requests (justified properly as explained above, not just a beg in the form of a memo on company letterhead) to the CIO directly, and a few times I got what I wanted. And I can tell you, they give awards and bonuses out for things like this sometimes. That's the plus side. I work with a government agency, so I'm used to the idiocy and protocols involved. Believe me.

    I write this because the technique I mentioned to "get it done" is the professional approach, and even if you still get rejected, at that point you can rest at night knowing you honestly did all you can do.

    -jim
     
  13. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    It's probably not appropriate to your situation, but in case others are looking for an alternative way to do this, I highly recommend JotForm.
     
  14. r.j.s thread starter Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #14
    Jim,

    Thanks for the advice. I'll give that route a shot, and just so you know, I'm in the Army, so there is no chance I get fired for trying to change the system set in place by the civilians at DOIM (IT).
     
  15. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #15
    Never say never, but I know what ya mean. Beyond the myriad of advice given here on third party solutions, all of them are non-scalable solutions with a dependency on a third party. In the long run, it's not advisable, but for a small job or interim solution such techniques are perfect. Thanks for listening, and I'm sure you'll do what you need to and in the most appropriate way. I'm outta here, cya!

    -jim
     

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