Using Formstack to manage our SXSW party

Written by Noah Coffey on April 16, 2010

Posted in Form Hacks

One of the many fun experiences we had at SXSW this year was teaming up with The Small Business Web to host the SXSBW Happy Hour party. As part of our contribution to the event, Formstack provided the registration form for people who wanted to attend the party. With almost 5,000 people signing-up, we needed a quick and easy way to check those people in at the door. Enter the Formstack API!

In short order, we were able to throw together a simple, yet powerful, web app that would allow us to search for an attendee on the “guest list,” check them in to the party, and also send a message out on the special SXSBW Twitter account that they had arrived. This allowed us to quickly check people in to the party and avoid filling a paper binder with thousands of names.

One of the tricks we used was to add a hidden field on the RSVP form that was a check box for whether that individual had checked-in to the party or not. Whenever we would check in a person, our check-in web app would update this hidden field and mark the person as having checked-in. This gave us the added benefit of being able to run a custom report of everyone that actually attended the party afterward.

We think this use case is a fairly useful example of what you can accomplish with the Formstack API. Because of this, we are releasing the code we used to make our check-in page work. Later this month, we’ll write a follow-up post with more technical details about how the code works. Until then, you can check out the code at it’s public repository (and, as with any open source software, you are free to help improve it).