by Scott B Reynolds, March 20th, 2014
Business Catalyst allows you to create powerful web forms within minutes (if not seconds). However, styling an existing BC form can be tricky. By reversing the order of how you create and style a form in Business Catlayst you can speed up the entire process.
If you need a web form built quickly, Business Catalyst has a wonderful built-in web form builder. You simply create a new form, name it, and hit save. Boom. You have a form. The BC web form builder is easy to use and outputs a working web form in seconds. Now, if you want to make the web form look a certain way, you need to add your own css, remove table tags and replace them with divs, etc. This can be tricky and time-consuming.
Instead try creating a web form first and then let Business Catalyst automatically change your beautiful non-BC web form into a fully functional BC web form. After you create your non-BC form (I like Bootstrap forms), paste the webform’s html into any BC page (in the admin). Select 'Optimize Content' from the ‘Actions’ dropdown. When promted change the name of the web form and click ‘Perform Selected Changes’. Business Catalyst will now convert your form into a Business Catalyst form. Click ‘Update’ and go preview the page to see if the form looks and acts the way you want.
This is a much faster way to build custom web forms, but please note the ‘Optimize Content’ is experimental so always test the output to make sure it worked correctly. Also, if you include fields that are typically built-in you will need to change the name and id of those fields in the html. If your fields are all custom then you shouldn't need to make any adjustments.
Scott is the founder of Thrise LLC, a Business Catalyst partner advisory board member, an Adobe Community Professional, a BC Sandpile manager, an Adobe Certified Expert, an Adobe User Group Manager, a Google AdWords Certified Partner, and a full-time astronaut. Scott has had his hands in HTML since the 90’s and often presents on topics related to design and marketing.