3.1 Member Network Overview

A custom registration form is the most important tool of any community network. While the Joomla Content Management System is a strong foundation for any website, the default Joomla Registration form suffers from two major problems. First, it is not customizable. It can not be adapted to the needs of our community network. Second, the default Joomla Registration form does not display a searchable list. Thus, there is no way for members to interact with other members. We will use the Fabrik Form Builder to create custom forms and searchable lists to help community members interact with each other. We will build three different registration forms in order to give new members three different ways to participate in our community network.

Three Ways to Participate in Our Community Network
One of our goals of our community network is to show how to help a local community rebuild their economy from the ground up. We do this by providing three different ways for new members to participate.

The first way is by signing up to be a Personal Member
Personal Members have access to coming events, newsletter articles and the ability to write their own articles and host their own events. to share with other members of the group. Each Member also gets to vote in our elections to determine the leadership of the group.

The second way is by signing up to be a Service Provider
Historically, service providers were called Employees. However, we are using this term to describe anyone who wants to provide a service or product to another person or be hired by another person. Examples of Service Providers include plumbers, teachers, financial planners, landscapers, wellness coaches, singers, etc.

The third way is by signing up to be a Job Provider.
Historically, job providers were called Emplorers. However, we are using this term to describe anyone who wants to hire another person to provide a service for them. Job providers can include homeowners looking to hire a landscaper or plumber – or a parent looking to hire a teacher or mentor.

Are you a Service Provider or a Job Provider?


You can sign up for more than one group. However, you will need to fill out a personal member form and then fill out a form for each new provider you sign up for.


This means that if you want to be a Personal Member and a Service Provider you will need to fill out two forms – one for your personal member account and one for your Service Provider Info. If you want to be a Personal Member, a Service Provider and a Job Provider, you will need to fill out three forms. If your are looking for a secure place to get a free email address, we recommend ProtonMail dot com.

What do you get for being a Member of our Network?
All members get the benefit of being able to share information with other members that share your values – for example, respecting the right of all people to live, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Personal Members get a place to find jobs and find people who offer the services they need. Service Providers get a place to get jobs, network with customers and promote their skills and or local business. Job Providers get a place to find hire others to do the work they need done.

How does our community network work?
Service Providers enter the services they provide into a Searchable Service Provider Database. Here is a screen shot of what our Service Provider Searchable List looks like:


Members can then search this database by location and service category to find service providers near them. Members can then select the Profile pages for each Service Provider to learn more about them, the services they are offering and how to contact them for more information.

Here is a screen shot of what the Search Function looks like when searching the Service Provider Categories for a Plumber:


Job providers enter the jobs they are offering into a different Searchable List. Members can then search this List by location and job categories to find job providers near them. Members can then select the Profile pages for each Job Provider by clicking on VIEW to learn more about the jobs they offer and how to contact them for more infomation.

What does all of this cost?
There are some online groups who charge $50 per month for Service Providers to advertize their services or for employers to offer jobs. Because our network is highly automated and because our goal is to serve our local community, we are offering local service providers and local job providers this service for FREE. Even better, there is no charge at all to become a Personal Member, a Job Provider a Housing Provider or a Housing Seeker. Simply go to our website and sign up for a free personal account. Then just let us know you want a Service or Job provider account and we will set it up for you. Then just log in as a Personal Member and you will see the Service Provider and or Job Provider Sign Up menu item.

Next Steps to Economic Freedom
First we hope you will get a secure free email address and then sign up for your free Personal Membership. Second, you then need to let us know if you want a to be a Service Provider, Job Provider, Housing Provider and or Housing Seeker. Third, we hope you will tell your family, friends and local business owners about this great opportunity.

To help launch our community network, we are making this special offer: Anyone who asks us within the first 30 days of operation will get either a Service Provider Membership or a Job Provider Membership for free. All you need to do is come to one of our weekly meetings to sign up. Can’t make one of our weekly meetings? Then email one of the friendly people on our Membership Committee. Let them know where and how you found out about us and they will give you a special code to sign up.

Welcome to our community network – where we are restoring our local economy by building our own community network!

Steps to Build Our Community Network
To build our community network, we will create three Fabrik Registration Forms. Each form will assign the new member to a different group. Each group will be able to log into a different area of the website.


Our Community Network Plan to Register New Members
Registration is done by first attending one of our meetings and filling out a new member form. Then go online and go to our website. There folks will see a menu item called Member Sign Up. Click on this menu item to open a form with an explanation of the benefits of joining our network. Folks will then fill out the new Member Registration form. Personal members can indicate which teams they are interested in joining and which Member Options they want. Each Member Option has access to a different area on our website. It is necessary to be approved as a Personal Member in order to be a Service Provider or Job Provider member. Once approved as a member, you can then access the Member area of our website where you can fill out either the Service Provider or Job Provider form.

Once their Member Registration form has been submitted, it will then be reviewed and approved by our Membership Coordinator and or someone on our Membership Team. Approval may take 1 to 2 days. Once approved, the new member can then log into their area of our website where they can edit the information on their Registration form or add more information if needed.

The information from each of these three forms can then be displayed on a Searchable List.


We can allow the public to view some of these forms, such as the Service Provider List, while only allowing registered members to view the Job Providers List and Member Coordinators to view the Member List.

How is each of these three forms created?
Here is an outline of the Fabrik Registration Form Creation Process:

Step 1: Create the new form container. An administrator logs into the back end of our website and clicks on Components, Fabrik, Forms and then clicks on the New button to give the new form a Label and a Description. Click Save. Then click Save and Close.

Step 2: Create the First Form Group. Click on Fabrik Groups. Then click on the New button to give the Group a Label such as 1 Member Info. Then assign it to the Registration form. Then type in Description. Then click Save and Close.

Step 3: Create the Middle Form Groups by adding a Label and Description and assigning it to our Registration form.

Step 4: Create the Last Form Group by adding a Label and Description and assigning it to our Registration form.


Step 5: Add the First Form Element to the First Form Group in the Personal Member Registration form. Go to Fabrik Elements and click New. For Label, type Personal Member Name. For label, type personal_member-name. Then select the field plugin and the 1 Member Info group. Then click Save and New.

Step 6: Add the remaining elements to the First Form Group.

We cover the remaining steps in more detail below.

Step 7: Add Form Elements to the Middle Form Groups

Step 8: Add a Spam Filter Element to the Last Form Group.

Things to do before you install Fabrik
Here we will focus entirely on the processes inside of Fabrik. Our assumption is that you have already completed all the tasks in Chapter 1 including reflashing your computer to Linux Debian. We also assume that you have created a Linux Debian Virtual Private Server and added the Hestia Control Panel to it.

We also assume that you have used the Hestia Control Panel to create a new user and installed your website domain name on your Hestia User account and create a domain-related email system for sending and receiving emails with members of your community. In addition, we assume you created a Joomla database and website and added the JCE Editor to it in order to automatically create images folders for each new member to keep their Profile Page images in. Finally, we assume you used Libre Draw to create a header for your community network website and that you installed and configured the Helix template and written a Welcome article for your Home Page. With all of this done, we are ready to install and learn how to use Fabrik. The first step is to download Fabrik.

Step 1 Download Fabrik Component and Juser Plugin
Go to https://fabrikar.com/downloads and download the Fabrik component. Note that you need to sign up to download the component. So click Member Login. Then click Don’t have an account. Fill out the Registration form. After confirming your email, you can download the component. Next, download the Form-Juser plugin at the same Downloads page. Type the plugin name into the Search box to find the plugin.


We also need to download 5 element plugins: calc, captcha, password, usergroup, yesno and validation user exists. Then go to Extensions, Manage, Install to install the component.

Note: Depending on your Internet connection, a Timeout error may appear. However, click on the back arrow and the component should have been installed successfully. Then click the green Browse for File button again to install each of the 7 Plugins. Then go to Extensions, Plugins and type Fabrik in the Search box. Then enable the plugins Create Joomla User, captcha, yesno, password, calc and usergroup.

Step 2 Create a Contact Us Form
Before we create our Member Registration form, we will create a Contact Us form in part because all websites need a Contact Us form and in part as practice with a simple form before we create a more complex form. Go to Components, Fabrik, Forms and click New. For Label, type Contact Us. For Intro, leave the box blank. Click on the Form Publishing tab. For Table Name, type ace_contact_us. Click the Layout tab and change Show Title from Yes to No. Then click Save. Then click Save and Close.

Then click Groups where you will see a new group called Contact Us. Click on this group to edit it. For Intro, type: Please enter your name, email address and question in the boxes below. Then click Save to send us your question.

Then click Save and Close. Then click Elements and filter for the Contact Us form. There are only two elements. We will add three more. Go to Forms, Contact Us row and click Add. This will bring up the Add Element screen. For Label, type Your Name. The Name box will fill in your_name. For Group, select Contact Us. Then click Save and New. For Label, type: Your Email. The Name box will fill in your_email. Select the Advanced tab and change input type to Email. Then click Save and New. For Label, type Your Question. The Name box will fill in your_question. For Plugin, change it to Text Area. For Group, select Contact Us. Then click Save and Close. You will be at the Elements Table. For Show in List, uncheck date-time and id. Then check Your Name and Your Email.


Then go to Forms, Contact Us row and click View Data. There are no records. But submissions will eventually appear here.

Make a Contact Us Menu Item
Go to Menus, Main Menu, New. Click Select, Fabrik, Form. For form, select Contact Us. For Menu Title, type Contact Us. Then click Save and Close. Then go to the front end and click Contact Us:


Fill in the form with Test Name, a real email address and a Test question. Then click Save. The Contact Us form directs the member back to the Home page with a small note that the Message record added updated. We will add a custom Thank you page in a moment. For now, go to the backend and click Forms, Contact Us row, View Data. Then click on the Magnifying Glass icon to view the record:


Sadly, while the question is now record in the Fabrik Form data, no email alert was sent to the website email address. So there is no way for an Admin to know that someone has asked a question.

To solve this problem, first need to create a Contact Us Notice article.

Go to Content, Articles, New. For Title, type: Contact Us Notice. For text, click on the Code Editor tab to go to the code view. Then copy paste the following:

Someone just submitted a question to Our Community Network. Their name is: {ace_contact_us___your_name} And their email address is: {ace_contact_us___your_email} Feel free to delete therecord if they are spammers – or email them back with an answer their question. This message will self destruct in 10 seconds. (Just kidding). Regards, Your friendly website Tech Team.

We then need to create a Hidden Menu to create a hidden menu item for this article. Click Menus, Manage, New. For Title and Description, type Hidden Menu. For Menu Type, type hiddenmenu. Then click Save and Close. Then click Add Module. For Title, type Hidden Menu. For Module position, use a position not being used on our Template. We will use Position 8. Then click Save and Close. Then click Menus Hidden Menu. New. Select Articles, Single Article. Then select the Contact Us Notice article. For Title, type Contact Us Notice. Then click Save and Close.

Once we have finished our Contact Us Notice article and menu item, click on the Contact Form to edit it. Then click Plugins, Add. For Do, select Email. For Email to we will add two email addresses:

members@ourcommunitynetwork.org, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note the comma between the email addresses.

Then click the Options tab. Enter the From email address and Reply to email address. We will use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For subject, type: Someone just submitted a question on Our Community Network. For Article Template, choose Contact Us Notice.


Then click Save and Close.

Add a Thank You for Contacting Us article
Go to Content, Articles, New. For Title, type: Thank you for Contacting Us! For Text, copy and paste:

Thank you for contacting us. A member of our team will be replying to your question shortly. Please be patient. We are a volunteer organization. It typically takes us a day or two to respond.


Your friends at Our Community Network

Then go to Menus, Hidden Menu to add a menu item for this hidden article. Then click Save and Close. Then open the menu item again.

Note that the Link is:


This means the full URL to this page is: https://ourcommunitynetwork.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21

Try this URL in a browser to confirm that the link is correct.


Now that we have a hidden Thank You article, go back to Fabrik, Forms and click on the Contact Us form to edit it. Click the Plugins tab. Then click Add. Select Redirect. Then enter the Thank You Full URL into the Jump Page box. Then click Save and Close. Then in your website front end, click Contact Us and for Your Name, enter Test Two. Add a real email address and Test two question. Then click Save. Now the Member is redirected to the Thank You page. Open your email aggregator to see if you got an Email Notice.


Add Form Validation
Adding form validation is how Fabrik makes a given field element required. Validation will make sure that someone asking a question will be forced to include their name and email address before they click Save. Go to Elements and filter for the Contact Us form. Click on the Your Name element. Then click on the Validation screen. Then click Add.For Action, select Not Empty. For error message, copy paste:Please fill in your name. Then click Save and Close.

Then click on the Your Email element. Click Validation, Add. For Action, select Is Email. For error message, copy paste: Please enter a valid email address. Then click Save and Close. Then click on the Your Question element. Click Validation, Add. For Action, select Not Empty. For error message, copy paste: Please enter a question or comment. Then click Save and Close. Then test the Contact Us form by trying to submit it without all three fields filled in.

Congratulations, You have now completed your first Fabrik Form. Next we will create our Member Registration form.

Step 3 Create a Custom Personal Member Registration Form
The next step in the Fabrik Data Management process is creation of a Replacement Joomla Site Registration form. Fabrik forms allow us to collect data from new members which we can later display in searchable lists. To create a custom Member Registration form, in the Joomla Control Panel, click on Components, Fabrik.


In the Fabrik control panel go to Forms, New.


Create your Personal Member Registration Form
The Fabrik new form screen has 8 tabs. The first tab is called Details. For Label, type Member Registration.

Below the Label box is an area called Introduction. Any text placed in the Introduction box will appear under the Registration form label. You could leave this box blank. But we want to provide new members with some instructions on what our group is about and some tips on how to fill out the form. So type this into the Introduction Box:
Thanks for joining our Community Network! The purpose of our network is to provide a place for those offering products and or skills to build relationships with other freedom respecting members of our community and also to provide those who want to support freedom respecting service providers with a place to find them.

Please fill out the following member registration form completely. Rest assured that your information will be kept secure and never shared with anyone outside of this group. For your Password, please make the password at least 8 characters and include Upper and Lower case letters and numbers. The password should have no blank spaces. You can also include special characters in your password if you wish. For example, you can use a password like JS#2021abc. Please write your password down somewhere to help you remember it.

Add a 3 Letter Prefix to your Database Table Name
Before you click Save, click on the Form Processing tab to change the table name of your Member Registration Table before saving your form. By default, the Table will have the same name as our Form. But this is not what we want as our forms will have different names and without adding a prefix, they will be in different areas of our database.

In order to keep all of our Fabrik forms in the same place, we will save all of our Fabrik tables with the same three letter prefix. Our Joomla website has dozens of database tables. In order for our Fabrik Forms to appear at the top of our list of tables, we will use a three letter word beginning with the letter a as our table prefix. Here are some three letter words beginning with the letter a:

ace, act, age, add, aid, air, ask, art

Note that you will not be able to change the table name later. So if you want to keep your Database Tables together and at the top of the List, now is your only chance!

Use only lowercase letters and underscores to create your table names. We will use the word ace followed by an underscore and then the default name of our table. So our Member Registration form table will have the name ace_member_registration.

Here is what this looks like on our Form Edit screen:


After you have added your 3 letter prefix to your table name, click Save. You will see the Fabrik: select content type screen:


The default content type is called Default. But there are other content types… which should we choose? For our custom Registration form, we want to add our own fields. So leave the Content Type at default. Then click Save & Close.

Your custom Registration form now appears in the Form Table.


To edit your new Registration form, click on it to open it. This brings up the Form Edit screen. You may need to copy paste the Intro text back in its box. Then scroll down the details screen and you will see a box called Error Message. Here you could change the message that appears when the form is not filled out properly. But just leave it blank as we will use the hidden default error message.

Below this is a box called Footer text. You could add a message to the bottom of the form explaining what will happen after they click on the Save button. But we will skip that for now. Scroll to the top and click on the Buttons tab. There are six buttons here. But five of them are set to Hide. Scroll down to the Save button which is set for Show:


Change the Save button label from Save to Click Here to Join our Group! Then click Save.

Next click on Lists and you will see that when your form was created, Fabrik also created a matching List called Member Registration:


Click on Elements and you will see that Fabrik also created two elements called id and date-time.


Note that these elements belong to a new group called Member Registration. Click on Groups to see this new group.

What’s Next?
We now have our custom member registration form with its two default elements. But before we add any more elements to this form, we need to create groups to put the elements in. Fabrik groups are different from Joomla groups in that Fabrik groups are containers for elements while Joomla groups are collections of users or members. In our next article, we will review how to plan the contents in your member registration form and add some custom Fabrik groups to help organize the elements in our form. We will then add some elements to our groups to finish our Personal Member Registration form.