Interesting news out of Adobe today with the announcement of FormsCentral, an online form processing service. Adobe has been making a few moves in the SaaS space the last year or so and this seems like a natural fit. I spent a little bit of time looking at the service and its... interesting. What follows are some thoughts based on my quick look.

  1. The pricing seems decent. Their free plan gives you one form and 50 responses. Wufoo gives you more forms (3), 100 responses, but limits your questions. In both cases I think it's a bit silly. Restrict a hobbyist to one form at a time, but let them have unlimited resposes. 50 responses is just not enough unless you really just want to test. I think both services could offer a stripped down version with a very limited "live" survey (I should be able to have any number of old surveys I can't use again) to get me properly hooked enough to upgrade. Of course, the real winner here is Google Docs. No limits exist there at all.

  2. Of course, where FormsCentral and Wufoo beat the pants off of Google is in design. I'm not surprised FormsCentral looks sexy as hell since it comes from a company with a bit of design experience. I found the form editing UI to be slick and easy enough to quickly build a simple form. It's worth signing up for to check it out. Very well done. Adobe also built quite a few templates for those of us who are - um - design challenged.

  3. Probably the biggest deal breaker, and where Wufoo and Google both win, is that I don't think you can embed FormsCentral forms inside your own pages. Apparently you can design the heck out of the forms (I didn't push that part of the editor far), but you can't actually run it inside an iframe on your own domain. That by itself may make people go to Wufoo instead.

  4. Export options include PDF, Excel, and CSV. Both worked quickly and easily (although my test form had just 2 responses). Surprisingly you can't get email notifications of survey responses. That's something both Wufoo and Google offer (actually not 100% sure about Google) and would be useful for folks. The FormsCentral site itself will automatically update with new responses, but I'd rather get something in email. I also asked about an API but I don't know the answer to that yet.

Finally - if anyone wants to try the simple form I created - follow this link: Unfortunately it's going to close pretty quickly so you better hurry. Note - one of the questions has escaped HTML. That's not a bug. It was me seeing what would happen if I included HTML on purpose.