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Fast Forms, But Just How Fast, Precisely? I Did The Math.

Fast Forms

We say “cut your development time in half”.

We didn’t just make that up. We’ve had a few customers volunteer that metric, based on their own calculations.

But how accurate is that?

The average number of fields in any given form is 5 fields according to a 2019 HubSpot survey.

Based on this metric, I wanted to know how long it would take an expert web developer to build a form with 5 fields using HTML and JavaScript and have the data route and save to a pre-built database. No CSS required.

So I asked Chat-GPT.

Here’s what it said, minus all of the obligatory caveats about real world scenarios, the stack that it’s assuming, the database config, and so on.

It assumed that no complex validation or error handling would be required and the developer tools and database was already setup. It did allow for a minimal client-side validation.

Here’s what it estimated:

  • HTML Form Creation: 10-15 minutes
  • JavaScript: 10-20 minutes.
  • Backend Handling: 20-40 minutes
  • Testing: 15-30 minutes
  • Total: Anywhere from 55 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Always account for some buffer time,” it said as it cheerfully ended its response.

Chat-GPT can be so cute.

But no, this theoretical web developer programs in raw, vanilla code on hard metal equipment over a dial-up modem faster than you or I ever could on the latest hardware with 3 monitors and gigabit broadband.

So, let’s say 1 hour for easy math to do it all. Maybe there’s a 5 minute coffee break in there.

Fast Forms Amped Up

Let’s say this developer is tasked to build 100 forms, all pretty similar.

But let’s be (un)realistic.

After doing the first 1 or 2, you know they’d get a lot faster—it becomes rote. They get it down to 15 minutes per form.

For the sake of easy math, let’s say all 100 take 15 minutes each. That’s 25 hours to build all of them, including routing to storage. Not bad.

Fast Forms With Form.io

I could have asked Chat-GPT here again, but that seemed silly.

Instead, I recorded myself casually building a form with 5 fields in Form.io. I also had set up my developer tools beforehand and the Form.io database is pre-built and configured by default.

I added some basic validation, set the permissions, took my time to signal with my mouse what I was clicking on, and even wrote some inline CSS just for kicks.

Keep in mind that while I’m doing all this, the form’s APIs are auto-generated for me and each JSON schema is ready to go if I need them.

Here’s the screen capture in GIF form, sped up by 4X:

3 minutes flat for one form.

Now, let’s say that realistically it’s going to take me twice as long to finish all 100 forms because the real world is like that and I’m not quite a hard metal web developer.

At 6 minutes per form, it will take me 10 hours to build all 100.

That’s still less than half the time the expert programmer can do it manually—according to ChatGPT, FWIW.

So when we say fast forms, we mean you can build them and have each wired in minutes.

When you multiple this over many forms, multiple developers, over several years, the amount of time, agony, and money you save is felt.

We know drag and drop form builders speed up form building, but when I say “fast forms,” just how fast is that? Especially considering the data connections.

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Form.io is a zero-trust, data governance strategy platform, embedded in your environment, that enables you to build business process workflow applications or anything that uses forms with lightning bolt speed. Form.io is unique in its reach to the application layer regarding governance because we acknowledge forms are the primary entry point into everything data related. Forms are the UI, forms are the data model, and forms are the API model.

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