Nova NextGen: Dynamic Forms 2.0 28 Jan 2015

In Nova 1, dynamic forms made their first appearance and allowed admins to change certain forms by adding, removing, or editing fields. This allowed you to make sure the join, specs, tour, and docking forms were set up exactly how you wanted. From everything I heard, people loved the feature and by Nova 2 weren't sure how you ever managed without it. In Nova NextGen, I'll be making some major changes to dynamic forms to make them smarter and better all around.

The single biggest change to dynamic forms in NextGen will be that every form, field, section, tab, value, and data piece is pulled from the same location in the database. (In previous versions, each form had its own group of tables.) This provides for a highly efficient way of storing all the information so that updates to the dynamic forms happen in one place and for all the forms throughout the system. This means that if I add new features to dynamic forms, all your forms get them, not just certain ones.

New Forms

User Form

Nova has always had a character form, but it's never allowed you to collect information about the user in a dynamic way. In NextGen, I'm adding a user form to collect anything you want from your players. Like currently, user information will only be shown to members of the game when they're logged in, so you don't have to worry about sharing something with the world that shouldn't be shared.

Application Info Form

Much like the new user form, Nova NextGen will allow a new level of control when it comes to collecting information from users on the join form. The next big way is the application info form that will allow admins to get information from applicants like their simming experience, where they heard about the game, and anything else a game master may think is important. The information will be stored in the database and accessible through ARC.

Form Viewer

Previously, forms were limited to what I said you could have. That's no fun though. NextGen allows you to create your own dynamic forms from scratch, easily embed them in pages to be filled out, and view the content that's been submitted for those forms through the Form Viewer. Your data gets stored in the same place and in the same way as every other dynamic form.

Tabs & Sections For Everyone

In previous versions of Nova, sections were limited to only the character and specs forms; tabs were limited to the character form. In Nova NextGen, you'll have the ability to create sections and tabs in whichever form you want. Make your forms as simple or complex as you want, it's entirely up to you now!


The level of control you have with forms is being taken to the next level with the addition of per-field access role restrictions. You can set a field as being editable only by someone who has a certain access role (or above). Everyone else will simply see the content stored in the database or nothing at all.

Inline Help

Sometimes, a certain field's purpose may not be clear from the label, or it may require an explanation of what's required. Inline help can appear beneath the field to help users fill out the field properly.

Smarter Management

Everything about form management is better.

  • Drag-and-drop - Changing the order of fields within a section or field values is as simple and clicking, dragging, and dropping. Nova will save your changes silently so once you let go of the mouse, you're done.
  • Only see what you should - Editing a text field versus a text area versus a dropdown menu will show you only the options that are applicable to that field.
  • Whole new field values management - Admittedly, I missed the mark with managing field values in the first iteration of dynamic forms. Now, it's simpler and more straightforward so you know exactly what's going on and how to make your changes.
  • Red light, green light - A brand-new automated process will constantly evaluate your active fields, sections, and tabs to make sure that sections and tabs are active only if there are active fields in them. No more forgetting to turn off a section or tab when you make changes, Nova will do it for you.